Friday, January 13, 2017

Health Threats from Samaritan Ministries

In the past, I have published Dangers in Samaritan Ministries part 1, part 2, and part 3 (all of which can be accessed here.)  This is essentially "Dangers in Samaritan Ministries part 4," but I gave the article a different name, because I am going to be focusing specifically on how one is likely to die early if he takes the medical advice (that is usually disclaimed as not being medical advice) in the Samaritan Ministries newsletter.

Unfortunately, the promotion of quackery, medical nonsense, and non-scientific misinformation in the Samaritan Ministries newsletter seems only to be getting worse.  In the May 2016 newsletter, a two-page testimonial is given promoting the dangerous quack Ronald Wheeler, who the Florida Board of Medicine calls "a menace to society."  One member of the board indicated that Mr. Wheeler "looks like he's board-certified in medical fraud" and "one of the most dangerous doctors I've seen in a long time."  Mr. Wheeler takes desperate people with cancer, fills their mind with nonsense, and refers them to a clinic in Mexico where he is paid for referrals.  Patients have suffered serious negative medical consequences from his financially-lucrative quackery. So what does Samaritan Ministries say?  They say that he has a 100% cure rate for prostate cancer over the last several years, and from 2006-2013 the rate "drops to 99 percent" (pg. 13)!  They give an e-mail address where Samaritan members with prostrate problems can contact Samaritan to get in touch with people who have followed Mr. Wheeler.  Not the slightest hint of warning about this predatory huckster is given in the newsletter.  The medical advice in the Samaritan Ministries newsletter is dangerous to your health, and this sort of unabashed, unashamed spread of and promotion of life-threatening misinformation is getting worse and worse.

In the June 2016 newsletter, an article entitled "Niacin: The Real Story" mentions someone who was allegedly cured of a disease by taking "60 grams a day – more than 3000 times the RDA" (pg. 7). Taking 3000 times the recommended daily allowance of niacin is very dangerous – it could kill you. You could overdose and require hospitalization at 4.5 grams a day. The article states that everyone should take 100 times the RDA--so God must have designed food very badly, because it would be impossible to get the right amount by eating a balanced diet--and states that sick people should "go up from there" (pg. 11) to an unspecified, unnatural, and dangerous amount.  You are actually supposed to artificially consume so much of it that you start "flush[ing],"--that is, start experiencing a dangerous side effect which the article says "is not dangerous, and is actually helpful for determining the optimum dose" (pg. 6).  Science demonstrates that "long-term use is associated with liver damage."  This Samaritan Ministries article is dangerous.

The July 2016 newsletter contains a three page article (pgs. 8-10) by Joseph Mercola, who, as I noted in Dangers in Samaritan Ministries, part 3, makes millions deluding people and promotes terribly dangerous lies such as that "HIV does not cause AIDS . . . chemicals in our environment, the drugs used to treat AIDS, stress, and poor nutrition are possibly the real causes" and that cancer is really a fungusThis time he was not promoting these particular lies, but was promoting the quack idea that one should get 75 to 85% of total calories from fat!  He was also promoting another quack called Aseem Malhotra, mentioning a paper  published by Malhotra while neglecting to mention that claims in the article were withdrawn because they were inaccurateMalhotra argues for the crazy claim that exercise does not help you lose weight and does not appear to know that fruit contains mainly fructose not glucose. This Samaritan Ministries article is dangerous.

The August 2016 issue of the Samaritan newsletter promotes unproven ideas about autism (pgs. 7, 13).  As it is not enough to promote one quack idea per newsletter, apparently, it also has a two page description promoting a disease that does not exist, "Chronic Lyme Disease" (See, e. g., "Does Everyone Have Chronic Lyme Disease? Does Anyone? by Dr. Harriet Hall, and the links and scientific resources on that page), and the Samaritan article promotes ways to "cure" the disease that will actually harm your health.

Why does medical science ignore this allegedly real disease, the Samaritan article asks, which the article states has "more and more irrefutable evidence"? The answer: "the collaboration of some government officials, Big Pharma, and insurance companies to threaten doctors into betraying their Hippocratic Oath by denying the existence of chronic Lyme, all in order to cut costs" (pg. 11).  And we thought that the Conspiracy was actually doctors trying to treat more people to make more money; now they are refusing to give people long-term antibiotics to treat this fake disease, and apparently that refusal to give (unnecessary) antibiotics is also part of the Conspiracy.  When doctors prescribe, that is the Conspiracy; when they don't prescribe, that is also the Conspiracy, and somehow it is a profit motive in both situations. Apparently all the doctors who say that chronic Lyme does not exist are not following the evidence and trying to protect their patients from harm and unnecessary medication, but are in fear that Big Pharma (which wants less, not more, medicine dispensed this time, it seems) will come to get them.  Thousands and thousands of doctors, all medical colleges, medical journals, etc. who deny this imaginary disease are violating their consciences and the Hippocratic Oath and allowing people to be sick, although they do not do this with other diseases--they single out this one and allow people to be sick of it while treating other ones and curing people of them, even though not treating the other ones would also save insurance companies' money.  The Conspiracy even extends over the entire globe--in a world where the president of South Africa can deny that HIV is caused by AIDS, and where world leaders still follow witchdoctors, "public health services worldwide refuse to acknowledge the existence of chronic Lyme" (pg. 11).  It is amazing how much power those pharmaceutical companies have to control worldwide public opinion to reject the Conspiratorial Truth about Chronic Lyme, while those same companies have no power to prevent China and most of the rest of the world from ignoring their copyright and patent protections so that American pharmaceutical companies cannot make any profit at all from or stop copycat imitators based offshore who do no research but reproduce their products.

Of course, the promoters of Chronic Lyme have no financial interest in anything, but are pure as the driven snow.

The most dangerous part of this conspiratorial thinking is that someone with this anti-evidence, conspiratorial mindset will probably believe in unconventional therapy X or Y when he or a family member gets a life-threatening disease, and will eat cottage cheese to stop his cancer instead of doing what would actually work.

False doctrine is also promoted in the August 2016 Samaritan newsletter--a Roman Catholic who runs a clinic called "Our Lady of Hope," that is, to paraphrase, "hope in Mary--our Mary, rather than hoping in Jesus Christ alone--our God" is promoted as someone who "uses his interaction with patients to talk about their relationship (or lack thereof) with Jesus, allowing him to "evangelize in the exam room." (pg. 8)  Surely people will receive tremendous spiritual benefit by being evangelized by a Roman Catholic at a place called Our Lady of Hope.  Perhaps praying to Mary will also help cure you of Chronic Lyme, although Mary won't help you be cured of a real disease.


The December 2016 issue continues to promote the quack David Brownsten, who, as I noted in "Dangers in Samaritan Ministries, part 3," has claimed that he can cure Ebola by giving people vitamin C, but the "Powers-that-Be" are secretly working to prevent people from being cured from Ebola, while he prescribes levels of megavitamins that can actually be dangerous and harm people's health.  Samaritan is recommending this quack to people for treating heart disease, despite the fact that he makes the astonishing claim that people need to consume more salt--very dangerous advice for people with heart conditions (pg. 12).  This dangerous quack has multiple books that are reviewed on the Samaritan website and commended, with not a word of warning.

The January 2017 issue hits a new low--if such is possible--in its promotion of quackery.  This time its "health" misinformation article, "Sugar alert!" (pgs. 10-11) did not even include a disclaimer at the end stating that the article was not meant to cure, treat, etc. disease--while nobody believed the disclaimer anyway, it is no longer present.  While mixing in a number of true statements--of course, nobody believes that it is healthy for a person to get his entire caloric intake from table sugar--the article is jam-packed with misinformation.  It defines "sugar" as "sucrose" at the beginning of the article, although then it warns about glucose and fructose as well.  Sucrose allegedly causes everything from "cancer" to "compromised wound healin [sic]" to--get this--"low [not high] blood sugar"!  What is more, "fructose" is something "that the body [allegedly] can't use very well" and is "associated with liver damage" and "livers like those of alcoholics."

The article never mentions that sucrose, fructose, and glucose are found in fruits such as apples, bannanas, apricots, and blackberries--you name the fruit, it will have them in it--as well as the most common vegetables, from carrots to cabbages.  The article preys on popular ignorance of even the fundamentals of nutritional science and biology.  Of course, the molecules of sugar in these fruits and vegetables are identical in every way to the molecules of fructose, glucose, and sucrose in processed sources and the human body treats them in exactly the same way.  (The problem with table sugar is not that it is the cause of all kinds of diseases, but that it has no useful nutrients in it--it just gives the body calories, but not vitamins or minerals, has no fiber, and so on.)  The Samaritan article recommends, instead of table sugar, consuming "coconut . . . sugar" or "honey" or "molasses," leaving out the fact that these products are full of the identical sucrose, fructose, and glucose molecules that are allegedy the cause of practically every disease under the sun.

So, what does Samaritan recommend a person add to his diet?  Things that are "healthy" like "butter"!  If one wants a snack, he should "eat something fatty and salty"!  Furthermore, a "homeopathic remedy . . . can be helpful," so homeopathic nostrums--which, of course, contain not even one molecule of anything other than water in them--can allegedly have medical benefit.  The Weston A. Price foundation, from which Samaritan has reproduced its January 2017 article, is a long-time promoter of this ultimate quackery, homeopathy.  The open promotion of the occult quackery of homeopathy is another low for Samaritan Ministries--if the organization can promote drinking occult water to cure disease, they can promote anything.

In conclusion, the idea of Christians sharing medical needs is fantastic.  However, the medical advice promoted in the Samaritan Ministries newsletter is inaccurate, expensive, unscientific, conspiracy-mongering, nonsensical, and too often passes from being merely ridiculous to being dangerous to one's health and at times even life-threatening.

If you are troubled by the issues brought up in this post, please contact Samaritan Ministries here and politely explain your concern.




9 comments:

Farmer Brown said...

Thomas, we have friends who visited the same clinic your friends visited before the wife died. With our friends, the wife had a very dangerous form of cancer, but they caught it early and it was treatable. They had caught it early, which was very rare and was a real blessing.

However, these friends decided to go to the clinic in Mexico, instead of following the advice of the oncologists and having immediately having surgery. She is now dying from the cancer. It seems to have been totally avoidable.

A middle age believer who could have been cured will die a painful death. This is the result of this bad science.

KJB1611 said...

What you report is terrible--what a tragedy. If the US government took a Christian and gave him cancer, everyone would be up in arms for such an evil act of murder. However, when scams like the Oasis of Hope in Tijuana, Mexico (better, Oasis of Death across the border) delude Christians and cause their deaths, it seems that it is not a big deal. That "clinic" will be accountable to God for the blood of the thousands upon thousands of people, and in particular of God's sheep, that it has brought to an eary death.

However, family and friends who encourage others to go to such places will also be accountable. Their hands also will not be free from blood. The sixth commandment does not give us liberty to kill ourselvesor others by rejecting medicine for quackery.

Even though they did not listen, I am very glad that I warned the people that I know and that I later wrote the post exposing the Oasis of Hope as a scam. That post is getting many views--may God use it to save the physical lives of many people, and use the links on it to the gospel as an instrument to save the spiritual lives of the unconverted as well. My conscience is clear, and, I trust, my hands are free from blood.

By the way, do the people who went to the scam artists at the Oasis of Death now recognize that they were scammed, or do they still defend the Oasis as truth?

Anonymous said...

How could anyone know that know if the cancer was/is treatable?

Tony Bankston

KJB1611 said...

Dear Tony,

When scientific medicine does things like examining 10,000 people with a particular type of cancer at a particular stage, giving a particular treatment, and seeing that 9,000 of them are alive 10 years later, they then have a good basis for saying that one has a 90% chance of making it if one pursues legitimate treatment methods for that type of cancer. If, instead of pursuing scientific medicine, one goes with quackery and the cancer progresses to a stage where tests indicate that out of 10,000 people only 50 are alive 10 years later, then one has a good basis for saying that waiting to treat the cancer with real medicine has reduced one's chance for long-term survival from 90% to 0.5%.

Thanks for the comment.

Farmer Brown said...

Thomas,, I do not have much contact, but I understand they are convinced she was cured and the continuing problems are not cancer but something related. My last report was a few months ago and not entirely reliable. Perhaps things have changed and so I am not certain.

I had the same question about your friend. He and his wife had dinner at my home only a few years ago. I was sad to hear of the situation.

Tony, they can know because they spend more than a decade learning and training, and then another decade accruing real world experience. They can look at a type of cancer, look at the size and position, check to see if it has spread, and based on a huge volume of data make a pretty solid prediction about the survivability and best course of treatment.

This is based on thousands and thousands of similar cases. One thing doctors are good at is documentation. You could probably search a database and find every case of lung cancer in the US for the past 40 years, how it was treated, how it responded, and the condition of the patient. A good doctor can no doubt use that information to make reliable plans.

This is the same way a 60 year old lifetime master mechanic can hear an engine and know what is wrong. I could never do that, and do not understand how they do it, but that does not mean they are wrong. My lack of knowledge and experience does not invalidate the mechanic's knowledge and experience.

Anonymous said...

KJB,

You confuse me. Two undefined terms in your SCIENTIFIC MEDICINE vs QUACKERY thing. Nice thinking for me while it lasted - just can't see how this fits in with the "epistamulogy" articles here. Nor am ask asking for explanation. Why don't churches discipline bad medicine or do yours?. Thanks and God Bless.

Tony B

ps people is not cars

KJB1611 said...


Dear Tony B.,

Please visit:

http://faithsaves.net/medicine

to learn the differences between scientific medicine and quackery.

You are correct that people are not cars. If you are trying to argue with this that the cells in the human body don't respond to the same physical laws that the molecules do in cars, then you are not correct.

Thanks.

KJB1611 said...


Dear Tony B.,

Please visit:

http://faithsaves.net/medicine

to learn the differences between scientific medicine and quackery.

You are correct that people are not cars. If you are trying to argue with this that the cells in the human body don't respond to the same physical laws that the molecules do in cars, then you are not correct.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Really? I'm not anymore sure that's even much worth responding to over cars (gen 2:7 - man is different - doctrine of man 101). These is alternutive facts! I think calling people and their ideas "quackery" is kind of namecalling Pastor Kent Branden say was wrong when he write about "heretic" a whiles back? Not so?
So why read namecaller site? Not edifying.

Tony B