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Brian Haw and the false cures of quackery

gimpy | 20.06.2011 23:11 | Health

Brian Haw, the protester whose dogged presence outside of parliament turned him into a cause célèbre, has died of lung cancer. Mr Haw was a divisive figure, with often unorthodox opinions, whose determination to camp outside parliament became a matter of considerable political debate on the right to protest. In recent years Mr Haw’s supporters dwindled to a hardcore group with fringe opinions. They have let him down badly.

Mr Haw’s cancer has very low survival outcomes, for a man of his age, his chances of surviving 5 years following diagnosis were less than 10%. There is little that Mr Haw could have done to delay the disease. However, this did not stop proponents of alternative medicine offering to help with false promises of cures and treatments based on nothing but quackery.

Following Mr Haw’s diagnosis, fans of David Icke, a notorious conspiracy theorist, took charge of fund raising for his treatment in Germany, via the Shen Clinic. The Shen Clinic believes in, and has promoted, the theories of Tulio Simoncini.

Dr. Simoncini’s therapy uses Sodium Bicarbonate to destroy the fungus colonies which he believes are the cause of both cancer and mastatasis[sic]. Although controversial, many have personally witnessed the dramatic drop in cancer markers following his therapy, even in some advanced cases. He also recommends the use of natural and complementary medicine such as nutrition, homotoxicology, acupuncture and others.

Mr Simoncini is banned from practising medicine and has fraud and wrongful death convictions in his native Italy.

Despite the clarity of the evidence against Mr Simoncini, his theories and his outcomes, Mr Haw moved to Germany to undergo therapy. Reports in April of this year asserted successful treatment.

Brian Haw is currently living in my flat in Germany while having treatment for his lung cancer – the good news is that he had an MRI scan this week and he’s on the mend – by the way, his treatment consists of intraveneous Vitamin C and Sodium Bicarbonate (not at the same time!) – THIS IS ILLEGAL IN THE UK !!!! – WTF !!!! – IT’S VITAMIN C !!!! – AND BAKING SODA !!!!

This was sadly optimistic.

Mr Haw’s cancer was almost certainly incurable, but rather than spending his final days being cared for by medical professionals in the UK, he was sent to Germany by conspiracy theorists, offered the false prospect of a cure, and was subjected to unnecessary and ineffective treatments.

There is certain to be a resurgence of debate about Mr Haw’s principles, politics and behaviour as a result of his death, but probably little on the circumstances surrounding it. Regardless of what you may think of Mr Haw, perhaps the greatest injustice he has undergone in the last decade is not the disruption, court actions and parliamentary discussion surrounding his protest, all of which have been debated and ruled on by a transparent democratic and legal system, but the falsities told to him by supporters of alternative medicine in denial of the facts.

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