The Mayo alternative therapist whose patient died as a result of undiagnosed cancer completed “less than half” of her studies in the therapy she practises.
According to the School of Homeopathy in Devon, England, Mineke Kamper left without completing her course in 2000.
Stuart Gracie, the course director, said the Dutch-born therapist, who urges patients to avoid conventional medicine, undertook a correspondence course but only achieved foundation level in the treatment she has been prescribing to seriously ill people.
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“She was a student with us, but she left without completing the course. She did less than half of it. She reached a foundation certificate level and, by its name alone, this tells you that it is not a full professional qualification. She had a long way to go,” he said.
Gracie said that the full course lasted four years and only parts of it could be done by correspondence. “The certificate she would have received states clearly that the holder has achieved an understanding of the principles of classical homeopathy in preparation for further advanced studies and nothing more,” he added.
Kamper has been refusing to speak to the press from her home in Mulranny, Co Mayo, since a Castlebar Coroner’s Court hearing last Monday into the death of Paul Howie, one of her clients.
The inquest, which she refused to attend, heard that Howie, 49, from Ballinrobe, died in April 2003 through suffocation caused by a treatable cancerous tumour in his neck. Michelle Howie, his wife, said he was warned by Kamper that he would die if he sought conventional care. The therapist threatened to stop treatment if he went to a doctor and instead gave him homeopathic remedies that contained only minute amounts of active ingredients.
At the hearing it emerged that she wrongly diagnosed Paul as suffering from an iron disorder, and the jury added a “rider” to the verdict of death by natural causes, advising anyone seeking alternative treatment to first consult a medical practitioner. John O’Dwyer, the coroner, said it appeared Howie was misled and misinformed.
It also emerged that Kamper had been involved in a second case in which a patient died from an asthma attack after being told to stop using her medication. Jacqueline Alderslade, 55, from Hollymount in Mayo, died on July 9, 2001. Her diary was produced at her inquest in which she had recorded that Kamper had advised her to give up the medication she had been taking, except for a Ventolin inhaler. Kamper denied the allegation, but did not attend that inquest either.
In a statement she gave to gardai on the Howie case she said she had been a registered nurse for 25 years and came to Ireland in 1980. She trained as a reflexologist and began practising alternative medicine. She said she had studied homeopathy but did not finish her final exams. “I studied as far as I needed to know,” she said.
Kamper refused to speak to The Sunday Times last week. It is understood she used to work as a paediatric nurse. She came to Ireland in 1980 with a female consultant paediatrician. The two lived in a bungalow overlooking Clew Bay, near Mulranny, Mayo.
Her companion, listed in records as a Dr Briel, died of cancer and is buried in an unmarked grave in the local Catholic graveyard. Her burial was not listed, but is understood to have caused controversy as there was no religious service. Locals believed Briel may have been Kamper’s sister.
Kamper charges between €5 and €40 for remedies. Michelle Howie said: “I want people to stop going to her for treatment and to stop bringing children to her.”