Thursday, 2 June 2011

Witches and witchcraft

Anyone well familiar with this blog will be aware that I do not have much time for complementary and alternative medicine. I have also in the past been quite scathing about midwives, so an article featuring both betes noir is bound to get my attention.

The Journal of Advanced Nursing has accepted a paper from an organisation called NORPHCAM suggesting that quackery should be offered by midwives to their patients, and included in the nurse and midwifery training. The apparent reasoning is that these techniques are “popular”.

Where do you start. 

Firstly nowhere in the paper does it actually state what these techniques are supposed to achieve, and no evidence is presented that any clinical objective is attained. In fact there is no evidence that any of the CAM practices are of any benefit in pregnancy and some may even be harmful. For example herbal medicine. What are they doing encouraging pregnant women to take herbal substances without any evidence that they are safe to mother and foetus. This article indicates also that these substances may be contaminated. One can imagine the exchange between a suitably “educated” midwife and her patient. “Good morning Mrs Gullible-Loon, and how would you like your agricultural pesticides this morning, with or without heavy metals?”

That a journal should accept a paper of such appalling quality from a CAM promotion organisation, which is what NORPHCAM is, indicates perhaps that it is not a very discerning journal. 

And why is a nursing journal pontificating on Midwifery. As the midwives tell us forcefully, they are NOT nurses. In fact a very good way to get a spectacularly aggressive reaction from a midwife is to call her a nurse.

To get a good idea of what happens when you persuade midwives that CAM is a legitimate therapy for pregnant women have a look at this.


  1. Hospital Lab Tech3 June 2011 at 09:21

    "Popular". Hmmm, so were Jeffrey Archer's novels and I wouldn't recommend those either.

  2. Why are you reading the journal of advanced nursing?

  3. Followed a link from Hospital Doctor