How homeopathy claimed another life

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While I’m on homeopathy, let’s have a look at another example of the harm it can do.

The story of Penelope Brown is a very moving one. She died in 2005 after several years of agonising bowel cancer. Her story was presented on Australian Story over the last couple of weeks. You can view both parts here. Visit the links to ‘Desperate Remedies’, in two parts.

It really is just appalling viewing I’m afraid. Have a look at this synopsis too, from earlier this year when the inquest was concluded.

It’s not just the blind faith of the victim, or the utter arrogance and deception by the practitioner, but the passive compliance of the husband, who went along with the dying woman’s wishes purportedly on the basis of the trust between them. My wife asked me what I would have done, had she insisted on the same trust. I replied that I would have hit her over the head with a brick to shut her up about the homeopathy, and then take her straight to hospital. But that’s just me.

After episode 1, we are also left with the suggestion that the 3 (i.e. the deceased, the partner and the homeopath) are in it for the media deal which would follow a successful alternative therapy. But this is never substantiated even though a third party witness is found credible by the inquest. The inquest also found the homeopath not to be a person of trust, but was unable to take further action. She is however being investigated by the Australian Homeopathy Association. Yeah, right. As if they would ever publish an adverse finding on one of their own.

But in the end, the poor deceased died as a result of a ‘perfect storm’, consisting of the illness, a deluded practitioner of a bogus therapy, her devotion to that practitioner intent on getting that special outcome to prove her therapy, and a partner also taken in by the homeopath and who is also keen on health drinks and a positive attitude as therapy.

The poor woman never stood a chance.

To all those who continue with the old canard of ‘what’s the harm’, here’s the harm: the deadly cocktail of:

1. A life-threatening illness which is operable

2. Homeopathy [substitute any one of a zillion bogus therapies], and,

3. A charismatic individual who can influence grown, educated people to take bizarre decisions.

Yes, let’s have that argument again. (See post on Kim Tinkham)

If you doubt the harm that was done, read this moving letter by Penelope, after she had become disillusioned with the homeopath.

To Francine Scrayen, the homeopath, you got off lightly. I would say that you have the intellect of an ant, but I don’t want to denigrate ants.

It’s clear to anyone viewing the story that you were motivated by greed and a desperate desire to ‘manufacture’ evidence in support of homeopathy, to add to the ZERO that already exists. In the process you cared ZERO for the life of another human being.

That makes you a disgrace.


7 thoughts on “How homeopathy claimed another life

    Response on homeopathy articles « rationalbrain said:
    July 13, 2011 at 10:56 am

    […] that to Penelope Dingle’s family. Cochrane data clearly does not support a lot of “accepted” science, eg. many surgical […]

    The diary of rationalbrain « rationalbrain said:
    September 20, 2011 at 7:16 am

    […] I’ve referred to a number of such individuals – including Oprah, and closer to home, Francine Scrayen. And while invoking Hitler to disparage someone is the lowest form of argument, in this case I […]

    […] form), there are good reasons for wanting to be rid of it. Firstly, we will avoid illnesses and deaths of people who use homeopathy instead of real medicine. And secondly, if we can get health funds to stop covering this nonsense, […]

    Peterf66 said:
    May 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

    In my last post I tried to be polite but now I’ve read some more of your post and I’ve made a realization. You are a religious fanatic; you constantly bash other people’s beliefs and can’t see that your view is far more fanatical and misguide then theirs. You claim scientific evidence but all you really have is a distorted filter system and can only see what you already believe. You clams are no more rational than those faithful followers bowing to Allah five times a day.
    You make such a fuss about a patient dying from alternative health care and you had to go back to 2005 to find one. Are you kidding me? Thousands die every year under the care of modern medicine. Drug medicine is far form full proof and fanatics like you make it even more dangerous.

      rationalbrain said:
      May 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Wow, you really feel strongly about this. Tell me Peter, what is your interest here? Are you an alternative therapy practitioner?
      But I agree, real medicine doesn’t have all the answers, but it certainly keeps trying – that’s the nature of science – keep asking, and trying to explain. Your ‘religion’ however, is content to assure people that it works, never bothering to demonstrate that it works, and never feeling like they need to explain to anyone how it works.
      Yes, I’m fanatical about science and its achievements. At least it tries to move us forward, rather than clinging to magical thinking, as you seem to be doing.

        Peterf66 said:
        May 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm

        I apologise if I’ve giving you the wrong impressing about my view of science. I totally agree with scientific methods. Science in it’s self is usually a good thing. What you are failing to take into account is scientists are people with families and bills to pay. And people that grant research money have there own agenda. Please don’t tell me that you actually believe that all science is unbiased. How many scientists claimed in court on behalf of the tobacco industry that there was absolutely no evidence that smoking is bad for you. How many scientists are currently arguing about ozone depletion, global worming and many other profit interfering facts? There are always some scientists that will say anything for the right price. If you thick that money doesn’t play a major roll in science then you’re dreaming. Don’t misunderstand I’m not suggesting that all science is corrupt but you can’t just take it all at face value.

        After all the augments I’ve made the best that you can do is accuse me of magical thinking. I’m the sceptic you are the diehard believer.

        rationalbrain said:
        May 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm

        OK, so I’m a one-eyed believer in the scientific method – guilty as charged. And by the way, the word sceptic is not synonymous with ‘cynic’, which is what you seem to be.
        But you didn’t tell me what your interest is – what do you do for a living?
        I’d just like to make sure that you perhaps are not profiting from selling alternative to the dreaded ‘medicine that works’.
        Seems like a fair question.

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