Download Lectures on Biostatistics (1971).
Corrected and searchable version of Google books edition

Download review of Lectures on Biostatistics (THES, 1973).

Latest Tweets

Jump to follow-up

Latest from ABC News (Australia)

Parents guilty of eczema baby manslaughter

There have been emotional scenes at a Sydney court where a homeopath and his wife were found guilty of the manslaughter of their baby daughter.

Thomas Sam and his wife Manju Sam were convicted over the death of their nine-month-old Gloria.

Thomas Sams
Thomas and Manju Sam leave the NSW Supreme Court (AAP: Paul Miller, file photo)

The baby girl had severe eczema and died of septicemia in 2002.

After a four-week trial the Supreme Court jury took less than two days to reach its decision.

The Crown argued the couple did not seek conventional medical treatment for their child, instead treating her with homeopathic drops.

The defence argued the couple were not warned about how sick the child was by medical staff who examined her.

Thomas and Manju Sam sat in the dock with their arms around each other, crying as the verdict was read out.

Thomas Sam’s brother, who was in the public gallery, collapsed sobbing and was taken outside.

Both were granted bail with strict conditions ahead of their sentencing hearing.

How many times does one have to say it. Sugar pills can kill.

They kill when give given to prevent malaria

They kill when given to treat AIDS

Young scientists have condemned it. Their excellent efforts were reported in The Guardian and in the Times). Anyone with half a brain condemns it.

Most homeopaths I’ve met are genuine people who really believe their own fairy tales. Is being genuinely deluded absolve you from blame? Not in Australia, it seems.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

12 Responses to Bogus therapy for real diseases: more homeopathic killing

  • The other guise where “does being genuinely deluded absolve you from blame?” turns up in a medical context is, of course, religion. See e.g. here.

    The view of the courts has usually been that genuine delusion, religious or otherwise, does not excuse neglect of your parental duty of care. Or “your duty as a parent not to be a total *!*ing idiot”, if you prefer.

  • This is just terribly sad and I’m sure the Supreme Court Jury got no satisfaction at all from having to convict parents of the manslaughter of their child. Conditions like eczema are often thought of as mild and self-limiting (as in many cases it is) but if not properly diagnosed and cared for can be very nasty indeed. This BBC report tells of a child who also developed septicaemia after homeopathic eczema treatment but fortunately he survived and got the medical expert help he needed.

  • Yes, I had a student who nearly got blood poisoning from badly infected eczema. Luckily the GP spotted it, got it sorted and referred the student on, including to a specialist eczema clinic that sorted out their eczema self-management.

    I shudder to think what would have happened if they had seen a homeopath.

  • Many homoeopaths are genuine people, certainly; but I’ve met several who were more than a little drunk on their perceived power as healers, and the status this conferred on them in their local circle.

    A charlatan might tend to be a little circumspect when faced with something serious enough to require more than snake-oil and sympathy. The True Believer may take it as a challenge to their powers. The Sam family seemed to have been an example.

  • Many homoeopaths are genuine people, certainly; but I’ve met several who were more than a little drunk on their perceived power as healers, and the status this conferred on them in their local circle.


    Quite – see Gimpy’s blog for examples.

    Of course, this is just the kind of “God Complex” that Alt.Reality people regularly accuse conventional doctors of having. Another little irony.

  • In some US states they have statutes that say if you have a genuine religious reason you cannot be so prosecuted. Some fundie religious communities in the NW particularly are well known for killing their kids this way. They are left to it sadly.

  • I’d be tempted to suggest that homeopathy, chiropractic etc should declare themselves to be religions. After all, they have a lot in common: irrational believes, delusions of power, and fearsome internecine strife between different sects.

    DD Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, said in a letter written in 1911

    “I occupy in chiropractic a similar position as did Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy claimed to receive her ideas from the other world and so do I. She founded theron a religion, so may I.”

    The only problem would be, as you point out, that if you claim to be religious nobody can criticise in case it causes offence. For some bizarre reason, nobody seems to worry about the offence caused to reasonable people by homeopathy and chiropractic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.