The Naturopathy Board of Washington State Department of Health has announced that it is charging naturopath Michael Whitney with unprofessional conduct over his treatment of an autistic, juvenile patient.
In the official Statement of Charges against Michael Whitney, the Department of Health alleges that Whitney, who has been a licensed naturopathic physician in the state since 1999, treated an autistic patient without even trying to establish what the agency called “meaningful and collaborative communication” with the child’s pediatrician. Whitney also neglected to consult with any of the patient’s other healthcare providers.
Whitney also employed a highly controversial “treatment”, the agency alleges. Despite the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, voicing concerns years ago about the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for conditions like autism, Whitney allegedly used the procedure on the child an estimated 55 times in 3 months. Furthermore, he “failed to observe, monitor and document” any change–good or bad–as a result of the treatment. (Investigators say Whitney’s notes for those appointments are “nearly identical” for all visits.)
The agency stresses that the use of hyperbaric oxygen is not necessarily unprofessional but that his failure to monitor and document his patient’s condition as a result of the therapy certainly was. Whitney’s license is still listed as “Active” with an enforcement action shown as “Pending”.