The province of B.C. paid a total of $340,000 compensation to five people -- including one woman who almost died of arsenic poisoning and was rendered quadriplegic -- who were treated by a self-proclaimed "holistic healer."

Selena Tsui has not been criminally charged or convicted in connection with the allegations in this case, which was handled by the province's Civil Forfeiture Office and settled out of court.

The principal claimant, identified only as EL, was rushed to hospital and put on life support after she suffered respiratory and renal failure, cardiac arrest, paralysis and other symptoms. She had severe damage to her nervous system -- likely due to arsenic poisoning, according to doctors -- and was given a 5% chance of survival.

She had taken a concoction that later tested positive for "extreme arsenic levels," the ministry of public safety and solicitor general said in a news release.

"Between 2000 and 2004, Tsui told at least a dozen people that she was qualified to diagnose, prescribe for and treat diseases and ailments, including mental conditions. In fact, she had no formal training and was not registered with any regulatory body for health professionals in B.C.," the release said.

An investigation revealed that Tsui's boyfriend had been listed in EL's will.

"I believe British Columbians will be appalled by the physical, emotional and financial damage in this case," Minister Shirley Bond said. "I thank the one client in particular for her courage in allowing us to share her story. I truly hope the proceeds we've returned bring some comfort and help for these people to move forward."

B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Act allows the province to pay compensation to eligible victims of an unlawful activity where there is a direct connection between them and the property forfeited by a particular unlawful activity.
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