News - October 6, 2016

Meanwhile in… Germany: ‘People opt for a naturopath themselves’

Text:
Carina Nieuwenweg

The Ross affair, about the German naturopath Klaus Ross who became controversial after three of his patients died in suspicious circumstances, has got tongues wagging in Germany. The government wants more stringent certification for naturopaths to protect patients.

Comments by Linea Muhsal, Msc student Biotechnology

27-STU portretje meanwhile in linea muhsal_2.jpg

‘I don't often listen to the news but I heard about this situation. It is not only about the cancer patients who might have died because of the treatment by Ross. A discussion has also started about the certifications of naturopaths. Ross is not a real doctor and cannot treat patients like a real one can. However, the title of naturopath can be obtained by doing a few courses and taking a simple test. The question is whether something should be done about that and if it should be made clearer that a naturopath is not a real doctor.

I personally think that as long as there are clear titles for people with real medical degrees there is no real problem because people themselves choose where they go. It is your own decision to go to a real doctor or a naturopath. If something goes wrong it is partly your own responsibility.

The strange thing is that some people actually trust naturopaths more than real doctors. They think that naturopaths are real doctors but with a more natural approach. It sounds healthier to be treated naturally than with regular medicines because that weakens the body. They think regular doctors only want to make money.

I think it is strange because it is obvious whether someone has a medical degree or not. In the clinic of Ross, for example, there was a lot of information about the fact that he was working with experimental methods. Maybe he should have emphasized this more but most people knew that there were risks. Because of that I am not sure if people can actually sue him. In the end it is also not clear whether people died of his treatment or of the cancer they already had.’