The Doctor Who Fought For Our Health FreedomHelke Ferrie September 1, 2013
DR. JOZEF KROP – A PIONEER IN ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” ~ Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
In Ontario, the rise of health freedom and the availability of good medicine that addresses the cause of illness rather than suppressing it with drugs, is closely associated with the saga of Dr. Jozef Krop. His high-profile prosecution for practising environmental medicine served to dramatically increase public awareness, which gave rise to the famous Kwinter Bill for health freedom in 2000. Then, as a result of immense public support for Dr. Krop, Ontario’s medical licensing authority, the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO) was compelled to bring in a Complementary Medicine Policy in 1997 (revised in 2012).
Vitality readers supported these efforts, financially and politically, especially during the CPSO’s 9-year disciplinary investigation of Dr. Krop’s practice. (In 1999 – without patient complaint or evidence of harm – the CPSO found Dr. Krop to be “guilty” of “falling below the standard of practice in Ontario” specifically because he diagnosed and treated Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, and because he treated the damage done by food additives, polluted air, industrial solvents, pesticides, mercury amalgam dental fillings, and conventional medicine.)
Today, it is laughable to consider that Dr. Krop was “charged” with advising patients to drink water free of chlorine and fluoride, use air purifiers, avoid living near hydro towers, undergo regular acupuncture treatments, stay clear of perfumed products, eat organically grown foods, avoid gluten, use detoxification methods like the infrared sauna and chelation therapy, and repair the immune system with intravenous vitamins and minerals. This is simply good advice for those wishing to restore their health.
In fact, the provinces of Quebec and Ontario have now passed legislation banning the cosmetic use of pesticides, while banks, schools and hospitals now have no-fragrance policies. The awareness of sensitivity to food additives and toxic chemicals has become widespread, and availability of green products and organic foods is commonplace. Even cancer societies include nutritional advice as preventive and helpful during treatment, and acupuncture is generally recognized as beneficial and regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act.
Breaking the Conspiracy of Misinformation
Back in 1999, Dr. Krop was also found “guilty” of failing to inform his patients that their symptoms, though verified by laboratory tests, were actually “all in their heads” and he, therefore, should have referred them to psychiatrists who would prescribe the “appropriate” treatment, namely the poisonous drugs used in modern psychiatry. That, the CPSO opined, was the correct approach and well within the only acceptable standard of practice.
During those many years of disciplinary investigation, Dr. Krop’s defence team introduced more than 120 published and peer-reviewed studies from the standard medical literature to support each of his diagnoses and treatments, but legal rules of evidence did not concern the CPSO and so none were accepted. Under administrative law, such disciplinary investigations combine the roles of prosecution, evidence gathering and selection, finding of guilt and sentencing – unlike in regular courts where due process requires the separation of these roles.
To support their goal of removing Krop’s medical licence, the prosecuting CPSO only seriously considered one article, published in 1994 by the American Council of Science and Health (ACSH), part of Quackbusters and not by any means a science-based organization. That article, entitled “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity,” described the horrible effects that such a “chemico-phobic” diagnosis as MCS would have on the world economy if it were accepted by the medical establishment. What would then happen, the authors asked, to the perfume and dry cleaning industries, or the chlorinated product producers, or carpet manufacturers. And what about the availability of silicone breast implants, the tobacco and alcohol industries, and the gasoline-dependent transportation industry? (This silly article is still on the website of the ACSH along with opinions on more current “health scares” which should, in their view, be seen as nonsense, such as genetically engineered foods, phthalates, flame retardants, and lead in paints and other products.)
Krop Discovers Link Between Lyme Disease and MCS
In spite of all the misinformation and propaganda stacked against him by medical authorities, Dr. Krop and the medical reality of environmental illness won the day. Back in the 1990s, when I was involved with the gathering of mainstream research on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity for his defence team, we drew from a small pool of information available on the subject of environmental illness. Today, there’s so much information that even a specialist has to struggle to keep up to date on the research published in this field. Current MCS research is well established and has revealed that the detoxification systems in our bodies used for flushing out pharmaceuticals are the same as those used for flushing out harmful environmental chemicals, and that these systems vary between people. This research is helpful in alerting us to the avoidable dangers in our environment as well as in our medicines.
Meanwhile, as he describes in Chapter 4 of Ending Denial – The Lyme Disease Epidemic: A Canadian Public Health Disaster (Kos 2010), in the early 2000s Dr. Krop began to notice that some patients with clear MCS symptoms failed to improve despite treatment. When he learned at a medical conference in the U.S. that those classic MCS symptoms (and information obtained through laboratory testing) was also observed by infectious disease experts working with Lyme disease patients, Dr. Krop joined the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) and took their training courses. He then re-called those former MCS patients and was astounded to find that every one of them, when given the internationally recognized Lyme tests, was indeed a carrier of Lyme Disease. He began treating them, most very successfully, with international treatment protocols (see Ending Denial).
Needless to say, this did not impress the CPSO and an attempt was made to prosecute Dr. Krop once again, this time for diagnosing and treating Lyme because this disease supposedly did not exist in Canada. Dr. Krop was, therefore, allegedly exposing his patients to potentially harmful interventions – the laboratory proof of their condition notwithstanding. Vitality readers who have read my annual articles on Lyme are familiar with the political nature of this illness and the unconscionable failure, over several decades, of the public health authorities and the medical profession in Canada to address this infectious disease, declared an epidemic by the World Health Organization in 2008.
Today, awareness is slowly developing and the steadfast denial of Lyme disease in Canada has given way to serious engagement with the problem. The tireless efforts of the national Lyme patient support and research organization, CanLyme, led by Jim Wilson, and the distribution of the book Ending Denial to all provincial and federal government authorities, Canadian medical schools, and medical organizations, has begun to work. Sadly, most Canadians afflicted with Lyme disease must still seek treatment in the U.S. or risk becoming progressively sicker: if left untreated a Lyme bacterial infection can develop into multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Azheimer’s, Parkinson’s, scleroderma, heart disease, and neuro-psychiatric conditions including ADHD and autism.
Pioneer on the Front Lines of Medicine
Finding oneself inadvertently at the frontier of medical discovery and innovation is a strange, unsought-for, and difficult fate. It is a war zone because the battle is never just against evolving diseases but primarily against collective inertia and professional and political stupidity – which in medicine is synonymous with the desire for profit. Practising medicine properly is never routine; maintaining an attitude of welcoming the unexpected and knowing that there is no quick fix – well, that is a pretty challenging way of life. There used to be a small poster in Dr. Krop’s office which read: “The mind is like a parachute – it only works when it is open.”
The quick fix mindset is evident today in the pharmaceutical approach to medicine: it promotes the delusion that toxic chemicals are the appropriate treatment for illness, even though illness itself is known to be caused by dangerous pathogens, environmental toxic chemicals, and nutritional deficiencies. The great Dr. William Osler’s observation, made in the early 20th century when drug companies arose, is still true today: “If many drugs are used for a disease, all are insufficient. Nickel-in-the-slot, press-the-button therapeutics are no good. The battle against polypharmacy, or the use of a large number of drugs, the action of which we know little, yet we put them into bodies of the action of which we know less, has not been fought to the finish,” adding that “one of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.”
Dr. Krop’s professional experiential base covers at least 20,000 treated patients over a span of more than three decades. A refugee from communist Poland in 1970, his early training in Canada included Dr. Abram Hoffer, then professor of psychiatry in Regina, Sk. Through him, Krop became acquainted with the great Linus Pauling and the founder of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, Dr. Theron Randolph, who was then professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. Inspired by the insights of these giants in medicine, Dr. Krop proceeded to apply with great success what he learned from them.
Within a few years of starting his practice, Dr. Krop was shocked to realize that the iron hand of authoritarianism he had experienced in communist Poland was also present in democratic Canada, here serving capitalist interests as effectively as it did communist ideology. New ideas are filtered through political imperatives first and not evaluated foremost for their beneficial effects on the public. Indeed, the history of medicine is not a history of progress informed by patient outcome, but rather progress by successfully breaching fortresses of traditional beliefs and dogmatism (Osler used to say, “The greater the ignorance, the greater the dogmatism.”) Was Dr. Krop naïve? Of course! And thank God he still is! We all need to insist on medicine serving patient needs and not economic systems, and if that be naïve, more power to it.
J. Krop MD, Healing The Planet One Patient At A Time, 3rd printing, Kos 2008. For a review of this book by Helke Ferrie, see Vitality November 2002.
H. Ferrie, Editor, Ending Denial – The Lyme Disease Epidemic: A Canadian Public Health Disaster, Kos 2010 (available through CanLyme.org) This book includes current treatment and testing protocols.
H. Ferrie, Creative Outrage – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Current Medicine, Kos 2013 (available online for free downloading from https://www.helkeferrie.com)
H. Ferrie, Dispatches from the War Zone of Environmental Health, Kos 2004, (available for free downloading from https://www.helkeferrie.com) Several chapters in this book deal with the long disciplinary trial of Dr. Krop and innovative colleagues who practiced in different areas of medicine.
L. Marshall MD et al. Environmental Sensitivities-Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Status Report, Women’s College Hospital, February 17, 2011 (this report contains the up-to-date research sources on MCS research, legal and public health reforms that arose from this research, and resources for patients. Available via google online.
C. Ramsay, Unnatural Regulation: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy in Canada, Fraser Institute Studies in Health Care Policy 2009. Here the problem of regulation as a political interference with genuine innovation is described and excellent remedies are suggested. Available online – google title.
Helke Ferrie is a medical science writer with a master's degree in physical anthropology. Her specialty lies in investigative research into ethical issues in medicine and the politics of health. She started her investigative journalism career in the mid-1990s, looking at issues of medicine and environment. She has been a regular contributor to Vitality Magazine ever since. Helke has also authored books on various subjects including: "Ending Denial: The Lyme Disease Epidemic", "What Part of No! Don't They Understand: Rescuing Food and Medicine from Government Abuse", and "The Earth's Gift to Medicine".