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Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

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para handy
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Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#1 Post by para handy » November 21st, 2008, 12:48 pm

I'm sure there are plenty of stories like this one but I still find it infuriating and unbelievably tragic. This is where the real danger in 'alternative remedies' lie.
"Healing therapist" Russell Jenkins tragically died after a minor injury to his foot became gangrenous when he refused to seek medical attention, an inquest has heard.

As local Portsmouth newspaper The News describes: "Russell Jenkins injured his left foot treading on an electrical plug at his home. The wound later became infected, but the 52-year-old shunned conventional treatment, saying his 'inner being' told him not to go to hospital. Instead he tried treating it with honey, an ancient remedy for the treatment of infected wounds."
:sad: The honey remedy was suggested to him by a homeopath.

Source: http://layscience.net/node/295

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Alan C.
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#2 Post by Alan C. » November 21st, 2008, 12:50 pm

Darwin award? I can have no sympathy for these people.
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Alan H
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#3 Post by Alan H » November 21st, 2008, 12:56 pm

...ancient remedy
The usual nonsense [---][/---] it's old, therefore it must be good.
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#4 Post by Maria Mac » November 21st, 2008, 1:13 pm

Neither Jenkins nor his partner, former nurse Cherie Cameron, sought med­ical help. The honey treatment was suggested by homeopathist Susan Finn, who according to The News "said he did not want to see a doctor and would not go to hospital." Of course it had no effect on the diabetic patient. His toes turned black as gangrene set in, and after a couple of days bedridden he died.
He wouldn't go to hospital so the homeopath took it upon herself to treat him? Shouldn't she be disciplined in some way or barred from practising again? There's a certain irony in 'treating' a diabetic patient with honey of all things. The only responsible thing to do in her position would have been to say "I can't do anything about an infected wound and you need to seek medical help urgently," and then refuse to recommend anything.

:headbang:

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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#5 Post by Maria Mac » November 21st, 2008, 1:27 pm

I've just discovered that the deceased was the founder of a large alternative therapy centre and his partner still works there. I agree he's a candidate for the Darwin Award.

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Paolo
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#6 Post by Paolo » November 21st, 2008, 1:54 pm

I personally think that people should be able to make their own decisions, even if they are stupid ones.

For some reason I am put in mind of an anecdote from my youth:
I was out with a friend who had a bad toothache. He bought a newspaper, holding his jaw as he did so, which prompted the newspaper seller to ask if he had toothache. When my friend replied in the affirmative, the newspaper seller went on to earnestly give him the advice "if you've got a hole in the tooth, just stuff it with bread". My friend immediately decided that this was a sensible course of action, until I pointed out the lack of dental expertise of the newspaper seller. Even then my friend was trying to justify the validity of the advice, simply because he didn't want to go to the dentist. In the end I managed to make him see reason by pointing out the decayed and blackened state of the newspaper seller's few remaining teeth - a good advertisement for skepticism about his advice on dental treatments.

Maybe it was Russell Jenkins' opinion of doctors that put him off seeking medical advice, or maybe he really believed in the 'healing power' of chanting in Hebrew and application of honey poultices - either way, it's a mistake he won't make again. With any luck, however, other credulous people might look at this example of failed faith healing and then think twice about shunning medical advice, since Russell Jenkins has provided a fine example of what can go wrong if you shun professional medical opinion.

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Alan H
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#7 Post by Alan H » November 21st, 2008, 2:01 pm

Paolo wrote:With any luck, however, other credulous people might look at this example of failed faith healing and then think twice about shunning medical advice, since Russell Jenkins has provided a fine example of what can go wrong if you shun professional medical opinion.
On the other hand, many will simply say he should have used arnica instated of honey...
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There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
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Paolo
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#8 Post by Paolo » November 21st, 2008, 2:03 pm

Sad, but probably true!

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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#9 Post by MedMae » November 21st, 2008, 6:24 pm

Alan H wrote:
...ancient remedy
The usual nonsense [---][/---] it's old, therefore it must be good.
It's not always nonsense.

For example Feverfew is an old preventative treatment for migraines which is currently being research and is showing possibilities as a effective preventative treatment for migraines.

Efficacy and safty of feverfew.

Hmm I wonder if it's been tested for epilepsy.
Complexity is just simplicity multiplied to a point which exceeds a particular level of comprehension. - Theowarner

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#10 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » November 21st, 2008, 9:03 pm

And there's been quite a bit of recent research into the healing effects and antibacterial properties of honey. My partner's mother was advised by her consultant to use manuka honey on her leg ulcer, after conventional treatment failed to help. If you type ["manuka honey" wound] into Google scholar you get loads of articles (proper ones in peer-reviewed journals) that suggest that it's a promising treatment. So it seems rather unfair for the article to say "Of course it had no effect". Manuka honey even seems to have been used successfully for Fournier's gangrene (that's necrotising fascitis involving the ... er ... genital, perianal or perineal regions) [---][/---] although in conjunction with rather than instead of antibiotics.

There is an ancient remedy that Russell Jenkins could have used for the gangrene, though. They were putting maggots on gangrenous wounds to stop necrotic spread as long ago as the 11th century. And "maggot debridement therapy" is used to treat gangrene in modern medicine. It can stop the foul smell, relieve the pain, and reduce the need for amputation.

Anyway, I do feel sorry for these people. It must be terrible to have such strong beliefs that they stop you taking the most sensible course of action. And the homeopath must have been in a difficult position. For all we know, she may have urged Jenkins to seek medical help, but he was adamant that he would not see a doctor. The wife may have done the same.

If only they'd thought of the maggots.

Emma

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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#11 Post by SkiCarver » November 21st, 2008, 10:23 pm

unfortunately, he was of the age where he would already have had kids. his passing only helps the species if he fails to pass on his genes.

A death is always sad, but in this case, i have little sympathy. Re the homeopath; She should be liable for any advice given out for which there is no evidence of efficacy. if there are no peer reviewed articles in respected journals, showing that here advice was reasonable, she should be prosecuted, up to and including manslaughter, depending on what the exact details of the case are.
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#12 Post by Parapraxis » November 22nd, 2008, 10:19 am

I'm going to play Devil's advocate and say if anecdotal evidence is not acceptable for the efficacy of alternative medicines, then it cannot be acceptable for the lack of efficacy of these medicines :smile:

But obviously there is a wealth of rigorous scientific and empircal research supporting the effectiveness of conventional treatments and the lack of effectiveness of alternative medicine.
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Paolo
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#13 Post by Paolo » November 24th, 2008, 9:31 am

MedMae wrote:
Alan H wrote:
...ancient remedy
The usual nonsense [---][/---] it's old, therefore it must be good.
It's not always nonsense.

For example Feverfew is an old preventative treatment for migraines which is currently being research and is showing possibilities as a effective preventative treatment for migraines.

Efficacy and safty of feverfew.

Hmm I wonder if it's been tested for epilepsy.
There are plenty of examples of medicially useful plant, animal, fungal, etc. derived substances, some of which may have been noticed in the past, however the lack of systematic research in the past has led to the use of some truly bizarre remedies, that are probably more likely to kill the patient than cure the disease.

Even if there are some instances where ancient remedies can work, seperating the effective treatments from the nonsense requires systematic testing if they are to be relied on. Old does not equal good, but it may indicate areas for research.

I agree with Alan - there tends to be a nostalgic haze when we look back at the past, and for some reason many people assume "the ancients" knew more about the world than we do now. This is utter tosh - it's some kind of hangover from the formative thinking during the Renaissance, where there was a struggle to get systematic learning and knowledge back on track to Roman levels after derailment during the dark ages and the subsequent religious oppression of the Middle Ages. I think we've probably surpassed the Romans by now.

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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#14 Post by MedMae » November 24th, 2008, 10:48 am

Paolo wrote: There are plenty of examples of medicially useful plant, animal, fungal, etc. derived substances, some of which may have been noticed in the past, however the lack of systematic research in the past has led to the use of some truly bizarre remedies, that are probably more likely to kill the patient than cure the disease.

Even if there are some instances where ancient remedies can work, seperating the effective treatments from the nonsense requires systematic testing if they are to be relied on. Old does not equal good, but it may indicate areas for research.

I agree with Alan - there tends to be a nostalgic haze when we look back at the past, and for some reason many people assume "the ancients" knew more about the world than we do now. This is utter tosh - it's some kind of hangover from the formative thinking during the Renaissance, where there was a struggle to get systematic learning and knowledge back on track to Roman levels after derailment during the dark ages and the subsequent religious oppression of the Middle Ages. I think we've probably surpassed the Romans by now.
But it can be equally said just because it's old doesn't mean it's bad. There is often an over reaction the opposite way among people who recognise the falacy of the old = good principle. Old can also mean it works so we still use it. I agree that it needs to be properly tested (Hence why I posted an article from a peer reviewed scientific journal even though the link isn't worlking at the moment. Grrr Try this one instead) But just because it's old does not mean it is not worth testing. Whilst many of them may turn out to by a load of bullshit, Some of them are not.
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#15 Post by Paolo » November 24th, 2008, 11:19 am

Fair point and one I agree with - I am by no means "anti-old" as I said:
Paolo wrote:Old does not equal good, but it may indicate areas for research.

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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#16 Post by Alan H » November 24th, 2008, 11:21 am

I mentioned the old=good thing because it is used frequently and is used solely to assert that because something is old, it must be good. When used by purveyors of quackery, it is used solely in this sense. I agree entirely with medmae that being old doesn't invalidate it's efficacy! There are many things that have been used for years or centuries that work, but that's not what is being asserted: purveyors of quackery use it with an unstated premise. I think the argument goes:

P1: the treatment has been used for a very long time
P2: a treatment that has been used for a very long time must be effective, or it would not have survived
C1: old=good

P1 may well not be disputed (although some 'remedies' or 'therapies' are not as old as is sometime made out). The argument is a valid argument, but but P2 is a false premise (and is usually unstated). There may be a tendency for P2 to be true in some cases (perhaps willow bark is a good example), but it is still generally unproven.
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There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#17 Post by xman » November 29th, 2008, 2:01 pm

But what is one to do who doesn't liek or wish to support the private medical practice. please remember that not everyone has a choice in this matter. i'm not saying the guy was right. Clearly he was wrong, but 'alternatives' should be available and let's try to make them all viable ones.

Personally, I'd have bathed the wound in salt water several times a day and if the infection worsened, then I'd go to the hospital. One can use a saline solution to speed healing even if there isn't a growing infection. An ex-girlfriend of mine got her nose pierced and developed a boil. Witch hazel did nothing after two weeks. She progressed to salt water and the boil was gone in three days.

Back to alternatives, I had a sore heel for weeks and it was difficult to walk for anything but a short span of time. I went to the Chinese herbal doctor who prescribed some mud for me to drink and my heel was better in no time.

Last summer I had gout, but didn't know it was gout for quite a while. I thought it was some kind of stress fracture until, by chance, I spoke to a dancer about my symptoms. She described her own situation a few years back as identical and suggested that I might be suffering from the same ailment. That night I did a little net research and discovered that gout is a form of arthritis and that cherry extract is sometimes used to relieve symptoms. I hate cherry juice myself, but I went out the next morning and bought a 2L bottle, plugged my nose and downed it in three sessions throughout the next 24hrs. The gout disappeared almost instantly.

Like I say, there has to be room for some truly viable alternatives to drugs at least up to a point. Where Darwin Award Man and I differ is that I'd have gone to the doctor if my viable alternative failed.

X
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#18 Post by Alan H » November 29th, 2008, 5:25 pm

The problem is that if it is viable and can be shown to be viable, it stops being alternative and becomes legitimate.
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2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#19 Post by Alan H » November 30th, 2008, 4:24 pm

xman wrote:Back to alternatives, I had a sore heel for weeks and it was difficult to walk for anything but a short span of time. I went to the Chinese herbal doctor who prescribed some mud for me to drink and my heel was better in no time.
But how do you know that it was the mud that made it better? Perhaps it would have got better anyway?
Where Darwin Award Man and I differ is that I'd have gone to the doctor if my viable alternative failed.
That's OK for something that isn't immediately life threatening, but it's a different matter for something that needs immediate proper medical treatment.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Injured man dies because he shunned conventional medicine.

#20 Post by lewist » November 30th, 2008, 4:44 pm

xman wrote:...who prescribed some mud for me to drink and my heel was better in no time...X
You made it get better, X! After all, if drinking mud had not worked, what would he have prescribed next?
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