ELMA, Wash. — A 52-year-old Grays Harbor County woman has filed a malpractice complaint seeking $12.3 million from her naturopathic doctor after, she says, the cancer treatments left her feeling worse.
Willow Lovage was diagnosed with rectal cancer last spring. She underwent chemo and radiation therapy, but it didn’t seem to be working.
Then she met Lucinda Messer, a naturopathic doctor in Kirkland, who practiced an alternative therapy called the ‘Gerson Way.’
“She told me it could cure it if I did what she said,” Lovage said Wednesday. “She gave me lots of hope.”
Lovage said that on Messer’s advice, she began castor oil enemas three times a day, and some orally, but started to have side-effects right away.
“I didn’t realize I was going to get so fatigued. My nerves feel like they’re on fire and burning.”
Lovage’s attorney, Chris Crew, said the Gerson Institute doesn’t advocate castor oil therapy for patients who have had chemo. That’s why he’s filed a medical malpractice and negligence complaint against Messer.
“The treatment is supposed to be very short-term, not five months long. The castor oil wasn’t supposed to be ingested as well; it was just an enema process,” Crew said. “Even if you believe in the Gerson Way, this is not their way.”
Messer declined requests for an interview. But the State Board of Health has now opened up an investigation into her practice.
Lovage is glad to hear that, but she’s still pursuing legal action because she says there is a possibility her treatments led to permanent nerve damage.
“Lucinda is supposed to be the professional,” she said. “I didn’t go to doctor school, I didn’t go to Gerson school. I did what she told me to do because she told me she was the doctor. She wasn’t healing people, she was damaging people worse.”