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Informed consent prior to examination and referral to another practitioner (13HDC00172)

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(13HDC00172, 12 June 2014)

Massage therapist ~ Auric field examination ~ Referral ~ Informed consent ~ Rights 6(1), 7(1)

A sixteen-year-old girl attended a consultation with a massage therapist to assist with muscle pain, migraines and period problems. She was accompanied by her mother and aunt, and reported feeling better following the appointment. She then attended a further appointment with the massage therapist approximately two weeks later, at which time she was accompanied by her aunt only.

The parties have differing recollections of the events that took place at the second appointment. It is accepted that the massage therapist was concerned at the girl's lack of progress since the previous appointment, and that the massage therapist therefore considered that the girl's presentation might not have only a physical cause. The massage therapist "observed" what she considered to be the girl's auric field, and identified what she considered to be blockages in that auric field. The massage therapist then recommended and referred her to a Tohunga from a local Iwi for further treatment.

The referral took place immediately and involved the girl (together with her aunt) meeting the massage therapist and the Tohunga at the nearby river, where the girl was then immersed in the river. She then returned to the massage therapist's house, where she received further massage therapy as scheduled.

It was held that the massage therapist did not provide sufficient information to enable the girl to make an informed choice and give her informed consent to the examination of her auric fields and the referral to the Tohunga. In these circumstances, the massage therapist breached Rights 6(1) and 7(1) of the Code.

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