If you wanted to make a horror-thriller, you couldn't do better than a mad scientist who had been debarred from practising medicine, but continued his arcane experiments in some remote location, killing innocent victims in his insane search to perfect a cure for cancer.
Sadly, it's not a film script and it's not a thriller, it's terrifyingly real.
The WA Coroner has recently been considering the deaths of five people receiving an alternative cancer 'cure' promoted by Hellfried Sartori, aka Abdul-Haqq Sartori. Local doctor, Alexandra Boyd, is also under investigation for making her home available to have the treatment administered (involving intravenous administration of various substances including cesium chloride, magnesium and potassium, as well as coffee enemas). Perhaps wisely, she chose not to actually be present during the treatments.
Some of Sartori's 'alternative' views are that cancer drugs kill people, not cancer, and that giving a patient a diagnosis of cancer is one of the most dangerous things a GP can do.
He said the majority of cancers were caused by "acute shock experiences" and when doctors told patients they had cancer, the shock of the news could cause the body to develop secondary cancers.
Under questioning, Dr Sartori confirmed he believed anti-cancer drugs were the major cause of death in cancer patients and he totally opposed chemotherapy.
"Nature wants to heal itself and you have to provide the proper conditions. This is the art here," he said.
In fact, he 'knows' that cancers are caused by traumatic events:
According to Sartori, almost all cancers are caused by an acute shock after a traumatic event, and he says that if this event involves a son or daughter, breast cancer tumours will grow on the left breast, as was the case with his mother.
"All of these tumours have a biological sense; for the child, this tumour grows as long as the conflict is active; after she [the mother] sees the child has recovered, the tumour stops growing.
"Then there is certain bacteria, they remove this cancer from the breast and all is gone."
His treatments cost his clients thousands of dollars — one of those who died paid $35,000, others paid up to $40,000.
Claiming to have cured "up to 10,000" patients, EoR can't decide whether Sartori has a grandiose personality disorder or not. Of course "up to" also includes numbers such as zero. He is certainly not above lying to gain his ends, failing to reveal a US criminal record when seeking Australian registration.
Dr Sartori spent three years in jail in the US for practising medicine after his licence was revoked. When asked whether he had lied when filling out the Australian forms, Dr Sartori shrugged and said: "Well, I did".
He said he did not consider writing vitamin prescriptions for patients were grounds for his convictions in the US.
Dr Kemp read out a 1984 report from medical authorities in the US state of Maryland saying Dr Sartori was "seriously deficient in medical knowledge and judgment" and below the standard of a competent family practitioner.
Sartori has also been jailed in Thailand for fraud and practising without a license.
Those who failed to recover from his unorthodox treatments (the Coroner raised the matter of 24 Australian deaths in a two year period) receive the usual altie total lack of compassion, with the patients variously being blamed for not thinking positively enough, "eating pizza and getting drunk", or the patient's partner being to blame. Or, in the 20th November edition of The West Australian, that classic altie excuse for utter failure, "a homeopathic healing crisis" (which seems most bizarre of all, since these patients weren't even receiving homeopathic treatments, though he makes the same claim in his marketing material*). Also, like other alties facing the Coroner, he seems very ready to blame everyone else except himself.
Sartori described the proceedings as "more than a witch-hunt". Well, given that Sartori was peddling witchcraft, it seems entirely appropriate to EoR for the chief witch to answer for his actions.
The case is currently in recess and resumes later next year, when Dr Boyd will appear. It will be interesting to see who she blames.
*His method is so mad that it's almost funny that he charges his treatment for large tumours by the kilogram of tumour.