The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Death by Alternative “Medicine”

Posted by mattusmaximus on June 6, 2009

In my most recent post – Silencing Skepticism: The Case of Simon Singh – I outlined the dangers in allowing alternative “medicine” woo-meisters to silence skeptics.  But in the process of writing that entry, I left out perhaps the most important reason why skeptics must fight against attempts to silence them: alternative “medicine” can kill.

Case in point…

Parents guilty of manslaughter over daughter’s eczema death

A couple whose baby daughter died after they treated her with homeopathic remedies instead of conventional medicine have been found guilty of manslaughter.

Gloria Thomas died aged nine months after spending more than half her life with eczema.

The skin condition wore down her natural defences and left her completely vulnerable when she developed an eye infection that killed her within days of developing.

Thomas Sam, 42, a homeopath, and Manju Sam, 37, of Earlwood, Sydney, were charged with manslaughter by gross criminal negligence.

Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case. ‘Nuff said.

6 Responses to “Death by Alternative “Medicine””

  1. republicofhealth said

    The article you cited does not even say what “homeopathic remedies” the couple were using and you are going to use it as a reason to outlaw alternative “medicine?”

    Do you know what the most common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation are?


    Well, you are going to get your wish. The government is going to force everybody to get medical insurance. And they are already forcing people to get dangerous treatment like chemotherapy as we witnessed in the Daniel Hauser case.

    It’s pretty crazy for you to say you are skeptical and not question anything the medical industry has to say. And even go so far as to say anybody who does question the medical pharmaceutical industry are conspiracy theorists. Give me a break.

    But continue to worship your religion of white coats. The big pharmaceutical companies love you and are only looking out for your best interest.

    • mattusmaximus said

      Homeopathy, as defined by homeopaths, is one of the most thoroughly investigated and tested ideas in the world of alt-med woo. In short, it doesn’t work. An excellent example of this is displayed when James Randi lectures on the topic – as he is lecturing, he’ll eat an entire bottle of “homeopathic sleeping pills” that he picked up from a local pharmacy. If these were pills that actually did anything beyond mere placebo effect, he’d be dead before the end of his lecture. Well, guess what? Randi has done this many, many times and he is still quite alive.

      I also find your assertion about chemotherapy & radiation to be laughable – seeing as how those two treatments are used to help treat & cure cancer, it would make sense that if you’re getting chemo or radiation then you already have cancer. Duh!

      Besides, who said that I necessarily trusted the pharmaceutical medical industry? In fact, I think there should be tighter regulations and controls on pharmaceuticals. One of the biggest problems in the industry, in my opinion, is that there isn’t enough transparency in the process and that the FDA doesn’t have enough regulatory & enforcement power. However, in contrast to the sCAM industry, there is some regulation of the pharmaceutical companies, and they have to meet some standards. The sCAM industry is completely unaccountable, which is incredibly dangerous when you’re talking about people’s health.

      For you to suggest that this situation can be remedied by encouraging a branch of alt-med quackery which is completely devoid of any regulation whatsoever seems to be contrary to the entire idea of holding medical practitioners accountable.

  2. republicofhealth said

    First of all, it’s not MY assertion that chemotherapy and radiation cause cancer. That’s mainline news and even cancer specialists will admit that. It’s not really laughable, it’s tragic. It’s radiation man, everyone knows radiation causes cancer. And do you know who invented chemotherapy? The nazis. That’s right, the nazis came up with chemotherapy. Do you really think the nazis have our best interests at heart?

    Read more about the nazis influence on chemotherapy here

    Just think about it for a second. Who are the last people in the world that want to cure cancer?

    The people making lots of money off of it.

    Cancer is a billion dollar industry. The medical industrial complex has a vested interest in a continuation of cancer. The problem isn’t oversight. There are a three problems: (1) the pharmaceutical companies make money off of suffering, therefore they have a vested interest in the continuation of suffering (2) gullible people like you willingly give up personal responsibility for your health to large corporations and governments (3) people like you will try to force people like me into your terrible medical system

    What are you talking about, we need more regulation? From who? The government? Come on, the FDA is owned by the medical industrial complex. You can’t be that naive.

    How can you discount the whole natural medicine field, like herbs, vitamins, exercise, natural hygiene, and toxemia because some random sleeping pills don’t work? Give me a break. I’m not saying every homeopathic remedy is good or works for everyone. I’m saying I should have the freedom to choose what medical treatment I want and companies should be able to market natural cures.

    Where do you think pharmaceutical drugs come from? They come from plants. why would you pay tons of money for a synthesized pill with bad side effects when you can take the original plant without the side effects for less money.

    But go ahead. Keep taking the pills, keep getting sick, keep thinking the government and pharma companies love you, just don’t try to force me to do the same.

  3. […] idiotic religious beliefs. This is very similar to the tragedy I outlined in a recent post – Death by Alternative “Medicine”. And even more sadly, this isn’t an isolated […]

  4. that article about Death by Alternative Medicine is misleading..

    The subject of that article is Kim — .. she did not follow her natural therapy regimens– probably because of the detractors who came haunting her after she made herself visible at Oprah Winfrey’s show..she attracted a lot of bad attention in a wider scale.. and she was distraught, dissappointed and probably have second thoughts about her choice and finally given up.. the power of suggestion can be very lethal… Most of all she did not believe in praying to Christ at all.. She mentioned God several times and prayer– but it is not Christian based– is based on a cult-based book called “The Secret”. Kim died in the hands of conventional doctors — not alternative medicine— she gave up on her alternative choice because of her unsupportive husband.

  5. if you are going to look at ORAC’s blood archives, he also mis-used another man’s cancer story to ridicule people who believe in alternative medicine

    Bruce conquered his cancer for 5 years (alhtough he was only given 2 years)– he died of sleep apnea— very peaceful death as opposed to the painful death received by cancer patients who are over-insured and over-treated with chemo and radiation like this woman, named Shin who just like you claimed that she is not a Christian (despite her parents being Christiams)..

    see the difference of people believing in Christ and prayer (bruce)? and those who pray to false Gods(Kim)? and those who do not believe in prayer at all? (Kim)

    Bruce diead a peaceful death not of cancer. Both Kim and Shin died a very painful death.

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