LINCOLN LAU'S LETTER
TO PETER BEHR
British Columbia Coalition of Allied
210-825 Granville Street. Vancouver, BC
September 20, 2000.
College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia
108-1089 West Broadway,
Attention: Peter Behr, past-president, CMTBC
Dear Mr. Behr:
I am writing to request information regarding the claim you made at the public hearing in June 1999 regarding the death and injuries that occurred in your home town of Powell River as the results of the services of registered massage therapists and bodyworkers.
You had stated in your June 5, 2000, response to my initial letter that you "do not recall making statements about deaths that have occurred in Powell River as a result of massage services."
The BCCABP has recently obtained an official copy of the transcripts for the hearing. The following are comments that have been recorded.
Mr. Behr: "I guess my first point is that there is a risk of harm. I disagree with Mr. Lau, who spoke first. In Powell River we've had a man die of a heart attack from being in hydrotherapy. We also had a man recently who had a stroke on the table. In Alberta, the - -."
The Chairman: "You mean non-regulated - -"
Mr. Behr: "No. These are regulated, but that means they're - - I realize that -- I understand the difference, but they - - there is a risk of harm associated with these techniques. These techniques are not- -"
Mr. Behr: "... in Alberta right now there's a suit that a therapists caused someone to become a paraplegic. So these things happen..."
Mr. Behr: "... and it's very hard to come by this evidence because I talk to quite a few people in Powell River that have been injured by practitioners, and they say" 'Well, these are okay people and they're trying their best." Anyway the bottom line is they didn't want to come forward and you know, testify. But there are people - - I'm not making it up -- there are certain people who have been damaged."
(Mr. Lau's letter continues)
I will clarify my request for information based on these excerpts. You claimed that in Powell River, a man died of a heart attack from being in hydrotherapy. You also claimed that another man recently had a stroke. You did not clarify whether the stroke was fatal. You indicated that these incidents were in a regulated environment. You claimed that there is currently in Alberta a suit against a therapist who caused someone to become a paraplegic. You also claimed that you talked to quite a few people in Powell River that have been injured by practitioners but don't want to come forward and testify.
There is no indication from my research, of searching through the BC Massage Practitioners Journal or from speaking to several BC RMTs of any fatalities in Powell River due to hydrotherapy or of anyone experiencing a stroke due to massage. Regarding your claim of a suit against a therapist who caused someone to become a paraplegic in Alberta, I contacted the Association of Massage Therapists and Wholistic Practitioners, the largest massage therapy organization in Alberta. They are not aware of this particular case, and have hot heard of any injuries of such severity occurring in Alberta. You also mention that several people in Powell River have been injured by bodyworkers, but are unable to provide evidence.
The BCCABP would like more information on these claims, which we will pass on to the Health Professions Council as well as to Albert Schatz:
1. Of the various claims of death and injury, which were due to the services of an RMT or a bodyworker? When did they occur? Where did they occur?
2. Was the death and injuries directly attributed to the hyrodrotherapy/massage or was it coincidental? Was there a coroner's report? Was there civil action for the death? Has the paraplegic case in Alberta been settled?
Of the services provided by the RMT, was there an investigation by the CMTBC or its predecessor to determine any wrongdoing by the practitioner(s)? Are there written records on this?
cc: Dr .Albert Schatz
Health Professions Council
ALBERT SCHATZ'S LETTER TO DOUGLAS M. McRAE
To:Douglas M. McRae, Registrar. College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC)
From: Albert Schatz, Ph.D., Editor
Your October 4, 2000, letter to Lincoln Lau begins with the words, "As you know..." Your letter then assumes Lau knows that Peter Behr addressed the Health Professions Council (hereinafter referred to as "the Council") at its June, 1999, hearing (hereinafter referred to as "the hearing") as a private citizen and a Registered Massage Therapist (RMP), and not on behalf of CMTBC. Why do you assume that Lincoln Lau or anybody else knows that? I did not know that until I read your October 4, 2000, letter to Lincoln Lau, even though I closely follow what has been going on with CMTBC.
I understand that when Peter Behr testified at the hearing, he was a member of the Board of Directors of CMTBC, and that he was president of CMTBC for a period of time after the hearing. Please correct me if I am wrong, and give me the dates when Behr was a member of the CMTBC's Board of Directors, and when he was president of CMTBC.
Is it not logical to assume (on the basis of Behr's two above-mentioned positions in CMTBC) that he had testified on behalf of CMTBC, unless there is reliable evidence that he did not do so in that capacity? If there is such evidence, what is that evidence, and when and where has it appeared prior to your October 4, 2000, letter to Lincoln Lau?
Did Peter Behr specifically state, at the hearing, that he was not testifying on behalf of CMTBC, but as a private citizen and as a Registered Massage Therapist? Such a statement is commonly made by speakers at meetings and conferences to avoid confusion and misunderstanding about whether they are presenting their own views or the positions of organizations with which they are associated.
Peter Behr's June 5, 2000, letter to Lincoln Lau referred to his "statements about deaths that have occurred in Powell River" which he (Behr) said he did not remember making at the hearing. But Behr's June 5, 2000, letter did not inform Lau that he had addressed the Council as a private citizen and a Registered Massage Therapist, and not on behalf of CMTBC.
In your August 15, 2000, letter to me, you gave me permission to publish Behr's June 5, 2000, letter to Lincoln Lau in the Massage Law Newsletter. Why didn't you at that time inform me that Behr had addressed the Council's hearing as a private citizen and a Registered Massage Therapists, and not on behalf of CMTBC?
I published my report on Behr's testimony at the hearing in the October, 2000, issue of the Massage Law Newsletter (Volume 15, No. 3). This report reveals why your October 4, 2000, letter to Lincoln Lau dissociated CMTBC from Behr's remarks at the hearing. The October, 2000, issue of the Massage Law Newsletter is available on the inter net <www.healingandlaw.com>.
I assume CMTBC has dissociated itself from Behr's remarks about harm, because CMTBC considers the information about harm, which Behr presented at the hearing, unacceptable since none of that harm can be validated. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Since Behr presented that unacceptable information about harm at a public hearing, has CMTBC published a notice (available to the public) that Behr addressed the hearing as a private citizen and a Registered Massage Therapist, and not on behalf of CMTBC? If so, when and where has CMTBC published that notice? If CMTBC has not published such a notice, why not?
Your October 4, 2000, letter does not indicate that you sent a copy of that letter to the Council. Has CMTBC ever formally notified the Council that Behr testified at the hearing as a private citizen and a Registered Massage Therapist, and not on behalf of CMTBC? If so, how and when did CMTBC so notify the Council? If CMTBC has not provided the Council with that information, whey has it not done so?
It is shocking that a Registered Massage Therapist in British Columbia, especially one who has been a member of the Board of Directors and president of CMTBC, (a) has provided information about allegedly serious harm (at a public hearing convened by the Health Professions Council) - harm allegedly caused by massage therapists and/or other bodyworkers - (b) without his being able to provide any well-documented evidence that that harm had ever actually occurred, and (c) apparently expecting to be taken seriously.
I would appreciate your providing me with the information I request in this letter. You may also of course provide additional information. Also, please give me permission to publish your reply in the Massage Law Newsletter. Our readers are interested in what is going on with CMTBC.
cc: Mary McCrea, Health Professions Council
David MacAulay, Health Professions Council
Lincoln Lau, British Columbia Coalition of Allied Bodywork Practitioners
Douglas M.McRae. Registrar. CMTBC
Peter Behr, Past President. CMTBC
OTHER PUBLICATIONS ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF MASSAGE THERAPISTS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
1. Schatz, A. A confrontation between human rights and monopoly control in British Columbia.
The controversy about regulation involves the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the United Nations International Bill of Human Rights. Massage Law Newsletter 10(1):1-12. June. 1999.
2. Schatz, A. A request for information about the controversy over the scope of practice of Registered Massage Therapists in British Columbia. Massage Law Newsletter. 10(2):1-1-2. June. 1999.
3. Schatz, A., and Brewster, M. The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia wants to do vaginal and rectal massage. Massage Law Newsletter. 11(1):1-10. July. 1999.
4. Schatz, A. Letters to Peter Behr in British Columbia. Massage Law Newsletter.11(2):5-6. October. 1999.
5. The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia tells us there is no significant risk of harm by massage therapists in the U.S. ---- The College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia (CMTBC) has not provided acceptable evidence that nonregistered practitioners are any more of a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare in British Columbia than massage therapists are in the U.S. ---- Why does CMTBC want to do rectal and vaginal massage? Massage Law Newsletter 14(3):1-2. August. 2000.
6. Schatz, A. The Great Canadian Massage Mystery. The strange case of people allegedly killed by unregulated massage therapists in Powell River, British Columbia. Massage Law Newsletter. 15(1):1-4. September. 2000.
7. Schatz, A. Has the College of Massage Therapists of British Columbia provided misleading information to the Health Professions Council? Massage Law Newsletter. 15(2):1-2. September. 2000.
8. Are payments to Registered Massage Therapists in British Columbia, under the Medical Services Plan, cost-effective? If not, should these payments be discontinued? ---- How much iatrogenic harm is caused by Registered Massage Therapists in British Columbia? ---- What information does the College of Massage Therapists in British Colombia have about Peter Behr's treatment and about harm caused by Registered Massage Therapists? And why do British Columbia RMTs need a 3,000-hour training. Massage Law Newsletter. 15(3):1-5. October. 2000.