Maloney review scheduled

I made an official complaint against Christopher Maloney some months ago. The jist of what I said was that he was claiming to be a doctor when Maine law is pretty clear about saying he needs to distinguish himself from real doctors (i.e., physicians), utilizing phrases like “naturopathic doctor” or “doctor of naturopathy”. Now, according to a letter I received today, his review has been scheduled.

The complaint filed by Michael L. Hawkins against your license will be reviewed by the Board of Complementary Health Care Providers on October 29, 2010. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, 76 Northern Avenue, Gardiner, Maine.

(My middle initial still isn’t “L”.)

Unfortunately, I am unable to make the meeting. I would probably see what I could do to swing getting the time off from work if it was allowed that I might participate, but the session is observation only. However, if anyone from the central Maine area is interested in attending the meeting, that would be great; I would love to hear a first-hand account of everything. (On the off chance anyone does plan on attending, it is recommended to call Kelly McLaughlin at 207-624-8621 the day prior to the meeting to verify that the review will take place – from what I understand, these things have a habit of jumping around a bit.)

Also, as promised in an earlier post (see above link), I’m going to post the letter I wrote in response to Maloney’s response to my initial complaint. For the sake of blog aesthetics, see the comment section.

7 Responses

  1. Dear Cathy Neumann,

    The following response first contains relevant excerpts from Maine law concerning naturopaths. It is then followed by an account of how Christopher Maloney has violated them.

    Title 32: PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS Chapter 113-B: COMPLEMENTARY HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS HEADING: PL 1995, C. 671, §13 Subchapter 3: NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS AND SCOPE OF PRACTICE HEADING: PL 1995, C. 671, §13 – 5. Prohibition. A naturopathic doctor may not: D. Practice or claim to practice medicine and surgery, osteopathy, dentistry, podiatry, optometry, chiropractic, physical therapy or any other system or method of treatment not authorized in this chapter. [1995, c. 671, §13 (NEW).] (12522).

    This section of the Maine law clearly states that naturopaths, including Christopher Maloney, may not claim to practice medicine. In multiple places on Internet blogs, Mr. Maloney has done precisely that. (At least one link has been provided.) While the particular websites where he has attempted to pass himself off as a practitioner of medicine do not have many followers who are likely to believe him, there is still a risk that Mr. Maloney may be confused with a medical doctor. Maine law has been specifically set up to distinguish alternative medicine individuals from physicians and other professionals who are accepted by mainstream science. To allow Mr. Maloney to skirt the law risks public health.

    Part 12521 reads as follows:
    2. Title. A licensee must use the title “naturopathic doctor.” Naturopathic doctors have the exclusive right to the use of the terms “naturopathic doctor,” “naturopathic,” “naturopath,” “doctor of naturopathic medicine,” “doctor of naturopathy,” “naturopathic medicine,” “naturopathic health care,” “naturopathy” and the recognized abbreviation “N.D.” Use of the title “physician” by the licensee is prohibited. [ 1997, c. 210, §13 (AMD) .]

    On his website, Mr. Maloney says, “I am a doctor who finds alternatives to drugs or surgery.” This is false as he is a naturopathic doctor and “must use the title ‘naturopathic doctor’”. Note that the law concludes with a prohibition against the use of the term “physician” by naturopaths. Most laymen equate “doctor” and “physician”. This is why the Maine legislature was very specific in separating physicians from naturopaths. Mr. Maloney confuses this separation when he claims to simply be a doctor without the required qualifier.

    It is a common misconception among the public to view any individuals with a license as a part of mainstream science. Since naturopathy falls well outside that realm, it would be unfortunate to allow Mr. Maloney to again skirt the law, abusing his specific license so people will believe he is a doctor on par with an M.D. Again, the legislature appears to have used language which speaks to this very concern.

    A person with a serious ailment may seek an alternative to, say, the hassle of the overhead associated with many mainstream healthcare providers. Should this person come across Mr. Maloney’s website and see his lack of burdensome overhead, there may be confusion; the person may only be looking for an alternative to overhead, not an alternative to mainstream medicine. Mr. Maloney’s illegal claim to being a doctor without the qualifier “naturopathic” or its derivatives ought to be corrected. I urge the board to enforce the law and demand Mr. Maloney correct his website at the least. Probation may be in order as Mr. Maloney does not believe he has made an error. Repeat violations ought to be met with more severe punishment.

    In his response, Mr. Maloney notes my personal lack of confusion over the state of his position and practice. I had to research naturopathy after Mr. Maloney had a letter published in the Kennebec Journal which unethically encouraged the use of an unproven treatment as an alternative to the H1N1 vaccine; I was originally confused over the nature of his practice. The Kennebec Journal even ran a short blurb after the letter stating that Mr. Maloney had a license, giving him apparent credibility. Had he not made anti-vaccine statements, instead saying something relatively close to mainstream medical science, it is unlikely I would have so highly questioned the practice of naturopathy; my confusion would still be in tact. My personal research has been fortunate for myself, but given the recent increase in hostility towards vaccines among the public, it is reasonable to suspect many people, especially parents of young children, are eager to regard Mr. Maloney and other vaccine questioners as legitimate doctors or physicians. When Mr. Maloney states that he is a doctor, he offers that impression of being a physician and thus of being more qualified than his license indicates. The fact that I am no longer confused on the issue is irrelevant; it is a danger to public health to allow Mr. Maloney to so much as offer any indication that he might be more than a naturopathic doctor.

    Further in his response, Mr. Maloney notes he has contacted both the dean of my university as well as the Augusta police. His concern is with the fact that I have published numerous articles which criticize him and his profession; he believed this criticism was endorsed by the University of Maine at Augusta. It never was, nor did I ever claim any such thing. The university, however, does continue to support my right to free speech in its official policies, aligned with basic adherence to the First Amendment. Neither UMA nor any member of the Augusta police department have contacted me over the fair criticism of my writing; both presumably recognize free speech protections. When Mr. Maloney points out he has contacted both, he omits the fact that both have rebuffed any call to action he may have requested. The University of Maine at Augusta and the Augusta Police Department are apparently unwilling to violate individual rights. Mr. Maloney’s mention of these fruitless steps act merely as a distraction to his ethical violations.

    It is my hope that the board will not see this as the personal issue Mr. Maloney has attempted to paint it as. Instead, I hope the board will see it for what it is: a person with a specific license made several statements which inflate his status. This has the serious potential consequence of confusing the general public. All Maine citizens have the right to know that they are not simply seeing another doctor or physician if they choose to see Mr. Maloney.

    It is my belief that it is the duty of the board to enforce the law set forth by the state legislature. I implore the board to carry out this duty. Such action is in the best interest of the continued health and well-being of the people of Maine.

    Thank you,

    Michael Hawkins

  2. Seriously? much time into this?

  3. And who cares……..??

  4. I tend to have concern for the good health of my fellow human beings.

  5. Really? He’s a naturopathic doctor. He is very well educated in natural medicine as well as some aspects of conventional. I strongly believe you are wasting your time. He is very well qualified irregardless of what he states on his website. ND’s go to school for 4 years in the process of learning natural medicines. They then go through a difficult licensing process. He is a doctor even if he doesn’t clarify (what type) on his website. He deserves to be called a doctor because he earned it. Natural medicine is becoming integrated into hospitals now. It is also being used along side conventional MD’s.

  6. I agree with both of you to a certain point.

    I don’t believe in protecting people from their own mistakes and regulating away anything that could possibly harm them. In that way I care of about the health of freedom of choice which I think to be more important than the medical health of my fellow human beings. I don’t consider other peoples health care decisions to be any of my business.

    If they want to use a witch doctor, be my guest.

    Interestingly enough: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/15/serbian_witchdoctor/

  7. We must assume some peoples sole purpose in this world is to serve as a warning to others.

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