Blood disease risk for Syd clinic patrons

Angelo Risso and Luke Costin
·2-min read

An eastern Sydney "wellness" clinic which advertised "colon hydrotherapy" services has allegedly breached infection control rules over a seven-year period, including failing to sterilise its equipment between users.

Customers have now been urged to get tested for infections including HIV.

NSW Health said in a statement on Wednesday that Detoxologie in Bondi Junction had been shut down in December over health breaches.

The state's Health Care Complaints Commission said at the time that Detoxologie, operated by Fay Fain, had unlawfully administered imported medication not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The HCCC also alleged that Ms Fain professed to be a registered nurse but had never obtained that qualification in Australia.

Furthermore, the facility's colonic irrigation devices - which involve flushing out the colon or large intestine with water - were not sterilised between use.

This may have put patrons at risk of blood-borne infections such as HIV.

NSW Health on Wednesday urged those who attended Detoxologie for colonic irrigation, skin needling, allergy or blood testing, intravenous infusions or vitamin injections between June 2013 and December 2020 to get a blood test.

The public health body said it was attempting to contact Detoxologie's customers over the seven-year period but the company had kept poor records.

Two Detoxologie clients and Ms Fain were in December admitted to hospital due to negative reactions to intravenous infusions that were purportedly contaminated.

"To date, there have been no cases of blood borne virus infection linked to this business. However, we know infections like HIV and hepatitis B and C can be silent for many years," NSW Health's Professor Mark Ferson said.

Ms Fain, who self-identifies as a naturopath, has been barred from providing any health services in NSW for at least the next eight weeks.

The 60-year-old Woollahra-based business owner opened the clinic in 2011, which is now based at Eastgate Shopping Centre.

Its website, which has been taken down, claimed it could help "cleanse and restore your digestion, rebalance your body, rejuvenate your mind and heal".

It also claimed Ms Fain had worked for 25 years as a clinical nutritionist.

In September 2020, Detoxologie was fined almost $40,000 for advertising a "bio-resonance health scanner" which was not included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods, and for making other misleading claims.

Attempts were made on Wednesday to contact Ms Fain on two numbers listed for Detoxologie.

A NSW Health inspector on Tuesday examined the premises, and cleared the clinic to resume any skin penetrating treatments, citing no serious danger to public health.