Florida Fines West Palm Beach Health Spa After Claims of False Cancer Treatment

This is what a real doctor looks like.
This is what a real doctor looks like.
BotMultichillT via wikimedia commons

Update, March 1: New Times initially reported that the Hippocrates health Institute had been shut down. The story has been corrected to reflect that it was fined but not shut down.

Also, spokesperson Vicki Johnson provided more information about the institute and took issue with New Times describing Hippocrates' offerings as "alternative medical practices."

New Times stands by that description —- Hippocrates' own website describes "A Comprehensive and Unique Integrative Regeneration Medicine Program for individuals wanting to maximize the benefits of treatment by integrating Alternative Medical Therapies with Standard Medical Care" — but we have posted Johnson's comments at the end of this article.

Original story:

West Palm Beach's the Hippocrates Health Institute has been in operation since 1987, offering alternative medical practices on its swanky spa-like campus. But according to Canadian news reports, the institute and its top man, Brian Clement, are responsible for smooth-talking cancer patients away from traditional therapy, with disastrous results. One of the institute's patients — an 11-year-old girl — recently died. Now the state has hit Hippocrates with a fine.

?This all stems from an incident last summer involving two young girls from Ontario First Nations tribe. Two 11-year-olds — Makayla Sault and another identified only as J.J. in court documents — were both getting chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. According to the CBC, the families of both girls say they were convinced to jettison traditional medical treatment after speaking with Clement. Clement isn't a licensed medical doctor. The institute is technically a "massage establishment."

His therapy, however, is increasingly popular with Canadians. Under Clement's plan, the girls were reportedly "treated with laser therapy," as well as intravenously administered vitamins and a "strict raw food diet."

The families both paid $18,000 for treatment at the institute in West Palm Beach. Doctors had originally given Makayla a 75 percent chance of fighting through her ailment. However, after leaving traditional treatment, she suffered a relapse, then a stroke, and died last month. On February 10, the Florida Department of Health hit Clement with a letter. It reads:

In November of 2014, you (Brian Clement) was reportedly representing yourself as a Medical Doctor (advertising that you are a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) without being licensed with Florida Department" of Health. It was also reported that two minor children with leukemia were treated by or are being treated by you with unproven and possibly dangerous therapies.

The department attached a $3,738 fine to Clement for the misrepresentation. This is probably small change for Clement. Hippocrates reportedly did $22 million in revenue in 2013. Check back for more details as we continue to report this story. If you have info on Hippocrates, feel free to get in touch at the email address below. Response from Vicki Johnson sent after this story was published:

First and foremost, thank you for correcting the online attributions that were previously suggesting the institute had been shut down. I appreciate your prompt correction. Secondly, your lead sentence suggests Hippocrates offers "alternative medical practices." For more than 50 years, the Hippocrates Health Institute has helped thousands of guests achieve vibrant health and happiness by offering education in the areas of nutrition, stress-reduction, and positive lifestyle changes, as well as holistic-based treatments. Hippocrates is not a medical facility or a medical provider, and has never claimed to be. As stated above, we offer holistic and nutrition-based education and treatments, and because we host a number of guests with chronic illnesses we employ a staff of licensed nurses and a licensed medical director to provide medical supervision. Hippocrates is part of an integrated approach to medicine that incorporates nutrition and lifestyle changes to support overall health. Research shows that healthy nutritional choices and lifestyle, including exercise and stress-reduction, have been shown to support better overall health, including immune function. Next, the caption you use with the image of the gentleman receiving what appears to be some sort of check up reads "This is what a real doctor looks like." That's pretty unfair. At no time has Brian Clement claimed to be a medical doctor or practiced medicine, which is why we are vigorously contesting the claim issued by the Dept of Health. DOH's own undercover investigator has proven Brian Clement did not present himself as a medical doctor - and that is one of several things that will exonerate him in the administrative process. Finally, below you will find some additional background that better explains exactly what has transpired — most importantly information from the mother of Makayla Sault - who explains exactly what course of medical treatment the family pursued after Makayla opted out of chemotherapy. In her own words you'll see that the family did not come to Hippocrates for medical treatment.Statement regarding recent Cease and Desist order from Dept. of Health Brian Clement is the director of the Hippocrates Health Institute and has led the organization for more than 40 years, in addition to providing nutritional insight and instruction to guests as a Florida licensed nutritionist. At no time has he claimed to be a medical doctor or practiced medicine. The Florida Department of Health issued the citation and cease and desist based solely upon the hearsay allegations contained within the Toronto Star's stories about Hippocrates. No criminal charges have been filed We deny these allegations in their entirety and are vigorously contestign these allegations through the administrative process. Additional background regarding Hippocrates Health Institute Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI) recently has been the target of a series of wildly inaccurate negative media coverage. That coverage has revolved around the controversial issue of two cancer-stricken Canadian girls, and whether or not they should have been forced to pursue chemotherapy treatment by the Canadian government. Both girls completed the HHI Life Transformation Program in 2014 where they received training and insights about nutrient-based treatments including diets rich in raw fruits and vegetables, cleaning detox programs, meditation and other time-honored holistic approaches to healthy living. On January 15, 2015, one of the girls received news from an Ontario hospital following a biopsy that revealed both her bone marrow and spinal fluid were free of cancer, and showed no visible signs of the disease. Said her mother in a written statement to the Two Row Times (a Canadian newspaper): "Once we had the court ruling that upheld our right to use our traditional healthcare we sought out a oncologist who would work with our unique situation. I felt it necessary to have her closely monitored as we navigated through uncharted territory. Toronto Sick Kids agreed to fulfill that role. Of course we needed to hear the oncologist's spiel about no child ever known to survive leukemia without chemo and they expect her to begin dying in mid January. I booked a biopsy for mid January. It's now 6 months following the diagnosis with only our choice of treatment. We received the biopsy results yesterday - NO VISIBLE CANCER!!!" The entire team at Hippocrates Health Institute is overjoyed by the news, and could not be happier for this young girl and her family. We are proud of her resolve and her faithful practice of all that she learned at HHI. She chose, she believed, and she did it. Unfortunately, the other young girl - Makayla Sault - passed away from a stroke on January 19, 2015. The entire HHI staff mourns the sad passing of Makayla and sends our heartfelt condolences to the entire Sault family. Makayla's mom - Sonya Sault - recently shared a great deal of detail about her daughter's decision to clarify "misinformation in the media" about her daughter's treatment. In an article dated 26-Feb-2015 by The Canadian Press, the mother said that Makayla understood the "harsh reality of stopping chemotherapy," but she wanted to try traditional medicine. As reported by The Canadian Press: Makayla started to feel better once the chemotherapy stopped, Sault said, but she didn't stop treatment altogether. She continued to receive treatment from her family physician, Dr. Jason Zacks, as well as an oncologist at McMaster hospital. She also received traditional medicine from a healer near her home on the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. Then the family went to the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida to get away from the brewing media storm over her case. Sault said Makayla didn't go to the Florida spa for cancer treatment, only to try out a new diet that might boost her immune system. Plus, Sault said, Makayla got to relax and be a kid again, soaking up the sun and swimming in the ocean "The issue is not whether traditional medicine will be respected, but how it will be respected and how and when the two systems can work together," the mother said. Cancer is a hideous disease that wreaks havoc on far too many of our loved ones. We look forward to the day when it can be eradicated. However, we continue to rejoice with those who have experienced such tremendous results from a holistic approach to health and wellness. While we cannot assert that the tools and training guests receive here at HHI directly "causes" healing, we continually witness example after example of tremendous healing that has been realized by thousands of guests who have elected to maximize their recovery potential through our program.

Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.

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