Lately it’s been out-of-stater Meryl Dorey grabbing the attention with AltMed woo-woo in Perth, but let’s not forget that we’ve got a lot of woo-sters of our own.
Peter Dingle is not a medical doctor, but he gives medical advice on his blog. He’s come out against cholesterol-treating drugs. He finds the time to spread uncertainty about vaccines. The stuff he writes isn’t always wrong, but it’s a worry that he tends to cherry-pick scientific reports that confirm his views about natural health, all presented in an authoritative-sounding package. People think he knows something.
Sadly, his wife Penelope Dingle died of rectal cancer, which is treatable if caught early enough. What did the Dingles use to treat it? Homeopathy.
The State Coroner is investigating the death of a Perth woman who died of cancer after refusing traditional medical treatment in favour of alternative therapies.
Penelope Dingle died of bowel cancer in 2005.
In 2007, her family approached the coroner’s court to investigate her death.
The inquest has been told Mrs Dingle was being treated by a homeopath when she developed symptoms from bowel cancer.
Counsel assisting the coroner told the court her condition was not diagnosed until two years later at which point her homeopath told Mrs Dingle her cancer could be cured with alternative therapies.
Mrs Dingle then refused treatment from doctors who told her she had a reasonable chance of recovery if she underwent chemotherapy and an operation.
And Peter Dingle’s role in this? He wanted to write a book.
Ms Brown told the inquest that Jennifer Kornberger, a friend of Penelope’s, told her that Ms Scrayen, Penelope and Peter had made “a pact” that if treatment with homeopathy together with his regimen of anti-oxidants, vitamins and protein drinks was successful, he would write a book.
If I’d been through what Peter Dingle has been through, there’s no way in hell I’d be blithely offering up medical advice, especially with no medical qualifications. Why does he think he has any credibility?
There’s a bright side to this sad story. This time, they didn’t kill a child like usual. Penelope Dingle’s death was terrible, but at least she was an adult who made her own choices. She could have had access to good information if she had wanted it, especially with a supposedly scientifically-minded husband.
The other good thing: One less book about alternative medicine.