Mexico closes the clinic where Coretta Scott King died
MEXICO CITY, Feb. 3 — Mexican health officials on Thursday night shut down an alternative medicine clinic where Coretta Scott King died this week, saying the doctors there were using unproven treatments and were never licensed to run a full-service hospital.
The clinic's founder, Kurt W. Donsbach, is a chiropractor who has a long history of run-ins with the law in the United States over claims he has made about nutritional supplements he developed and sold.
He operated the clinic, known as the Hospital Santa Mónica, since 1987 without any interference from the Baja California state authorities. It offered people with cancer and other chronic diseases a buffet of unorthodox treatments, from intravenous infusions of hydrogen peroxide and vitamins, to ozone saunas to something he calls microchemotherapy, small doses of cancer-fighting drugs administered with glucose.
Mrs. King was suffering from advanced ovarian cancer when she arrived at the clinic in Rosarito on Jan. 26, having learned of it from members of her church. She died Monday.
Doctors at the clinic maintain they did not give her any of Mr. Donsbach's treatments. The cause of death was listed as respiratory and heart failure, though no autopsy was done and the doctor who signed the certificate is on the clinic's staff.
Clinics offering unconventional treatments not available in the United States have flourished for decades in Baja California, where regulation is weak and official corruption rampant.
The state health commissioner, Dr. Francisco Vera, said earlier this week that state inspectors visited the clinic last June and had found everything in order. But after a flurry of calls from reporters over the last few days, the state sent in another team Thursday afternoon, and it reached a very different conclusion.
For starters, the team found that the clinic was registered with the state under a different name, Clínica Santo Tomás, and was not licensed to provide much more than basic walk-in medical services. The clinic's staff did not have the authorization to perform surgery, take X-rays, perform laboratory work or run an internal pharmacy, all of which it was doing.
Anyone want to bet that, had a person as famous and revered as Mrs. King not died in this "clinic," that the Santa Monica Health Institute would still be in business, still dispensing quack "cures" like insulin potentiation therapy, quite happily (and lucratively), and that the Mexican government would still be looking the other way? Or would anyone want to take any bets on when it will reopen and go back to business as usual as soon as the attention from Mrs. King's death fades?