The other day, I wrote about the fake health experts at the Huffington Post. Prominent among them is “Dr” Patricia Fitzgerald. Now, we already talked about how writing a health piece in a major media outlet and using the title of “Dr” can be deceptive; the reader is likely to assume you are a medical doctor. In Fitzgerald’s case, she isn’t anything resembling a medical doctor, or even a health expert.
Like many of HuffPo’s so-called health experts, she’s selling something. While I’m all for capitalism, she presents herself as something she is not—a legitimate doctor. Let’s examine what she is and is not.
Patricia Fitzgerald is a licensed acupuncturist, certified clinical nutritionist, and a homeopath. She has a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and a Doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine.
There are two types of “real” doctors licensed to practice medicine in the US: Medical Doctors (MDs), and Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs). Anyone else claiming to treat common medical conditions is often practicing unlicensed care, or is licensed in a limited way to provide some health-related services.
None of the qualifications listed make her an expert in immunology, infectious disease, toxicology—all topics she has addressed at HuffPo. I’ll have to take her on her word that she is Doctor of Homeopathy—most doctors would give a little more information, like what the hell this doctorate is and what institution and board granted it. This is pretty important given that homeopathy is seen as a fringe cult-like practice by anyone who understands science.
She sells a book on detoxification, and founded the Santa Monica Wellness Center, at whose website she is referred to as Patricia Fitzgerald, L.Ac., D.H.M, C.C.N., which is terrific and all, but most of those designations aren’t widely recognized as having any meaning (I’m not sure about the “CCN”, but apparently it involved nutrition through recognition of “biochemical individuality”.)
The Center offers all kinds of great stuff, like acupuncture, Emotional Freedom Technique, detoxification, and diagnostic testing such as “parasite and candida profile”. In other words, she is so steeped in invalid, dangerous, and deceptive medical practices, that calling her “Dr” of any kind of healing is like calling Jack Kervorkian a sleep specialist.
If HuffPo wants to crawl out of its pit of immoral and dangerous health deception, it’s going to have to learn to vet its writers a bit better. It’s time for them to drop their woo-meisters and get some real health experts over there.
Or, they could give up and continue to be the National Enquirer of health reporting.