A real death by homeopathy

For those who argue that homeopathy is harmless, here’s a story that shows what can happen when faith in quackery results in parents eschewing effective evdience-based medicine:

NINE-MONTH-OLD Gloria Thomas was in such distress that her crying alarmed some passengers on a plane trip from India to Sydney.

She had been overseas for two months receiving medical treatment, and homeopathic medication from an uncle for severe eczema.

But in that time she missed two appointments which separate doctors had made for her at specialist dermatologists.

In May 2002, less than 10 days after her return, she was admitted to the Children’s Hospital at Randwick severely malnourished and with infections to the skin and eyes.

She had died within three days of sepsis (bacterial infections) which had caused bleeding in her lungs and airways.

The reason for the baby’s death:

Her father, Thomas Sam, who practised and taught homeopathy, had applied homeopathic remedies to try to cure Gloria’s eczema since she was diagnosed with it when aged about four months, he said.

The inquest, which will examine the role of nutrition in her death, will also examine the actions of her father and mother, Manju Samuel, and advice they received from doctors and homeopaths. Mr Hoy said the inquest would reveal if homeopathy should be better regulated or scrutinised.

A forensic pathologist, Ella Sugo, told the court a micro-organism which was commonly found in broken skin, was isolated in Gloria’s blood, urine, skin and eyes. She had abnormally pale skin and hair. Dr Sugo found her immune system was weakened. Her thymus gland, a part of the immune system, had shrunk after originally being in good condition.

So much for homeopathy “strengthening the immune system.”

Although it’s possible that modern medicine might have been able to prevent this death, one thing’s for sure: Treating the baby with water, which is all that homeopathic remedies really are, rather than effective medicine certainly didn’t make it more likely that this baby would survive. Worse, the baby almost certainly suffered far more than she should have.