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Court Orders Teen to Have Surgery, Not Use Herbal Meds

The tension between traditional and herbal medicine was encapsulated in one incident recently, when a Philadelphia court ordered that two herbalists let their injured son undergo surgery they didn’t want him to have.

Vermell and David Mitchell, both naturopathic medical practitioners, were using herbs to treat their son, 16-year-old high school wrestler Mazzerati Mitchell, for spinal bruising he received during a wrestling match in early February 2011. Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services’ Office of Children and Youth Services heard Vermell was refusing to let her son have an operation on his back: they then took custody of Mazzerati and asked Judge Mary Alice Brennan to order that he undergo spinal surgery. Brennan did so, and Mazzerati had the procedure.

The family is not against every type of medical procedure: Vermell asked doctors to use an MRI and X-rays to check her son’s spine before proceeding with surgery, as she was convinced they would see evidence her herbal remedies were healing him. Doctors did not perform these tests before going ahead with the spine operation.

However, Vermell was also resisting letting doctors give her son blood-pressure medication or steroids to treat his injuries.

David and Vermell Mitchell were treating Mazzerati with liquid chlorophyll, a detoxifier and digestive-tract remedy; and slippery elm, which is also good for digestion. While neither of these remedies are specifically used for spinal injuries, liquid clorophyll is widely considered a cure-all in natural medicine.

Vermell was irritated that doctors seemed to discount her herbal remedies completely. She said she’d already given her son herbs to prevent blood clots, and so there was no need for the subsequent ultrasound doctors performed to check for the clots. It was “insanity,” she said, to “hurry up and pursue surgery instead of giving him time to heal totally… He was doing excellent [before the surgery].”

She still plans to use herbal medicine to help her son heal post-surgery, she said: “He’s been pumped up with all kinds of drugs – anesthetic and other things – and I will have to use herbs to counteract them.”

Originally published at GrannyMed


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