The Washington State Department of Health’s Board of Naturopathy has suspended the license of naturopathic physician, John Catanzaro, asserting his practices were “unsafe for patients” and he had failed to adequately inform patients. Catanzaro’s clinic is the Health & Wellness Institute of Integrative Medicine and Cancer Treatment in Bothell.
The suspension was issued in January 2014 with the Board asserting that Catanzaro was also making vaccines in an uncertified laboratory in his clinic, where three other naturopath’s practice. Catanzaro, age 54, earned a doctor of naturopathic medicine degree from Bastyr University in Kenmore and was licensed by the state in 1996.
The Basis for Suspension
Based on a Seattle Times story on the suspension and the , Dr. John Catanzaro, NP, told patients battling cancer that he was on the cutting edge of research and had developed treatments to improve their immune systems and their body’s cancer fighting abilities. The clinic’s website describes their cancer immunotherapy as being “aimed at address the root cause of the cancer and reestablishing a condition of immune competence.”
Catanzaro reportedly created vaccines from patients’ own blood, fluids, and body tissues and then injected them into the patient. The injections were not covered by insurance and could cost cancer victims and their families tens of thousands of dollars a year.
The State’s Investigation
The State found that Catanzaro lacked proper documentation for his “research” and did not have data on the vaccine’s effectiveness in patients or adverse effects. Catanzaro was unable to produce evidence that he had an FDA permit for his research.
State actions against naturopaths are quite rare in Washington. According to the state, the last naturopath to have action taken against them was in 1987. Catanzaro has until March 14, 2014 to respond to the state charges.
In a February 10, 2014 blog post on the clinic’s website, Catanzaro addressed the ‘concerns’ saying. “…We disagree with the WA DOH and are appealing. We are working to diligently with our legal team on our appeal.” Catanzaro vowed the clinic would continue to provide “personalized wellness and cancer care”.
Based on a prior blog post, Catanzaro purports to have treated more than 50,000 patients and more than 2,000 with cancer. Under Washington law, naturopathic physicians are only permitted to treat cancer when in collaboration with a licensed medical doctor or osteopathic physicians. It appears Catanzaro failed to comply with the law.
Medical malpractice occurs when doctors make mistakes that cause serious harm or even death to patients. In this case, even if Catanzaro had good intentions of helping cancer victims, performing experimental injections on patients is dangerous and reckless conduct. Because Catanzaro did not collect data on the efficacy of the vaccines, there was no way to demonstrate safety, putting patients at risk.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm by a physician or health care provider, please call the medical malpractice attorneys at Bishop Legal.