A Bothell naturopath is breaking his silence after the Department of Health suspended his license in January.
The DOH accuses Dr. John Catanzaro of using an experimental vaccine on cancer patients without obtaining fully informed consent.
"We contested all the allegations because they're false," Dr. Catanzaro said. "I have not disgraced my profession."
In January, Dr. Catanzaro's pharmacy held treatments for 15 patients with Stage 4 cancer. Today, the shelves are empty.
"In medical waste," Dr. Catanzaro said. "That was a heartbreaking day for me."
Dr. Catanzaro claims he notified every patient the treatment was not FDA approved. Investigators never asked for patient consent forms, he says, but he has since handed them over.
"Fully consented and signed the document. It's just that the document didn't get over to the state," Dr. Catanzaro said. "All the risks and benefits are known and up front with the patient and they sign the document."
Dr. Catanzaro is also fighting charges that he didn't keep adequate patient records. He blames that on malfunctioning computer software.
"They never did a pre-investigation," he said of the DOH. "They never even came out to even talk with me."
A practicing naturopath for 17 years, Dr. Catanzaro calls himself a pioneer in a field of integrative medicine that's often looked at suspiciously by conventional standards.
"You have an arrow on your back if you're a pioneer and you're trying to move something forward," he said.
The cancer vaccine supports the patient's immune system to help work with conventional treatments, Dr. Catanzaro explained, calling it an adjunctive therapy that facilitates their immune ability to fight their disease.
He told all of his patients it is unlikely he will be able to administer the treatment ever again.
"Heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking," he said.
The DOH called his treatment an unethical risk, but a dozen patients told King 5 that they credit Dr. Catanzaro with saving their lives.
And he believes his patients should have the option to choose their treatment, as he should have the opportunity to give it.
"Have I shed tears over this? Absolutely," he said. "Am I going to quit? No."
Dr. Catanzaro's hearing with the DOH is set for early August. His legal team is currently working on a settlement.
Dr. Catanzaro has started a fund to help return money to his patients for the investment they made in the treatment they never received.
Anyone who would like more information on Dr. Catanzaro's fight to win back his license should visit www.fightforcancer.com .