Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Naturopathy Pseudoscience Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

An as yet unidentified “holistic” practitioner negligently kills a young woman with IV turmeric (yes, intravenous)

Out of southern California, comes a lesson that something as seemingly benign as turmeric can kill when weaponized in the hands of a quack.

It was only just yesterday that I recounted the story of a naturopathic quack in Bowling Green, KY who told a cancer patient that “chemo is for losers,” promising her that he eliminate her tumor within three months. She listened to him, and as a result she died, as she and her husband were suing the quack. Not long after, her distraught widower walked into the quack’s office on a Friday evening earlier this month and, if the police charges are accurate, shot him dead. Basically, because this quack convinced the woman to forego chemotherapy, whatever chance of survival she had was eliminated. The woman’s name was Fikreta Ibrisevic; the quack’s name was Juan Gonzalez; and the name of the widower allegedly turned killer is Omer Ahmetovic.

Ibrisevic died a slow, lingering death from what was in essence untreated cancer, at least until near the end, when, having realized that the treatment wasn’t working, she turned to the conventional treatment that she had rejected. Unfortunately, by that time, it was too late. Some victims of “holistic” or “natural healers,” however, die from the actual treatment. For instance, yesterday I learned of what we in the biz, when we’re in the mood for dark humor, would call a “clean kill.” The victim was a 30 year old woman, and intravenous turmeric killed her:

From the accompanying story:

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) – Friends say Jade Erick was a “free spirit” who was as beautiful on the inside as she was outside. She was also interested in holistic health, but that interest may have contributed to her death at the age of 30.

Erick died after a bad reaction to turmeric, a spice used in Indian food and in dietary supplements, that was dripped directly into her veins through an I-V.

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner the cause of her death was “: anoxic encephalopathy due to prolonged resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to adverse reaction to infused turmeric solution”. A spokesperson confirmed the turmeric was delivered through an IV.

What a horrible outcome! I had never heard of such a reaction before. Sure, I was familiar with turmeric. Indeed, one of its components, curcumin is isolated from turmeric, and curcumin is a natural product that’s being investigated for various medicinal properties, including anticancer properties. There’s been a lot of in vitro research in cell culture performed, and quite a few small, preliminary clinical trials, as search of PubMed will reveal, showing results with varying degrees of promise against certain diseases. Basically, depending on the study, curcumin might have anti-inflammatory properties. It can also induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells and may inhibit angiogenesis (one of my favorite properties). Antithrombotic effects have also been attributed to it, and it appears to be able to decrease the amyloid plaque associated with Alzheimer’s.

Curcumin is not exactly an ideal anticancer drug (or drug for anything, to be honest) because it’s lipophilic (fatty) in nature and has low solubility and stability in aqueous solution. That means it has low bioavailability, and, indeed, that is the single greatest problem with using curcumin as a drug; it’s not absorbed very well when taken orally. On the other hand, animal studies show low toxicity, as would be expected for what is basically a spice, although turmeric fed to mice at high enough doses could cause liver toxicity, and curcumin can cause nausea and diarrhea. Let’s just put it this way, even the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (NCCIH) can’t say definitively that it’s that good for anything. Even for inflammation, the indication for which it’s most commonly used, the evidence is not that great.

Despite the mostly preliminary evidence and the relative unsuitability of turmeric extracts or the more purified curcumin as a drug, in the world of “natural health,” turmeric is advertised as a near wonder-drug. Just out of curiosity, I did some searches on turmeric, and it’s not at all hard to find articles and ads touting curcumin or turmeric as powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, claiming that they can boost brain function, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, treat depression, improve arthritis, lower the risk of heart disease, treat or prevent cancer, and prevent aging. For example, this article claims that turmeric can function as well or better than:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-depressants (Prozac)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anti-coagulants (Aspirin)
  • Pain killers
  • Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
  • Arthritis medications
  • Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
  • Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
  • Steroids

You get the idea. If you believe the “holistic health” clinics, turmeric or curcumin is the wonder drug that works wonders—for practically everything. Jade Erick was using it to treat her eczema.

Now here’s what irritates the crap out of me about this news story is the choice of medical “expert” that the reporter interviewed. Now, if you or I were doing a news story about this very unfortunate young woman who, through a combination of trusting a quack and bad luck, is now in the cold, cold ground, we’d get a real medical expert, like a real physician or a scientist who studies curcumin as a treatment for something or other. Whom does Alison Ashe choose? Another naturopathic quack, who is given far too much screen time:

“It’s a natural, safe way to help people with pain and inflammation,” said Mark Stengler, a naturopathic doctor who offers turmeric to his patients but only in oral form.

Stengler didn’t treat Erick, but said he does know a few Encinitas holistic health practitioners who deliver turmeric intravenously.

“There are some doctors who use Turmeric extract in IV form to try and heighten the physiological effects, so the anti-inflammatory effects of the turmeric,” Stengler explained. “It hasn’t been well studied. It’s more theoretical, so it’s more investigational.”

One wonders if, whoever this “holistic healer” is, he or she was a competitor of Mark Stengler. As I always do, I perused Stengler’s website. It’s a typical naturopath website, complete with lots of dubious BS on health. It also turns out that he’s a bit of a media figure, bragging about his appearances on medical expert on FOX, CBS, and NBC. He also hosts his own weekly TV show Natural Healing with Mark Stengler, which apparently runs on PBS and cable stations. Conflict of interest, much? Naaah. ABC 10 in San Diego would never, ever, ignore such an obvious COI, would it?

I think you already know the answer to that question.

It also burns me that Ash didn’t name the practitioner. I’m guessing that the reason she didn’t is that her station is afraid of a potential lawsuit. She did show a building with an address of 5570. I couldn’t find who it was, and I gave up trying for a while because apparently there are a lot of quacks in southern California with “5570” somewhere on their website, either in the ZIP code or phone number or wherever. Perhaps I am incompetent at this Google thing. Either that, or I just wasn’t willing to invest the amount of time that would be required to find out who treated Ms. Erick. There are a lot of naturopaths and “holistic health” practitioners in Encinitas and southern California. [D’oh! It turns out that that’s the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. No more need to search and speculate in the comments.]

Having been stymied in identifying the specific quack who killed Erick, I looked into intravenous turmeric. Unfortunately there are quacks who are true believers:

Functional Medicine Doctor Brian Davies from Westcoast Integrative Health in North Vancouver, Canada uses intravenous curcumin in combination with intravenous vitamin C (of course with IV vitamin C, because why not?) for patients with chronic health conditions, and in combination with intravenous antioxidant called glutathione (the “master hormone” produced by the human body) for hepatitis C, and liver fibrosis.

Leigh Erin Connealy of Cancer Center for Healing, in Irvine, California, has also claimed to successfully use intravenous curcumin on patients with both rectal cancer and oral cancer:

At Cancer Center for Hope, the cancer clinic where I am medical director, I have used intravenous (IV) curcumin on several patients with very encouraging results. In one instance, for example, I used IV curcumin with a patient I’ll call Debra, who had suffered from a rectal tumor for five years. The tumor extended into her colon, causing a great deal of pain and uncomfortable bowel movements. After just six treatments with intravenous curcumin, her pain dramatically diminished and her bowel movements became more normal. In another case, Richard, a patient with tongue cancer experienced tremendous decrease in the swelling after only one treatment.

Advanced Rejuvenation Institute in Atlanta, Georgia has also been using intravenous turmeric for liver health, inflammation, cancer prevention, and in combination with other cancer treatments.

Ah, yes. Cherry picked anecdotes that don’t really demonstrate anything, the sine qua non of quacks everywhere. Combine that with “make it up as you go along” mixing and matching of intravenous nutrients (like vitamin C) and antioxidants (like glutathione), along with the “natural medicine” du jour, turmeric or the more highly purified curcumin, and you, too, can be at risk for a tragedy such as what happened to Jade Erick. Amusingly “Dr.” Connealy brags that she is the “only doctor in the U.S. currently offering curcumin intravenously” where “the curcumin bypasses the stomach, so 100% of it is absorbed, and it works better and more quickly” and IV dosing “also allows me to give higher doses than could be taken orally.” Of course, the article above shows that Connealy is not the only quack using IV turmeric, but her claim did lead me to wonder if she was the naturopath or “holistic” health practitioner who killed Erick, given that her office is located in southern California. A quick refreshing of my memory of southern California geography told me that it was very unlikely to be Connealy. After all, her Center for New Medicine is located in Irvine, which Google Maps tells me is roughly 60 miles north of Encinitas. Another southern California quack must have stolen her idea. The competition is quite intense there, as I noted above. Either that, or IV turmeric is a new fad that is spreading and we can expect to see more deaths due to what sounds like a hypersensitivity reaction to something in the turmeric solution.

Be that as it may, this case shows three things. First, even something as benign-sounding as turmeric can kill. Indeed, when you administer something intravenously, the risks are magnified because of the very reason Connealy gave, that the dose can be higher. Second, as is usually the case, there are lots of people defending the use of IV turmeric. A perusal of comments after the Facebook entry for this story and this blog post about Erick’s death depressed me enormously.

The third conclusion is the most depressing. Consumer protections, even against complete and utter quacks (which whoever killed Jade Erick is) are depressingly close to nonexistent. Go back to the beginning of this story. The coroner is investigating, and he is concluding that the IV turmeric killed Jade Erick. Yet, as of now, he is calling the death an “accident.” No, it wasn’t. It was negligence. If you administer a treatment that has no good evidence to support it (Not-a-Dr. Stengler says so, which should tell you a lot) for an indication for which it isn’t validated, and your patient is unfortunate enough to have what appears to have been a severe hypersensitivity reaction to your intravenous treatment and dies, you killed her through negligence. My prediction, though, is that nothing will happen to this quack unless the family decides to sue (which they really, really should do), and even then probably nothing will happen to him or her.

These quacks ought to add “007” after their names, because they have a license to kill.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

189 replies on “An as yet unidentified “holistic” practitioner negligently kills a young woman with IV turmeric (yes, intravenous)”

From where do these quacks procure extract of turmeric for IV use and curcumin IV if only one person in the US is offering it? Do they come from some specially-licensed compounding pharmacy or the grubby back room of some herbalist joint? This sounds awfully like use of experimental drugs where the patient would have to consent to “totally unknown” outcome.

There are ophthalmologists in the US who are concerned that diluting, in the OR, PVP-iodine solution with saline to use to prep eyes for cataract surgery might be regarded as compounding outside of an approved compounding pharmacy, yet quacks will administer what is probably completely unstandardized gunk intravenously.

How about:
Holistic Healing Retreat & Spa
5570 Sunset Blvd W, Roseville, CA 95747

“Permanently Closed”

Brian Davies, the “functional medicine doctor” in North Van, is not listed as a licensed physician with the BC College. Of course he is a naturopath.
BTW, does IV turmeric turn you a bright yellow? It certainly makes rice pretty ( and tasty).

Roseville is in Placer County.

The death occurred in San Diego County, about 500 miles south.

OMG. That’s as crazy as IV H2O2, IV megadoses of vitamin C, and whatever else these wackadoodles infuse into their mark’s veins. Poor woman – she only wanted relief from the itching and plaques. Well, she got it, permanently, leaving her family to grieve.

I, too, wish the families would sue these currency vampires for all they can.

The only five-digit zip code in California with the string 5570 in it is 95570, which Google tells me is the zip code for Trinidad, in northern California (almost halfway to Vancouver). Judging from the zip code in Christine’s suggestion above, I’d say Roseville is also in northern California. Of course that string could be the +4 part of the ZIP+4 code, but that’s less likely to be on a website.

The practitioner Orac is looking for is almost certainly in San Diego County (the news story specifies that it’s the San Diego County coroner who is investigating). That lets Ms. Connealy off the hook for this specific case, since Irvine is in Orange County. Unfortunately, San Diego County has four area codes, two of which (619 and 858) are entirely within the county, and two others (442 and 760) which cover a large part of southeastern California, as far north as Mono County. Encenitas turns out to be in the 442/760 part of the county.

D’oh! That’s what I get for searching “5570” and “Encinitas” plus variants of “holistic,” “naturopathy,” etc. 🙂

@ Orac,

You’re a master of deception, while the minions are fixated on locating an address (i.e., 5570) other inquisitive minds
contemplate the following:

For decades the science-based medical community used IV tubing that leached antigens into the IV solution causing Hev-b protein sensitization and even death through anaphylactic shock.

Should science-based physicians be prosecuted for such harm or are they exempt?


We’re all slight hypocrites who fall short of our ideals.
– Gillian Jacobs

Well, since IV tumeric isn’t something you can order from a pharmaceutical company, it has to be a home made preparation.

If it doesn’t dissolve well then well, can anyone say microemboli?

Makes me think she died of a massive PE.

But speaking of IV Vit C, one of my graduates sent me an article published in NPR about an article in Chest. Apparently a physician in Virginia has been using IV Vit C combined with steroids and thiamine to treat sepsis. His patients did so well, researchers got an NIH grant to study it.

It may be just another promising idea that fails to pan out. It certainly doesn’t justify the high dose Vit C quacks promote. But it was interesting.

I know.

We know that curcumin (and turmeric) isn’t very soluble in aqueous solution. That’s a HUGE problem. It’s also why most research is aimed at chemically modifying it to make it more soluble and more bioavailable through the gut and testing those chemically modified variants. We also know the reason that curcumin is not very soluble is because it’s lipophilic, which means that it is like fat and tends to “like” fat. As you say, that makes me wonder if the turmeric solution being used wasn’t really an emulsion, in which the turmeric wasn’t really dissolved, but suspended as small lipophilic droplets. If that’s the case, we would indeed have to worry about emboli.

I learned from Cook’s Illustrated to “bloom” spices in a bit of warm oil to enhance their flavour and aroma as they’re fat soluble, not water soluble.

If anything, this should be negligent homicide … just like the charges for those people who inject industrial silicon into buttocks as an “enhancement”

Readers already figured out that the building shown in the video was the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. 🙂

Sayer Ji is a huge fan of turmeric, writing articles like: “800 Reasons Turmeric Threatens Big Pharma.” I gotta admit, he may have a point. Something that kills people is not in the best interest of pharma companies. Dead people are bad customers.

I knew there was something I wanted to address, even at the risk of being pedantic 😉

There’s nothing negligent about this. Negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable care. There was nothing reasonable about what this quack did.

The crime is manslaughter; she didn’t intend to kill this patient, but she did.

If it’s oil soluble why not mix it in a carrier oil and inject IP (into the gut cavity)? I mean, besides it probably hurts and looks scary.

San Diego may not have the hippie reputation like SF, but it’s got just as many quacks.

@Christine: Narad solved it a ways upthread. The building has nothing to do with the practitioner in question; it’s the office of the San Diego County coroner.

@JustaTech: IIRC Robert O. Young’s “ranch” is in San Diego County. The concentration of quacks may not be as high as in Los Angeles, but there certainly are lots of quacks in San Diego. And why not: the climate is like LA, but more so.

An example of *nearly* perfect timing…

Natural News blogs artcile:
“35 Things you didn’t know that Turmeric could do for your body”
which should be 36, i.e.”kill it”- which they left out of course.

I don’t know…
aren’t QPSM** higher somewhere around MARIN?

** quacks per square mile

I gotta admit, [Ji] may have a point. Something that kills people is not in the best interest of pharma companies. Dead people are bad customers.

Turmeric wouldn’t be that much of a threat to Big Pharma, because they aren’t the ones selling the product. It’s more of a threat to practitioners who do IV turmeric treatments.

There is a chance for some good to come out of this incident. If it persuades people to see real doctors instead of quacks, then Ms. Erick will not have died in vain.

Orac mentioned in the OP that the report did not name the practitioner in question, possibly out of fear of a lawsuit. If criminal charges are a possibility, then that fear is well-founded. They have to wait for the coroner’s report, to see whether he will recommend a criminal investigation of the case. If he doesn’t, and the report had named the practitioner, then that looks to me (IANAL) like a slam-dunk defamation case.

There’s been a lot of in vitro research [on turmeric] in cell culture performed
And an impressive amount of it turns out to be junk, with a lot of influential papers (Aggerwal’s for instance) retracted for made-up data.

aren’t QPSM** higher somewhere around MARIN?

Marin County has a significantly higher population density. San Diego County extends a fair distance inland, into the desert, so it has large areas with few or no inhabitants. Marin County has Muir Woods and Point Reyes, but the rest of the county ranges from exurban to urban.

Orac mentioned in the OP that the report did not name the practitioner in question, possibly out of fear of a lawsuit. If criminal charges are a possibility, then that fear is well-founded. They have to wait for the coroner’s report, to see whether he will recommend a criminal investigation of the case. If he doesn’t, and the report had named the practitioner, then that looks to me (IANAL) like a slam-dunk defamation case.

Simple facts are not defamatory, nor are conclusions based on disclosed facts. Assertions that imply undisclosed facts are where one gets into trouble. A browse around Popehat will hammer this home in short order.

Soy bean oil is a fairly common component of IV medications that are lipid soluble, such as propofol I suspect soy bean oil is far too déclassé for California. Is coconut oil still in vogue? Maybe avocado oil?

Greater San Diego is likely quackier than greater LA. The Orange County airport is named for Ronald “Nancy’s astrologer told me pollution comes from trees” Reagan, and, of course, it’s Bob Sears country. I’m convinced the right wing rank and file are more into quackery than the exp-hippie types, due to the prevalence of the ‘competitive’ variety of magical thinking that predominates there. When the sports talk is boring, I channel surf AM in the car, and will check into the far-right talk radio [KSFO]. There are as many ads for ‘get healthy quick and easy’ scams as for ‘get rich quick and easy’ scams – and unlike web ads, radio ads do reveal what the audience is into and buys. I even heard one the other days touting some ‘natural’ formula as a cure for MS.

As for NoCal, I’d say Sonoma County – just to the Northeast of Marin – is actually significantly more woo-ey…

Off topic but have Lissa Rankin and her books been skeptically criticized anywhere? A cousin of mine has bought into her “teaching” and is now bending spoons with her “mind”.

The Orange County airport is named for Ronald “Nancy’s astrologer told me pollution comes from trees” Reagan

I just checked my recollection of this on Google: the Orange County Airport (SNA) is named after John Wayne. It’s Washington National Airport (DCA) that was named after Reagan–never mind that it was already named after a President. However, calling DCA Reagan in the Washington area reveals you to be one or more of (1) a clueless out-of-towner, (2) a Republican politician (but I repeat myself), or (3) somebody who has to deal with people in the first two categories.

There may be some smaller airport in Orange County that was named after Reagan, but the one that scheduled passenger airlines serve is SNA.

I found Jade Alexandra Erick’s FB page, still there as ‘in memorium’. She worked making subs at Jersy Mike’s and as a barrista at Target. She seems to have used FB mainly only to post photos – didn’t see anything about her medical treatment. But there was this post from 6/16;

Today is Cancer Survivor Day. Can I ask a favor?? Just a few of you will do it, and I know who you possibly are. ❤️????If you know someone who fought a battle against cancer and passed away, or someone who is still struggling, or know a brave survivor ❤️????copy and paste this to your status to show support, respect and love. ❤️????❤️???? #cancersucks

Since tumeric is alleged to have anti-cancer properties, I suspect the report that Erick was using it to treat eczema is not the whole story. I wonder if this was another ‘don’t want chemo’ or even a ‘can’t get chemo because of no coverage’, story as it seems she was working two low wages part-time jobs…

We may see a lot more tumeric IVs under whatever the GOP winds up with ‘replace’ the ACA.



You’re right. It’s just John Wayne, there isn’t another one named after Ronnie. I was having a senior moment.

Don’t forget that San Diego also Robert O. Young territory, he of the “pH Miracle Living” quackery. His Rancho del Sol, an avocado and grapefruit ranch that he turned into a quack retreat called the pH Miracle Center, is located in Valley Center, which is in northern San Diego County. It was where desperate patients with cancer and other serious diseases used to go to pay him large sums of money to seek healing from his “pH Miracle” lifestyle and diet; that is, before he was convicted of fraud and practicing medicine without a license (IIRC).

One off the wall reason is that this holistic person is really an alien with an Asian copy of How to Serve Man.

If turmeric works so well, why not use ghost pepper juice; at least you’ll have a hot exit.

I grieve for the stupidity/ignorance of so many people. Robert Heinlein stated stupidity/ignorance is its own death penalty.

Turmeric is for curry, not for mainlining

And for art. Anish Kapoor used to use it in his early sculptures (back when he was still funny).

“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.” Robert A. Heinlein.

Said stupidity often being preceded by the words, “Hold my beer.”

As for defamation, Narad hit the nail on the head. Reporters report deaths and circumstances of death, and the connection to persons who may be involved with those deaths all the time.

Usually the word “allegedly” is involved somewhere. You can say Fraud McQuackster, naturopathic doctor, allegedly adminstered IV turmeric to Ima Deadguy as a treatment for Ms. Deadguy’s eczema. Ms. Deadguy died on X date at Y hospital, an autopsy is pending.

Thanks Panacea for giving Heinlein’s actual quote. Mine was to simplistic.

The unfortunate problem is that so much stupid is surviving today.

Robert Heinlein stated stupidity/ignorance is its own death penalty.

And the barrel of “Social Darwinism” is repugnant from stinking top to slime-covered bottom, so there’s that, too.

Heinlein is one of my favorite authors. I don’t agree with his libertarian worldview, but he does know how to spin a yarn.

And yeah, it is so painful listening to the stupid today. A direct consequence of the dismantling of public education, in my view.

And for other sad ventures into pseudo-medicine,
last Saturday 56-year-old Yu-Ping Xie died in San Francisco after ingesting a “medicinal tea” allegedly prescribed for her by the owner of the Sun Wing Wo Trading Company, a shop in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a man in his 30s was hospitalized in a separate incident after apparently ingesting teas from the same herbalist, but he has since recovered. The cause is believed to be aconite in both teas, but the medical examiner has yet to determine the official cause of death for Ms. Xie.

Soy bean oil is a fairly common component of IV medications that are lipid soluble, such as propofol

<vinu>If only someone had checked what Michael Jackson ate the day he died, the Truth would be Known.<vinu>

I suspect soy bean oil is far too déclassé for California. Is coconut oil still in vogue?

The local grocery store just began stocking around six different varieties, two of them Crisco branded and the others fancier. Oh, and jarred tallow, duck fat, and “Berkshire” lard (not labeled as leaf lard, mind you). Might have to do with the establishment of a pretty crappy Whole Foods nearby, but their stocking isn’t particularly coherent in general.

“It’s more investigational” – grrr. There is a big difference between investigating potential treatments and throwing sh!t at a wall to see what sticks.

Heinlein is one of my favorite authors. I don’t agree with his libertarian worldview, but he does know how to spin a yarn.

I pretty much started and ended with Have Space Suit, Will Travel, which remains one of my favorite bits of juvenalia. Beats the pants off of A Wrinkle in Time, with which it shares some late plot similarities, IIRC & IMNSHO.

One of my favorite RAH books is not seen often and is a transition between juvenal and later works: Glory Road.

Oh, but, “spicy tastiness”? This has come up more than once (e.g., here, but there’s another food digression around somewhere).

I know since his death, Heinlein has come to be portrayed as some kind of extreme right-winger. I can only say that if there’s one outside influence in my formative years that’s responsible for turning me into the raging lefty I am, it would be him.

I think there’s a great deal f confusion about the term “libertarian”. Nowadays, with a capital “L”, it means “So far off the political spectrum to the right as to be in an alternate universe”. In my day (and Heinlein’s) it just meant “anti-authoritarian”, which I certainly am….

(Don’t read anything after The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Everything he wrote after his stroke is just embarrassing. There’s even a term: “Heinlein Syndrome”. It means “Getting anything published even though no one would ever imagine it to be of publishable quality without that name attached to it”.)

Very good point. Starship Troopers is an excellent book but a horrible movie.

A good example of RAH not being a capital L libertarian is in Tunnel in the Sky after the first leader dies from the stoat attack and the hero of the takes over but demands that the laws that had been put in place remain place.

Actually, Starship Troopers is a great movie made from a so-so book. The movie was basically an excellent satire of fascism disguised as an SF action flick about a war with an insect race. I didn’t get that as well as I should have first time I saw it, but with subsequent viewings I’ve come to appreciate what a subversive masterpiece the movie is, with war movie stereotypes fodder for some wicked satire.

In contrast, the book was often tendentious (particularly the classroom chapters) and, for a book about starship troopers, surprisingly kind of dull. It was probably the most disappointing novel I’ve read that won a Hugo Award, and I expected a lot more from Heinlein.

@ Rich Bly:

Remember Starship Troopers was from 1959. Everybody was feeling a frisson of “Well, aren’t I open-minded!” following the experiences of a hero with a Hispanic name. Imagine their shock to learn, only on the last page, that he’s a…gasp!…Filipino!


I think my biggest disagreement with movie compared to the book is that the book is about the growth and coming of age of a young man vs. the movie as you state is more satire. But also, the movie uses such bad science you would think it is coming from trump’s mouth.

So when is that fluorescent yellow hot dog mustard going to start having all kinds of “studies show…” on their ads? It has no other selling points.

Just goes to show that tastes vary. I love Heinlein’s later books. Number of the Beast and To Sail Beyond the Sunset are two of my all time favorite books. I like his early stuff, too. I don’t always agree with him and sometimes he pisses me off, but his point of view is always very clear and well thought out, and it always makes me think.

Starship Troopers the novel is about why military service matters, and what it means to be a good citizen. It is very much a philosophical story, very unlike the “juveniles” that came before it (Citizen of the Galaxy was my first Heinlein title and it remains a favorite). That’s why it won a Hugo, and why some modern readers have trouble relating to it. Remember, Heinlein was a graduate of the Naval Academy. He retired on medical disability.

I actually like his later works quite well. Stranger in a Strange Land is bizarre beyond words, but entertaining. To Sail Beyond the Sunset is a favorite title, but my real favorite character is Pixel. Job a Comedy of Justice is the only book that I just did not like.

‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ is one of my favourite books full stop, I have gifted it to so many people. It helped shape the way I think, though I did read it at a time when I was really exploring my own psychology and interested in, um, expanding my consciousness. I have read only a couple of his other works as I am not broadly a fan of science fiction.

For context (and FWIW) my other favourite books include 1984, Grapes of Wrath, and most anything by Aldous Huxley.

Oh, Stranger in a Strange Land was a life-altering experience at the time….

His first novel after his stroke was I Will Fear no Evil, which was horrifyingly bad.

Jeebus, Narad, I was afraid I’d conjure V hisself.

On sober* reflection, it is clear to me that turmeric should be extracted with ghee for IV use.

*why am I sober? Perhaps I should mount shanks mare and hie to the emporium for a couple cans of Big Rock Scottish Heavy

I love Heinlein’s later books.
“Friday” has characters in New Zealand talking about the two main landmasses as “North Island” and “South Island”, when in fact they ALWAYS have the definite article. That led me to suspect Heinlein’s veracity.
Unless you are from the Sth Island, in which case the alternative titles are “Pig Island” and “the Mainland” respectively.

Heinlein did visit New Zealand at least once during his life, when he and his wife Virginia took a round the world trip by boat (before cruise ships were a thing). He wasn’t impressed with some aspects of the government and society (socialism). He wrote about it in Tramp Royale.

Just wanted to point out that the options for classification of manner of death by a medical examiner are natural, accidental, homicide, suicide, and undetermined. These classifiers are for death reporting, and do not necessarily correspond to what may be found by a court. For example, an accidental death might still be tried as a criminal or civil case. A death in self defense might still be classified as homicide. I despise woo as much as the next person, but I don’t think “accidental” is necessarily inappropriate here in a strictly medicolegal sense.

I’m very willing to bet it was Dr. Amanda Ward’s Clinic or her staff at Bloom Natural Health. She was part of a big scam down in San Diego a few years ago with her scumbag live-in boyfriend of @10 year, Chris Cozzie/Cozzi ( He was a felon and @25 years older than her (can you say golddigger). She was the “medical director” for his scam business and he (quite illegally) owned her medical practice ( He’d been running scams, setting up shell corporations and getting sued for years, until the FBI caught up with him when he scammed a bunch of people out of about $500k ( Somehow, all the money disappeared, but at just the same time, Dr. Ward ended up with a beautiful new clinic, “Bloom Natural Health”, with well over $100k in new medical equipment that just appeared out of thin air (the staff was asked not to ask any questions) and a beautiful new house. Not bad for a new ND barely out of school where incomes are usually about $50k – and she ain’t no rocket scientist either. In my opinion, her practice is just built on dirty, laundered money. I could go on, but won’t, and if you want to read more about her ethics, just read the complaint from the State of California about how she was running her practice ( Dangerous! She’s a shallow human being too, because after Mr. Cozzie was convicted and sentenced and diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, she dumped him. Nice, eh? Despite the tone of this blog, most NDs are wonder human beings who do wonderful work. Dr. Ward is the exception to the rule.

Orac is a hypocrite.

The FDA says, if you can eat it, you can inject it.

“Sugars, amino acids and proteins are not unique to vaccines and are encountered in everyday life in the diet and are components that are in the body naturally.”

The FDA’s food protein contaminated vaccines, maim people by causing allergies, asthma, autism and murders them with anaphylaxis (the same hypersensitivity reaction that Orac speculates killed Jade Erick).

Medical muddles that maim our children with allergies, asthma and autism

Orac thinks food protein contaminated vaccines are the pinnacles of medical success.

So, how can he blame this quack? The quack was performing the same quackery as the FDA, — injecting food.

Orac and “Consumer protections”? What about consumer protection for victims of FDA quackery (vaccines)?

The vaccine court is a quack court that ignores science just like the FDA.

Orac: “nothing will happen to this quack unless the family decides to sue”

Yes, and nothing will happen to the horribly contaminated unsafe vaccines, unless the victims are allowed to sue the vaccine makers.

“Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.” Robert A. Heinlein.

We are all stupid in our different ways, about different subjects, and the universe executes us all, so to that rather trivial extent Heinlein was righ…, but I don’t know if there is a strong correlation between speed of execution and location on the dumbness continuum.

But I’ll bet her blood tasted just AWESOME…
Especially if she was injecting cumin, too.
Type O-positive Curry Biryani, stat!
What, too soon?

I’m a naturopath in Australia (Bachelor of Health Science) and doing Masters of Nursing. We primarily work as nutritionists and utilise evidence based herbal medicine. I have never in my life heard of using any component of turmeric in an IV solution. That is disturbing.

“The unfortunate problem is that so much stupid is surviving today.”

Not just surviving, but elected to very high offices, where it is able to impose its will on hundreds of millions — indeed, billions — of not-stupid people.

I read a bunch of Heinlein when I was a younger man. Some of it ages well: my favorite of his novels is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Stranger in a Strange Land also holds up well. But I have largely outgrown Heinlein’s philosophy. Starship Troopers, the novel (I’ve never seen the movie), always struck me as a propaganda tract: the point is to get you to agree with Heinlein’s opinion on the subject, whether or not you actually do (I don’t). And Heinlein has admitted that much: he wrote it in the late 1950s, in part due to his frustration about American politicians not agreeing with him about the seriousness of the Soviet/Communist threat, on which topic he was about as far right as the John Birch Society.

Johannes:Not just surviving, but elected to very high offices, where it is able to impose its will on hundreds of millions — indeed, billions — of not-stupid people.

I think you’re overestimating the number of smart people. There’s no way smart people number in even the thousands. The simple fact is, most people want to be stupid, evil, heartless, and to destroy everything. (Much like the guy you reference in your moniker.)

Heck, out of the millions in America only one person in a hundred wants national parks, art, other people to have food, or even clean air.

@Uromastx: I’ll agree with that. I get civil lawsuits all the time where the coroner has ruled the death natural or accidental. It doesn’t matter if the death is natural if the circumstances leading to that death involve medical or nursing malpractice.

@vinu: I was wondering when you’d put in your half cent.

You have badly mischaracterized what the FDA has said. They did NOT say “if you can eat it you can inject it.” They said that the sugars, amino acids and proteins used in vaccines are not harmful in the form that they are injected. Since the body is used to metabolizing them, that’s what happens to them.

You do understand, I hope, that there is a world of difference between injecting a protein and literally injecting food. Injecting proteins for nutritional purposes actually has a long, well studied medical history: it’s called Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN), and it is the solution of choice for patients who have high metabolic needs and/or cannot take in food via the GI tract or one reason or another. Burn patients come to mind.

Injecting a literal spice used to flavor food with no clinical evidence it does anything is not the equivalent of TPN. If the substance is not produced in such a way where it remains dissolved in solution then it will activate platelets and hence the coagulation cascade. This can happen at a microscopic level, but these emboli can clog capillary beds anywhere in the body. When they do so in the circulatory system of the lungs we call that a Pulmonary Embolus, and it’s life threatening. Fatty emboli can do the exact same thing, and the turmeric in question is full of fatty lipoprotiens. Hence my early comment on PE’s.

Our vaccines are not contaminated and have a decades long safety record. You cannot compare what this quack did with the record on vaccination.

HDB: A Darwin Award aside, it does seem like the colossally stupid do somehow manage to beat the odds of survival. I attribute that to the structures of modern civlization created by smart people, that protect everyone from the consequences of most stupidity and also bad luck. Hence, seat belt laws, vaccination requirements for school, Social Security, Medicare, and so on.

Johannes: yes. Too soon.

“They said that the sugars, amino acids and proteins used in vaccines are not harmful in the form that they are injected. Since the body is used to metabolizing them, that’s what happens to them. ”

Relevant citations please.

@PGP: I’ve warned you about this before: your Eeyore act is getting thin. Sure, things are bad, but they aren’t nearly as bad as you claim. If you actually do live in a place where only 1% of the population favor clean air, you need to move somewhere that has a less toxic political environment, because I can assure you that the actual percentage in this country that favor clean air is much larger than that.

Other survival tips:
1. Never, ever, read the comments on news sites. Trolls live under those bridges.
2. Pay no attention to TV news–it’s toxic and conveys negative amounts of information. I don’t just mean Fox News; CNN and MSNBC are almost as bad.
3. Go interact with people in meat space once in a while. Only a small minority of them are toxic, and most of the time it’s easy to avoid the ones who are.

Sad that the author takes so much pleasure out of this terrible event.

Not all naturopathic doctors believe in or offer IV therapy.

Don’t assume and drop the glee surrounding this tragedy.

Its very interesting all of you hating on holistic health and assuming truths that you have no idea about the real details of the situation. This article is written solely on personal belief none which are facts and yet because they use the word Science you all believe it. I love how Western Doctors kill people every day due to neglect and yet you still put your faith in them, but one person dies to holistic health and you call them a quack! I work In Naturopathic Medicine and we say those of you who are non-believers will at some point a year or years from now will be in our clinics after you have been dragged thru the Western Medicine idea of healing which is filling your body up with tons of toxic pharmaceuticals.

I have personally been witness to the many benefits of carcumuniods….One of which was a close friend.who had stage four pancreatic I cancer…This person had no appetite..Could barley eàt.or even​ hold down food…Pale.. Extremely weak..And had large visible swlling….. Week​ one color back… Appetite returned..abe to hold down​ food.. Energy returned .. Week 3o visible signs of swelling… Appeared to be in normal health…… Again I’m not making claims or any diagnosis ..Or medical claims ..Just what I’ve experienced and been witness to ..And this was not the only case just one of several .. Personal experiencs with cancer……Same with arthritis both kinds… Due to said . Antiviral properties .Along with antinflamtory …..8-9 poeple I know all swear by it…I’ve seen a close friend of mine who had persistent gout in his hand for about a year…None of the medications offered to him seemed to help…One dose of tumeric that evening…Swelling half way down the next morning….Day two and four more doses.swelling completely gone …No pain…..Now you can claim that there’s no proof…At some point it becomes hard to ignore results… Repeated rdemomstratable results becomes proof beyond mere coincidence or plecebo…But as believer in carcumuniods..ither are a good amount of studies being done….By credible researchs…..Im not aware of any by the Front the FDA…If that’s the only marker you accept.How ever we know that e body has a hard time absorbing and utilizing..The active components…But can be increased dramatically by taking with fats….Olive oil… Grapeseed oil or others.. Flaxseed…Or b..Pepper…I’ve been witness to terrific results orally….Bieng fat soluble..It’s a very disconcerting to me to be itraducing it intravenously…Not only that completely unnecessary.. Almost like a marketing ploy…. Completely irresponsible from what I understand …Too much stimulates interferon production verry high in large doses….Causing irriblilitiy depression….While in lower doses can benefit depression….So my point is that using the word quack as a blanket statement about N.D.s… Other .. Alternative Health providers… Herbalists​…..Is also irresponsible…
. Just as not every M.D….Is a good MAD……In fact there are many terrible ones out there weather working on the fringes of medicine……Jails… Treatment program’s . Regardless….Just as in the medical field there are horrible​ horrific mistakes….incompetency to be found in and among both…. Even with all the safeguards oversight. Incompetency continues to proliferate..It seems in all walks of life in ever feild….It’s horrible what happened to the person that this happened too…. Absolutely….. However don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater….And let me make it clear that I agree that there may be a bigger problem with this in alternative medicine…It opens the door of opportunity for those who prey on the sick….But there are people doing wonderful work and research amidst all of this….One or several hotter stories… Doesn’t discredit anything…..But undermines credibility…… Terrible for everyone…….

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