As you will know from reading this blog, I am not a great fan of homeopathy even though I understand why so many people buy into this quackery. And it is so easy to poke fun at this medieval nonsense but no one should gloat when an innocent child suffers and dies in appalling circumstances that were entirely preventable. It was with true horror and sadness when I learned of a nine-month old infant, Gloria Sam who died because her father, a homeopathy therapist, had neglected to seek medical treatment and instead decided to treat her himself after she developed severe eczema.
The father of Gloria, Thomas Sam and her mother, Manju were both convicted of criminal negligence and jailed for a minimum of 6 years and 4 years respectively in a New South Wales court. The court heard that if Gloria had been given medical treatment just a week before her death she probably would have survived.
My eldest suffered from infantile eczema and to this day has to endure steriods, creams and light treatment. As an infant she had a terrible time and her case was comparatively mild to what can happen when eczema is untreated.
Thomas and Manju wept in court. I don’t think they were being deliberately cruel. It must have been heart-wrenching to listen to their daughter’s agony. I know as I have seen how babies suffer. I also think this case reveals that homeopath practitioners are not necessarily cynical charlatans peddling snake-oil for profit, but truly deluded individuals who believe that their cures and treatments really work. But sometimes, society has to step in and protect the weak and deluded. In this tragic case, I believe it was both the parents and child who needed intervention.
Thanks to Richard Saunders over at the Skeptic zone for bringing this to my attention.