A HEALTH practitioner at a popular Adelaide medical clinic is treating children’s autism with belly button massage.
Elvira Brunt, from St Morris’s popular Fravira Clinic, has a long history of charging vulnerable people for false cures.
She has been criticised for giving people false hope and dangerous advice.
The Advertiser has revealed in the past that she has been accused of telling parents to deny their children treatment or even painkillers, in one case suggesting a girl with leukaemia eat KFC instead.
At a Victorian parliamentary inquiry last year, a Swan Hill couple said they had tried several therapies for their teenage son including spending $12,000 a year to see Ms Brunt in Adelaide.
“We travel to Adelaide every school holidays, or if not, in between for three days,” the father told the inquiry. There are different therapies.”
When asked why Adelaide, the mother replied that “that is where the only lady in Australia who does it is located”.
“It is at the Fravira Clinic. Her name is Elvira. She does massage therapy. She just warms the blood up and manipulates the bloodstream through his belly button,” she said. “It is just an alternative therapy that we do. Obviously it is not funded, so again that is more expensive.”
Ms Brunt has claimed in the past that she has a medical degree from “Old Yugoslavia” and is a “circulatory specialist”.
On Thursday, Ms Brunt told The Advertiser that everyone coming to the clinic has to sign a form saying she doesn’t claim she can fix anything.
“I have never claimed that I can cure autism but obviously I believe the patients feel that I have benefited them because they keep coming back,” she said.
“I think the evidence of my treatment is the fact that I’ve been here for 30-something years, that I’ve never had to advertise, that all my appointments are filled, that all the patients return. Why are you picking on me?”
“The problem with you ... you know what, sweetheart ... I’m going to hang up now and I’m going to look into you just ringing up and asking questions.”
A South Australian inquiry almost a decade ago heard she tried to convince the parents of a young leukaemia victim to delay giving her treatment, and eventually to deprive her of painkillers as she lay dying.
The girl’s father said they saw Ms Brunt hundreds of times, and she urged them to feed their daughter KFC.
The father thinks that prolonged her life. Ms Brunt is not registered as a health practitioner.
The SA report into “bogus, unregistered and deregistered health practitioners” named and shamed practitioners — including Ms Brunt — for claiming she could cure cancer through abdominal massage, encouraging patients to stop normal treatment, and requiring cash payments for services.
In her response to that assertion, Ms Brunt said she has never claimed to be a registered medical practitioner and does not discourage patients from relationships with doctors.
In the past, patients have told The Advertiser that she has “saved” them using a technique she learned in Croatia where she uses massage to “divert blood everywhere”.
Others have told of family members dying after Ms Brunt told them not to take mainstream medicine.
In an unrelated incident, an 18-month-old girl was crushed to death by a massage table at the clinic in 2009.