Death By Homeopathy: How Peter Dingle and Francine Scrayen guided a gullible woman to her grave
July 23, 2011 13 Comments
In Western Australia new “tough” cannabis laws, I’m assured, send the “right message” regarding community health. Anyone caught with 10 grams or more now faces up to two years incarceration, a $2,000 fine or both. There is no evidence this approach reduces cannabis use. There is ample evidence health focused leniency has dramatically positive outcomes for individuals and the community.
In Western Australia – indeed all of Australia, one can push and peddle entirely ineffective and indirectly lethal concoctions for any ailment, based on any bizarre illogical reasoning that can roughly tolerate semantic approximation. There is no evidence this approach reduces any ailment beyond placebo effect. There is ample evidence that leniency afforded the charlatans who peddle such, has dramatically negative outcomes for individuals and the community.
Unlike cannabis, so-called alternative “medicine” can and does lead to multiple drug interactions and increasingly contributes to disability and death, by denying effective and timely access to medical care. The attack on modern medicine has found new breath in developed nations with our easy access to the internet. We’ve seen the rise of the anti-vaccination movement and their vicious hatred of conventional medicine. Despite the reality of course that without the vaccinations and medicine that helped create these healthy adults, there would likely be no widespread movement.
The opposition and conspiratorial fantasy that sustains much of their argument is a feature in all reflections of new age nincompoopery. Peddlers of alternative compounds, lifestyle, diagnostics and unproven high risk treatments are adept at pointing an accusatory finger at medicine. Waxing lyrical with outrageous testimonials of callous brutality, experimental guesswork, toxic torture and elitist insouciance, “science” and “medicine” are maligned by a plethora of charlatans. At the same time chiropractors, reflexologists, homeopaths, naturopaths, acupuncturists, wellness practitioners, spiritual guides and more relay stories of certain recovery of vital essence and cosmic connection. In this way the need for demonstrable, robust and peer reviewed evidence is not only diminished, but seen worthy of ridicule.
One of Australias best hands at this is “Dr”. Peter Dingle. Dingle makes a living selling expansive tomes of serious sounding balderdash that urgently inform readers of how our very environment – the envy of many developed nations not to mention the vast bulk of humanity – is killing us. His Is your home killing you? hysteria continues to be a feature in film, audio and text. His latest book My dog eats better than your kids is doing okay ahead of Why Busy People Die Young. Dingle advocates against sound medical advice. Lecturing and speaking as a health and wellness expert, he has no qualifications in either health nor in medicine.
Claiming he does the research to which medicine conforms, Dingle is really naught but a charismatic and motivational con artist able to get people to entrust their health to the scams of an “environmental toxicologist” (his area of training). A John Edward with an Amway smile for the worried well, he can read the mood of the market and beef up his fear mongering accordingly. Crafting opposition to existing health practices by inventing new threats made worse by “toxic” medicine or “chemicals” in treatment regimes, Dingle skims over the accountability to which genuine health professionals are held, sprinkling just enough sciency sounds to get his enraptured moonbeam worshippers to sign on the dotted line.
“Medicine has lost its way”, he wrote of the H1N1 vaccine. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy killed both his father and his wife Penelope he claims, despite COD being complication from metastatic cancers. He has sunk to initially supervising Judy Wilyman, a fierce anti-vaccine lobbyist in her pursuit of a PhD. Wilyman is an AVN devotee having done much to mislead Australians as to how pertussis vaccination works to combat various strains in a cunning ploy to drive parents away from vaccinating. Her attacks, under his mentoring, on HPV vaccination are a crude and bigoted fabrication, steeped in conspiracy and astounding ignorance.
But Dingle’s most gruesome offence was rather recent. His wife Penelope died from metastatic complications from rectal cancer, whereas she had “a good chance of survival” before he and homeopath Francine Scrayen convinced Penelope that homeopathy could cure her. Certainly, Penelope was a willing partner to this agreement. Dingle is an educated man with a PhD, and the dangers of adhering to so called alternatives – even with mainstream treatment – are well documented. Yet Peter Dingle’s greed for glory and the possibility of writing up the impossible in yet another book enabled him to allow Penelope to suffer the unimaginable. His escape clause during a coronial inquest was memory loss. He was found to be an unreliable witness.
His attitude is summarised in the quote below, written the day after part one of an account went to air. Almost dead after seven months of madness, Penelope eventually did abandon homeopathy and seek surgery and treatment. Her quality of life improved significantly for two years, until metastasis again reared, ultimately leading to her death. Penelope had written about her small chance of survival. Peter Dingle knew very well indeed that statistically her chances were small. Nonetheless, facts have never gotten in Doc Dingles way before. He argued on July 5th that Penelope died from “experimental chemotherapy”, and he wonders why her “actual death” wasn’t investigated;
Homeopathy is a primary feature of most anti-medical movements. Absolutely implausible it carries its own language, belief system, code of obedience and perceived transgression to “out-group” thinking. It is in all ways a cult. ABC’s Australian Story aired Desperate Remedies, which covers the full sad and sordid tale. It’s presented below with additional slides of the Coronial Inquest into the circumstances surrounding Penelope’s death, and a synopsis or three. It’s a story of stupidity, gullibility, cowardice, opportunism, narcissism and power. Penelope’s letters to the truly cruel and callous Francine Scrayen who lied to save herself can be accessed here.
We must, however, as fair minded individuals remember Peter Dingle did lose his wife and “best friend”. He did – until the last – strive to convince Penelope that she could cure herself with positive thinking. He himself laboured in preparation of his Dingle Deal nutritional miracles. Calling him a “callous bastard” is quite simply not befitting for a fair and critically minded observer. He is without doubt, also a first rate narcissist.