By Evie Andreou
FOLLOWING the arrest of a woman earlier in the week for being an alleged charlatan, and two women claiming to be dentists, the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA) is urging patients to consult them when in doubt about the credentials of physicians.
The woman, a foreign national living in the Larnaca district, was making diagnoses using a contraption she invented herself and was selling unregistered and uncontrolled pills which have been sent to the state lab for further examinations, the head of CyMA’s ethics committee Dr Vasos Economou, told the Cyprus Mail.
“We do hope that the pills do not contain anything toxic that could endanger the health of all those who consumed them. She already faces criminal charges,” Economou said.
CyMA said in an announcement that such cases had increased in recent years, due to the economic crisis and in many cases people not even related to medicine, were taking advantage.
“Economic crises, unfortunately fuels charlatanism…. which is very profitable… promoting concoctions promising wonders… and people are impressed by gimmicks. The public should avoid those following such practices,” Economou said.
On Thursday two women aged 27 and 30, claiming to be dentists, were arrested after police discovered that their degrees were forged.
According to police, investigations concerning the two began a year ago when they were called to testify in another case concerning fake diplomas. Their behaviour raised suspicions, police said and officers went on to investigate their degrees.
The health ministry, alerted by police, contacted the university form which the two women claimed they obtained their degrees. It responded that even though they had been students there, they did not graduate, police said.
These two cases, Economou said, were criminal, and were being handled by the police, while CyMA’s ethics committee is about to start discussing two cases concerning possible disciplinary offences against medical doctors.
“In the first case, a doctor, claiming to have found a cure for cancer, even though it was not his specialty, was convincing terminally ill patients to stop their medical therapies and was providing them with a special oil at a very high price,” Economou said. He added that the other doctor admitted to forging his medical licence.
“People need to be more suspicious. Charlatanism is a worldwide phenomenon; Cypriot patients have the right of free choice but they need to do their research before visiting a doctor they don’t know,” he said.
He added that CyMA had made arrangements and that the association’s administrative staff was at the service of the public to give them any information they need about whether someone is a registered doctor or not.
“If someone wants to visit a doctor they don’t know they may call our office and enquire about his or her credentials, if they are registered at the association, their specialty, training, etc.,” Economou said.
CyMA urged members of the public who have been deceived by charlatans to contact the association and contribute to fighting “this sad, dangerous and illegal phenomenon”.