Killer Homeopath Doesn’t Understand the Streisand Effect

Homeopathy - it's just water

Have you ever noticed how trying to keep something quiet sometimes has the opposite effect? That’s called the Streisand Effect and it is one of the most powerful tools in the modern skeptic’s toolbelt. It’s like trying to put out an electrical fire with water; you only make things worse.

That’s what I hope will happen to Francine Scrayen, an Australian homeopath whose incompetent treatment of a seriously ill patient led to a woman dying a terribly painful, prolonged, and possibly avoidable death.

Dan Buzzard, an Australian skeptic, first wrote about this terrible incident in February 2011  in an article in which he highlighted the findings of a Coroner’s report into the death of Penelope Dingle. Here is a highlight of that report:

In my view the deceased’s rectal cancer was present and causing bleeding and other symptoms from at least 31 October 2001.  During the period 31 October 2001 until at least the end of November 2002, the deceased regularly described the symptoms of her rectal cancer to a homeopath, Francine Scrayen.  It was not until November 2002 that Mrs Scrayen and the deceased discussed the possibility of reporting her rectal bleeding to a medical practitioner and it was not until 5 December 2002 that she first reported those problems to a doctor.

I accept that Mrs Scrayen  believed that the deceased had suffered from haemorrhoids years earlier and the bleeding and pain was “an old symptom coming back”, but a competent health professional would have been alarmed by the developing symptoms and would have strongly advised that appropriate medical investigations be conducted without delay.

Mrs Scrayen was not a competent health professional. I accept that Mrs Scrayen had minimal understanding of relevant health issues, unfortunately that did not prevent her from treating the deceased as a patient.

That is pretty damning. And it turns out that Scrayen is now being sued by the victim’s family as a result of the pain and suffering she caused, not only to Penelope, but to her family as well.

I agree with Dan in his contention that Scrayen should face criminal charges for the death of her patient through her own negligence. She was clearly NOT suitably qualified to deal with Penelope’s illness. What is even worse is that she was too ignorant to realise her own inadequacy in the situation.

Scrayen has now issued Dan with a Cease & Desist notice, demanding that he remove his criticism of her from his blog on the grounds that it is factually incorrect, and that he publish a retraction immediately.

While Scrayen has not faced criminal charges, and she was not the only person influencing Penelope to refuse science-based medicine, the Coroner’s report makes it clear that she bears the greatest burden of responsibility for the failure to seek proper medical care that led to Penelope dying in the way that she did.

And her attempt to gag Dan is absolutely deplorable. Is she still peddling her snake oil to unsuspecting people? Is she still making guarantees of the curative power of homeopathic treatments for potentially fatal illnesses such as fucking rectal cancer? I think we should send her a Cease & Desist notice and demand that she stop being such a callous, ignorant fuck-wit.

If you have any way of spreading the word about this, please do. The only way that we, as skeptics, can put a stop to the concealment of information through bullying is by making it too damn expensive for people to even try it.



15 responses to “Killer Homeopath Doesn’t Understand the Streisand Effect

  1. Pingback: L’homéopathie mène au pire (part I) – Francine Scrayen leads a woman to her death | A Plague of Mice·

  2. Pingback: Francine Scrayen, the litigious liar | A Plague of Mice·

  3. My wife says she’s a big believer in reflexology; but i don’t. Personally I think she just uses it as an excuse to have a good, relaxing foot massage. Of course, i’m sure most people enjoy a relaxing back or foot massage; which can be very relaxing too.

  4. Pingback: L’homéopathie mène au pire (part I) – Francine Scrayen leads a woman to her death » Short & Spiky·

  5. Pingback: Francine Scrayen, the litigious liar » Short & Spiky·

  6. Pingback: When Charlatans Attack! | DaveD's Blog·

  7. Pingback: Bully tactics by Australian Homeopath invites blogging backlash « Fluxosaurus's Blog·

  8. Pingback: What’s the harm? Well, homeopathy can (indirectly) kill you.·

  9. Pingback: Francine Scrayen, the litigious liar « Short and Spiky·

  10. It is very sad indeed to go through a situation like that…
    But the fact is that everyday lots of people die due to conventional medicine and because one homeopath makes a misjudgement he is crucified…I believe he should be held responsible, But lets not use one of the few cases we are able to find in the middle of thousands in order to discredit alternative therapies. Its amazing the quest some people assume to debunk these therapies when they actualy might hold something usefull. Have we forgot the violence of such therapies as lobotomy( wich originated a nobel prize) and chemotherapy (that despite all the suffering inflicted in the patients isnt effective lots of times)?
    Lets build instead of destroy. Lets put things under scrutiny and see if they’re worthwhile.
    And lets not have short memories and not take parties if we aim to achieve some level of truth.

    • Homeopathy has been scrutinized numerous times. It’s been debunked numerous times. The reasoning behind it has been shown to be faulty, and the therapies themselves have been shown to be no more effective than a placebo. Chemotherapy might not always be effective, but homeopathy is never effective.

      Please, don’t take my word for it. Click on the link Liz Ditz provided in the first comment. After that, I recommend the post titled, “The Harm of Homeopathy.” That post, in turn, links to an earlier post by the same blogger (“about a year ago”). In addition to explaining why homeopathy is complete bunk, that blogger linked to evidence. You will also be able to find a lot of evidence via internet searches.

      Homeopathy not only deserves to be discredited, it has been discredited. There are, perhaps, other worthwhile “alternative” therapies. Homeopathy is not one. Homeopathy holds nothing physically useful – it’s only possible use is psychological, but even that could be harmful because it would probably involve allowing the public/patient to believe that homeopathy is physically/medically useful.

  11. Pingback: What I’ve Been Reading: April 5 | amandatheatheist·

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