Stem cell 'doctor' faces more raps for Ateneo grad's death

by Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 20 2014 11:25 AM | Updated as of Apr 20 2014 07:25 PM

MANILA - A businessman has updated the charges he filed with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against a wellness center operator who allegedly caused the death of his daughter, a cum laude graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, last year.

Bernard Tan added the illegal practice of medicine to the charges of estafa and reckless imprudence resulting in homicide he filed in October 2013 against Antonia Carandang-Park, her husband Young Joe Park and some center personnel over the death of his daughter Katherine Grace, 23, on July 4, 2013.

Tan based the additional charge on a certification issued in August 2013 by the Professional Regulation Commission showing that Park “does not appear in the database of physicians, which contains the names of those duly authorized to practice medicine in the Philippines.”

In an interview, Tan said Kate allegedly underwent stem cell treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, at the Green and Young Health and Wellness Center owned by Park in Tagaytay City during the last quarter of 2012.

“We went to her clinic and she told us that she already treated a similar case and it would only take three months to treat my daughter… We did not know that she is not a doctor,” he said.

According to Tan, his daughter was in remission but she no longer wanted to undergo the pain of cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

“She also did not want to miss classes because she was graduating cum laude in March 2013. So when we heard about Park, we went to her clinic in Tagaytay,” he said.

Tan said Park had promised his family that she could cure Kate within three months, provided that she will not receive any complimentary treatment from other doctors. She assured the family that she already treated a similar case in the past.

Tan said Park had injected “embryonic stem cells” into his daughter several times and Kate was fed only bananas and vegetable juices for three months.

“Three months passed but my daughter’s condition was not improving. She started to lose weight. She was deteriorating so we brought her to (conventional doctors),” he said.

Kate died on July 4, 2013.

No such treatment

The wellness center, in a statement published by earlier this month, said Tan’s daughter “was never given stem cell treatment” by the center or Park.

The center’s lawyer, Stephen Cascolan, said Tan brought his daughter to “many other physicians” long after she visited the center. He said all hospitals where Kate was admitted and all doctors who treated her before she died “should be investigated.”

Cascolan also said Park never stated she was a licensed physician in the Philippines and her center is “assisted by… competent medical practitioners who are licensed in the Philippines.”

Previous charge

Earlier this month, the NBI filed a medical malpractice charge with a Tagaytay City court against Park, known for administering stem cell therapy on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Park “misrepresented herself as a licensed physician on several occasions,” according to an investigation by the NBI.

These incidents include the issuance of an official statement on July 25, 2012 regarding Arroyo’s treatment.

Park stated that she diagnosed Arroyo, now a Pampanga representative, and that “stem cell therapy is contemplated and strong considered for the latter’s condition. She even signed the same as ‘Dra. Antonia Park, M.D.’” the NBI said.

The malpractice charge was filed by Dr. Eunice Salazar-Abad, a physician who worked for wellness center. Abad alleged that she discovered that Park was using her name and doctor’s license number.

The NBI said Park “admitted that she did not take the licensure examination in medicine in the Philippines due to various preoccupations and that the wellness center she owns is not engaged in the practice of medicine.”