3 Sep 2012

Therapist to face prosecution after patient's death

6:41 am on 3 September 2012

A natural therapist has been found to have breached the rights of a patient who later died.

In a report on the case issued on Monday, Deputy Health & Disability Commissioner Tania Thomas has found the therapist failed her patient on many levels.

The therapist was not named in the report.

When the patient consulted the therapist in February 2008 about a lesion on her head, the therapist said it was not cancer. For the next 18 months she treated it by cleaning the wound and removing dead skin.

When the patient finally went to hospital she was diagnosed with cancer. Despite surgery, she died in 2010.

Ms Thomas says the treatment should have been stopped when the therapist realised it was beyond her area of expertise and the patient should have been told her condition was deteriorating.

The Commission will refer the therapist to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.