A Regina doctor is facing disciplinary charges after his clinic allegedly treated a cancer patient using unproven alternative therapies like infrared saunas and salt chamber therapy.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan is charging Dr. Ali Cadili, owner of Clear Health Inn on University Park Drive, with unprofessional conduct.
It alleges that many of the treatments provided by the clinic “were not generally accepted as having therapeutic value by the medical community.” Yet Clear Health Inn promoted them to patients, according to the college, including to a woman with stage-four pancreatic cancer who was billed an “excessive” sum of $13,650.
Bryan Salte, associate registrar for the college, said the use of the term “alternative treatment” is not necessarily meant to imply that the clinic’s patients were not also receiving standard treatments. But he said the woman with pancreatic cancer was led to believe the treatment “would address the patient’s cancer,” not only its symptoms and pain.
“This was presented to the patient as a treatment for cancer, and that was not an effective treatment for cancer,” he said.
The clinic’s website was recently removed from the internet for “maintenance.” The college alleges that it contained numerous inaccurate or misleading statements.
The website boasted that the clinic is “Canada’s most unique place of Healing and Wellness” and “Canada’s premier Alternative Cancer Treatment and Supplementary Health Treatment center.”
It claimed the treatments are “carefully researched and have a sound scientific basis.”
But the college disagreed. The treatments on offer included infrared sauna, salt chamber therapy, light therapy, detox bath, hyperthermia, ionic foot bath, myopulse treatment, cold laser therapy, IV vitamin C, aromatherapy and sound therapy.
Salte said the college is not alleging that all of those treatments were provided to cancer patients. But he said there is evidence that some of the questionable techniques — including salt chamber therapy, infrared sauna, light therapy and detox bath — were provided to the woman with pancreatic cancer.
Cancer wasn’t the only illness the Clear Health Inn allegedly claimed it could treat through alternative means. The college said its website touted hyperbaric oxygen therapy, in which the body is immersed in pressurized oxygen, as a treatment for autism.
“Inside the chamber, the person with Autism will inhale 100 percent pure oxygen to enhance the body’s natural healing tendencies,” the website claimed.
The college said that was misleading or false.
Information published by the Mayo Clinic says that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat several illnesses, such as scuba-diving-related decompression sickness, severe anemia and brain abscesses. But it says evidence is insufficient to support it as an effective treatment for autism.
Charges through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan generally follow an extensive investigation process. Cadili has not admitted to the charges and a hearing has not yet been scheduled. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment left with his office.
The charge document provides extensive information about the woman with stage-four pancreatic cancer, whom the college refers to only as “Patient Number 1.” She consulted Cadili in March 2018 seeking alternative cancer treatments.
The college alleges that Cadili led her or her husband to believe that Clear Health Inn’s procedures were a treatment for her cancer, capable of improving her condition and prolonging her life. He advised her loved ones that she should start the treatment as quickly as possible, according to the charge document.
But the college alleges that the treatments “were without recognized benefit in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.” It accuses Cadili of misleading Patient Number 1 and those around her about the efficacy of those treatments.
The woman was not able to immediately pay the full cost of the treatment, which was uninsured. According to the charge document, Clear Health Inn pressed her for the full $13,650 and threatened legal action.
The college called that charge “excessive.” Cadili allegedly failed to consider the patient’s ability to pay.
According to the Mayo Clinic, alternative cancer treatments like aromatherapy and acupuncture can be effective in helping patients cope with the symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments, such as fatigue, nausea and pain. But they are not deemed effective in directly curing cancer.
Evidence shows that people who use alternative therapies in place of standard treatments have much higher mortality rates, according to the American Cancer Society.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019