Nicholas Gonzalez: The latest victim of the pharma assassins?

The conspiracy deepens.

What conspiracy? You ask. Haven’t you heard? Big pharma is out killing alternative medicine doctors! Or at least that’s what you’ll be told if you venture towards the deep dark underbelly of quack websites. Up until now, the most prominent “victim” was autism quack, Jeff Bradstreet, who, according to police, committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest in the woods of North Carolina but who, according to antivaccine advocates and “autism biomed” quacks, must have been assassinated by a big pharma black ops team. Or something. After all, as we know, the FDA had raided his clinic the day before, and it looked as though his empire of alternative medical autism treatments was about to fall. He might even have been facing jail time. As much as I feel for his family (suicide truly sucks), when it comes to Jeff Bradstreet, the main thing that saddens me about his suicide is that he will never face justice now.

But Bradstreet is not alone. If you listen to über-quack Joe Mercola’s significant other, Erin Elizabeth over at HealthNutNews.com, you’ll find that there have been at least five alternative health practitioners who have died recently, allegedly under suspicious circumstances, and that there are five more missing. The most recent “casualty” of this big pharma black ops is Baron Holt, a 33 year old chiropractor, who died suddenly on Father’s Day. Naturally, Elizabeth is “terrified” for Joe Mercola’s safety. Who wouldn’t be?

Then, just a couple of days ago, a doctor who has been featured on this blog on multiple occasions for his cancer quackery, Nicholas Gonzalez, died suddenly on July 21. The news was announced first the day after his death by Ty Bollinger, someone whom I really need to do a post on some day given his promotion of bogus cancer cures:

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write this memorial tribute for one of the greatest medical doctors of all time.

The world has lost a true hero….

Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, a prominent alternative cancer doctor, died last night of an apparent heart attack at his home in New York City. Dr. Gonzalez was probably the world’s foremost expert on cancer, often recommended by other alternative doctors as the “go-to doctor” with the best results for supposedly “terminal” cancers like pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Nick was my friend. He loved helping people with cancer. He loved sharing his knowledge about how to treat cancer; and he loved talking about God and discussing Biblical topics as well as politics and current affairs.
After we became friends last year, he sent me several books, including a Companion Bible. We shared the same Christian faith, the same distrust of the “mainstream media,” and the same desire to spread the truth about cancer.

My condolences go to the family and, yes, even to Ty Bollinger. The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one is always devastating. However, it is inaccurate to characterize Nicholas Gonzalez as a “pioneer” in anything medical, other than cancer quackery. As you might recall, Gonzalez was best known for his claim that he could treat advanced pancreatic cancer (and a lot of other incurable malignancies) with a regimen that strongly resembled the Gerson protocol and, more closely, the variant of the Gerson protocol advocated by William Kelley.

Basically, like the Kelley protocol, the Gonzalez protocol was based on a belief in “detoxification” as a cure for cancer and the cause of cancer being a deficiency in pancreatic enzymes. Like the Kelley and Gerson protocols, the Gonzalez protocol involved frequent coffee enemas, which he rationalized as causing the smooth muscle in the bile ducts to relax, thus allowing “toxins”—isn’t it always “toxins”—into the small intestine through the common bile duct. Also, like the Gerson and Kelley protocols, the Gonzalez protocol involved taking lots of supplements and pancreatic enzyme capsules, up to 150 pills a day, as well as a vegetarian diet. Where the Gonzalez protocol differed from the Kelley protocol is that Gonzalez dispensed with the spiritual components and the neurologic “stimulation” advocated by Kelley. Also, Gonzalez would perform hair analysis and determine from that the patients’ “nutritional, mineral, and biochemical patterns and clinical status.” Based on this, he would determine a “hair analysis CT test score” and taylor the patient’s diet of “all-natural poison-free food” to prevent new tissue intoxication and to reestablish the body’s balance. Like Gerson and Kelley, Gonzalez claimed miraculous cures of advanced cancer and much better survival rates than anything conventional oncology could claim.

The main reason that Gonzalez became famous outside of alternative health circles is that he was one of the cancer quacks who craved legitimacy, like Stanislaw Burzynski. He actually published a case series in 1999 comparing eleven patients with advanced pancreatic cancer treated with his protocol with historical controls and concluding that his patients did much better. This tiny, poorly designed single arm case series was riddled with selection bias, questions about the correctness of diagnoses in several patients, and numerous other deficiencies that called into doubt the promising results reported. In spite of these problems, the NCI funded a randomized trial of the Gonzalez protocol to the tune of $1.4 million. The trial ran into trouble immediately with randomization, clinical trial ethics, and a lot of other issues. When the results were finally published in 2009, it was a disaster for Gonzalez. Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer treated with the Gonzalez protocol did significantly worse than those treated with conventional chemotherapy, a result that led me to characterize the protocol as worse than useless. Gonzalez’s only response was a litany of disingenuous complaints, the pharma shill gambit, and special pleading. He remained a believer and even said after Steve Jobs’ death that “if only he had come to see me first” he might have lived.

Gonzalez was at least as high profile as Jeff Bradstreet, just in a different area of alternative medicine, but his death is clearly way less suspicious than that of Bradstreet. Of course, Bradstreet’s suicide doesn’t appear that suspicious to anyone but conspiracy cranks, either, but what’s so unusual about a guy in his late 60s dying of a sudden cardiac arrest? Sadly, nothing. It’s an all too common cause of death. None of this stops everybody’s favorite alt-med conspiracy wonk, Mike Adams, from speculating (while claiming he’s not speculating, of course!) about a conspiracy:

With respect to Dr. Gonzalez and those close to him, there are certain details of his passing which shall remain private. The things we believe are appropriate to share publicly include these facts:

  • He passed away alone, and his body was discovered some time after his passing.
  • An autopsy has not yet been performed. We are not aware of whether an autopsy is being requested.
  • Everyone close to him is shocked of his passing, knowing that he was in excellent health.

There is currently no evidence of foul play in his death. I am aware that a number of people are reporting on what appears to be a sudden wave of seemingly mysterious deaths among alternative medicine doctors and industry pioneers. There will no doubt be a tremendous amount of speculation that asks whether Dr. Gonzalez has somehow been deliberately killed. Such speculation is entirely premature, as none of us are aware of any facts which would support such a notion at this time.

We can’t rule it out, but there is presently no evidence that foul play is to blame here.

Out of respect for the partners, family members and close friends of Dr. Gonzalez who are devastated by this tragic loss of such an extraordinary human being, I am personally asking the natural health community to allow these people the time and space to grieve this devastating loss without the interference of trying to deal with “assassination theories” and similar discussions.

In other words, give it a few days, and Adams will be spewing conspiracy theories about assassination, even though it appears pretty clear that Gonzalez was just unfortunate enough to die alone of a sudden cardiac arrest. Indeed, Adams makes it explicit by following up the passage above with, “There will be an appropriate time for that analysis, and I will be personally involved in the investigation.”

I can hardly wait.

His readers, however, can’t wait. Just scroll through the comments, and you’ll find speculation about the neuromuscular blocker succinylcholine as a way to mimic a heart attack, while another mentions that the CIA “has admitted they have a frozen dart that will put someone in cardiac arrest.” There is also considerable consternation expressed over Gonzalez dying suddenly even though he was claimed to be in perfect health. Unfortunately, sometimes ventricular fibrillation or another fatal arrhythmia is the first manifestation of heart disease.

So, I guess Gonzalez is number 6.

I’m sure Erin Elizabeth will soon be adding him to her list, along with Baron Holt, who she notes, quoting an account of his death, “had been struggling with recent health issues, none were thought to be life threatening by loved ones.” Sadly, families are frequently wrong in their assessments of these things.

So, according to Elizabeth, here’s the toll thus far, not counting Nicholas Gonzalez:

  1. June 19th, 2015 – Dr Bradstreet, formerly of Florida, now practicing in Georgia was found with a gunshot wound to his chest in a river.
  2. June 21st, 2015 – Father’s Day: We have two dead chiropractors, Dr. Baron Holt and Dr. Bruce Hedendal (both reported to be fathers), in Florida; both found on the East Coast, both were presumably healthy, and both were described as very fit. We still have no cause of death listed in the articles we can find on either one. A few people have contacted me about Dr. Hedendal, 67, but admit that they were surprised by his death and still find it shocking.
  3. June 29th, 2015 – The beloved holistic Theresa Sievers MD was found murdered in her home. Also, On this very same day, June 29th, Jeffrey Whiteside MD a pulmonologist went missing , vanishing when he simply “walked away” . On the same day, Dr. Whiteside, known for his successful treatment of lung cancer, disappeared in Door County, Wisconsin, while vacationing with family.
  4. July 3rd, 2015Dr. Patrick Fitzpatrick MD goes missing.
  5. July 1oth, 2015 – Lisa Riley DO (Doctor of Osteopathic medicine) is found in her home with a gunshot wound to her head.

If you want to get an idea of just how far Elizabeth is reaching, check this out:

Interestingly, Dr. Holt (33), lived in North Carolina; which is the state where Dr. Bradstreet’s body (the first doctor to be found) was discovered two days prior. Dr. Holt was visiting Jacksonville, Florida, though, when he died there. Dr. Bradstreet (see story #1) was living in Georgia, at the time of his death; and before that, he lived in the neighboring state of Florida.

And there were a lot of coincidences between John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, too! I mean, seriously, those “coincidences” that Elizabeth dredges up are pretty pathetic. Even the birthday problem is more convincing. I wonder how hard she had to look to find them.

Here’s the problem. There are currently approximately 320 million people living in the US. When you look at large numbers with a conspiratorial eye, you can always find small series individual cases of people belonging to a group (alternative medicine practitioners, for instance) who appear to share some trait in common if that trait is defined vaguely enough. For instance, there are approximately 60,000 chiropractors and close to a million physicians in the US, some proportion of the latter being into alternative medicine, and the most that the alt med conspiracy mongers can come up with are three violent deaths (Drs. Bradstreet, Theresa Sievers, and Lisa Riley) and two—now three—deaths from what are almost certainly natural causes in a month. That’s not very many, and very prone to the clustering illusion. One thing for sure, now that cranks like Erin Elizabeth have latched on to this conspiracy theory they’ll never let it go.

It would be entertaining if it didn’t serve their paranoid narrative so well.