By Keir Liddle
Australian skeptic Dan Buzzard is the latest blogger to find himself on the end of a quacks attempts to silence criticism.
Homeopath Francine Scrayen has called in the lawyers to hit Dan with a cease and desist order relating to two posts published on his blog:
The two posts in question can be found here and here. They detail the horrific and tragic case of Penelope Dingle who sadly passed away from rectal cancer in 2005. Scrayen, who has been described by the Australian coroner as “not a competent health professional” and “with minimal understanding of relevant health issues” treated her with a number of alternative treatments. Scrayen herself is reported as saying in the coroners report that:
“she had completed a first aid course with St John Ambulance Service, she stated that it was a “very basic” course and that her understanding of medical issues was relatively poor”
This is a person who is claiming to have the ability to cure cancer whose medical knowledge is limited to that of a very basic first aid course!
Scrayens records show detailed accounts of Penelopes symptoms but contain very little information on the treatments prescribed and advice given. It also details an excessive amount of contact between Scrayen and the deceased which the coroner states:
In my view the number and extent of these contacts was grossly excessive for any legitimate professional interaction and provided evidence of an increasing unhealthy dependence of the deceased on Mrs Scrayen and her homeopathic remedies and treatments.
But most shockingly Scrayen advised Dingle not to undergo any conventional therapies as “a psychic of extremely high calibre” had informed her that a patient would come to her with cancer who would “completely commit to you to be cured using classical homeopathy alone”. According to a heart breaking letter from Penelope to Scrayen this psychic had told her:
“You would treat this patient and cure them of cancer. In this way, classical homeopathy would be recognised and its cause advanced in Australia. You told me that I was this patient.”
This psychics premonition seems to have lead to Scrayen recording rectal bleeding but not advising medical intervention for a period beginning in October 2001 and stretching to the 11th of November 2002. Believing it not to be a serious symptom of a serious disease but rather, with all her medical training and expertise, a recurrence of haemorrhoids.
If the coroners report makes for uncomfortable reading The letter written from Penelope to Scrayen is simply painful as it outlines the immense pain and degradation Penelope suffered at the hands of Scrayen and her “treatments”. Refusing pain medication at the homeopaths urging and being encouraged to reject all other treatments (conventional and alternative) as she believed “classical homeopathy” would cure her. Seduced by false hope and the promise of a cure the letter accounts all manner of ridiculous and unproven “treatment” all of which were completely ineffective. The letter also details the horrific damage done when one is so under the spell of a practitioner of alt. med. that they completely reject conventional treatment.
Perhaps most shockingly of all is Scrayens treatment of Penelope after it became clear that her prescriptions were failing terribly. She refused repeated requests to speak with Penelope or her family, tried to get them to sign an indemnity refuting her of any blame and even sent Penelope a card in which she stated that she was “upset” that Penelope, entirely justifiably, was angry with her.
As Dan says at the end of one of his posts on the subject:
Francine Scrayen who is not a medical professional killed her victim by selling bogus treatment in place of legitimate medicine.
We are happy to spread that message far and wide and hope that other bloggers, tweeters and commentators will do similarly.