Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Alties Taken To Task

Yet again, an alternative practitioner proves conclusively that the claims for alternative therapies to be "gentle", "natural" and "safe" are wrong: Naturopath in court over detox death.

A self-proclaimed naturopath accused of killing one of his patients has faced a Sydney court for the first time. Jeffery Dummett appeared in the NSW Supreme Court today, charged with the manslaughter of Vecko Krsteski. An inquest held last year into Mr Krsteski's death was terminated by deputy state coroner Jacqueline Milledge, who referred the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration of criminal charges. The inquest was told that Mr Krsteski died during a live-in detoxification program at a natural therapies clinic run by Dummett at Oatley, in Sydney's south. The 37-year-old security guard, who had chronic renal disease, died from a heart attack and renal failure on February 26, 2002.

Quite apart from the fact that "detoxification" in the altie sense has no meaning at all (there's no science to this, it's just a reinvention of the old magical-religious worldview: instead of seeking shriving for their polluting sins through prayer and repentance, the names have been changed to seeking "cleansing" for their "polluting toxins" through "detoxing" and "purging" while the underlying faith-based nature of this approach remains fundamentally unchanged), EoR wonders whether the altie will provide a defence of "healing crisis"?

EoR wonders also how many deaths are required before fringe therapists are regulated (preferably by only being allowed to practise if they can actually provide evidence for their detoxing, crystals, needles, realignments, etc etc).

Meanwhile, the creator of an "invisible condom" is being taken to court by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission over his somewhat exaggerated claims (hey, we all know that a disinfectant and a vaccine are really the same thing, don't we?).

And (via Dr RW) what will the alties do when the editor in chief of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine says about alternative medicine and specifically acupuncture:

It doesn't exist. We've looked into most of the practices and, biochemically or physically, their supposed effects lie somewhere between highly improbable and impossible. [...] I look at it this way: what if acupuncture didn't exist? Would medicine or society be any worse off? If no one knew about it, nothing would change.

Well, a lot of people would have a lot more of their money to spend on real things, for a start...

1 comment:

  1. Prof Sampson's "What If" rule is a useful guideline. Maybe society would be worse off if all woo practitioners were suddenly unemployed, but seeing as we have a skills shortage they could retrain: crystal healers to geologists, acupuncturists to electricians, colonic irrigationists to plumbers etc.


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