‘What’s the harm?’, Episode #4,354,223

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Perhaps the most upsetting of all the topics I’ve covered over the journey is the needless death of a child as a direct result of quackery, another example of which is reported here. In this case, the mother of a 10 year old considered herself a ‘healer’, and instead of getting the kid chemotherapy for liver cancer, fed her on fruits, vegetables, herbs and and coated her stomach in El Salvadoran mud.
It is true that the child may have died in any case, but you can just image the poor thing’s agony, with probably nothing more than dandelion tea for solace.
However it is also true that she would have had a fighting chance, particularly with the potential for a transplant at some point.
The parents claimed that they ‘don’t believe in chemotherapy’. There it is again – this thing called ‘belief’. Your beliefs are irrelevant when it comes to science – you should rely on what is known. Believing that the earth is flat doesn’t make it so.
They also said they we ‘bullied’ by the doctors. Well, boo hoo. I can just imagine the frustration of their doctors as they saw this young lady go from bad to worse, and not be able to intervene. Sometimes we just need to suck up our ego, and take the best advice available on the best course of action. Are they now proud that they stood up to these bullies? I have zero sympathy for them. This is not an excusable mistake. This is sheer child abuse and finally murder- clear cut. They are no less culpable than the person who gets behind the wheel while intoxicated and kills the occupants of a car – the outcomes are entirely foreseeable.
OK, enough ranting. But chalk up another statistic to the touchy-feely, natural-remedy bullshit.
Next time someone asks ‘What’s the harm?’, THIS is the harm.

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