Again in October of final yr, I wrote a evaluation of the movie Flipping the Script: Mother and father Struggle Again by Jeff Witzeman. Within the movie, Witzeman argued that oldsters ought to have the best to refuse chemotherapy for his or her youngsters, upkeep chemotherapy particularly. Witzeman argued that upkeep chemotherapy isn’t mandatory as a result of when the upkeep part begins there are not any most cancers cells detectable on labs or scans. What he omits is that it’s because our exams will not be exact sufficient to detect any remaining most cancers cells. Lengthy-term upkeep chemotherapy has been confirmed to be very efficient at stopping leukemia relapses, that are extremely lethal, particularly once they happen shortly after the most cancers was put into remission.
Immediately, I need to speak concerning the tragic penalties that outcome when mother and father consider the damaging concepts that Witzeman promotes in his movies. I’ve been following a case in New York of a mom preventing for her proper to refuse upkeep chemotherapy for her son for a number of months now. On September 10th Candace Gundersen posted a fundraiser on GoFundMe titled “Assist Nick Keep in Remission Safely”. In line with her story on GoFundMe, Nick was recognized with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) on June 30th. Nevertheless, she “challenged” the physician on his analysis as a result of she believed he had a special sort of most cancers referred to as Combined-Phenotype Acute Leukemia (MPAL). Gundersen has no medical coaching, nor any formal schooling that I can discover. She works as a holistic wellness coach. I haven’t seen any proof or assertion from a dependable supply that states Nick was recognized and handled by docs for MPAL. It’s unlikely contemplating that MPAL is extremely uncommon. MPAL solely accounts for 2-Three% of all acute leukemia instances, and it’s extra widespread in adults.
Regardless, Gundersen needed to delay remedy for her son’s leukemia as a result of she believed Nick had MPAL and that they might be giving him the flawed remedy. She was advised the primary month of remedy would have been the identical whether or not Nick had AML or MPAL. The hospital additionally advised her that she couldn’t delay remedy. If she refused to consent to letting them deal with Nick, they must name Baby Protecting Providers. She consented to remedy and claims that thirty days later, the docs stated that each one indicators pointed to Nick being in full remission. He might depart the hospital. Sadly, on August 29th a check confirmed that the induction was a “full failure” and that Nick would require additional remedy.
Nick’s mom informed the hospital that she wished to take Nick to a special hospital for remedy, and it was at this level the hospital contacted CPS stating that he was in imminent hazard. On September 2nd, Nick was faraway from his mother and father’ house and positioned within the custody of Suffolk County Baby Protecting Providers. Nick was taken to Cohen Youngsters’s hospital once more to be handled for his leukemia. Candace claims she tried for days to get Nick transferred to a different hospital, and he was ultimately transferred to Winthrop hospital. She claims that on October ninth, “Decide Whelan signed an order upon the settlement of all events concerned that we might transfer anyplace with Nick and deal with him with docs of our selecting.”. Nick’s leukemia was put into remission however he would wish upkeep chemotherapy to maintain the most cancers in remission.
Candace Gundersen determined that she needed to offer Nick “pure, non-toxic most cancers therapies” she had discovered about from analysis on-line. She needed to take him to a holistic clinic in Florida, so she secured housing and moved her son to Florida. Upon studying of this, CPS filed an emergency petition with the courtroom to take away Nick from his mother and father’ custody. Nick was faraway from his mom’s custody once more, and has remained within the custody of Suffolk County CPS since. He was positioned within the residence of a household pal a few month later, following a listening to. Gundersen has been preventing Suffolk County CPS in courtroom to regain custody of her son and the fitting to make medical selections on his behalf since November.
Suffolk County CPS and Nick’s docs did every little thing proper
Candace Gundersen and her lawyer declare that Nick’s docs and CPS violated her and her son’s spiritual and constitutional rights. Mother and father have by no means had the correct to refuse life-saving medical remedy for his or her youngsters for spiritual causes. That is properly established within the 1944 Supreme Courtroom Case, Sarah Prince v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
Mother and father could also be free to grow to be martyrs themselves. However it doesn’t comply with they’re free, in similar circumstances, to make martyrs of their youngsters earlier than they’ve reached the age of full and authorized discretion once they could make that selection for themselves.
Mother and father don’t have the authorized proper to put their youngsters in danger due to their beliefs. AML is a really treatable type of most cancers with a 75% 5-year survival fee if handled correctly. If Nick’s mom refused additional remedies towards the recommendation of his docs to pursue pretend most cancers remedies, the probabilities of the most cancers relapsing and killing Nick would go up considerably. Docs are legally required to file a CPS report if they’ve an inexpensive suspicion that a baby is being abused or maltreated. Nick matches the authorized definition of a maltreated youngster beneath New York regulation, as his mom was not offering him with sufficient medical care regardless of having the means to take action.
By her personal admission, getting custody of her son again can be straightforward if she would comply with take her son for correct most cancers remedy. In her most up-to-date GoFundMe replace submit she states:
The situation of CPS returning him to me is for me to agree and consent to provide him chemo, which can harm Nick and our case long run they usually comprehend it, which is why they’re making it inconceivable. I requested they put language into the settlement to accommodate the very fact I don’t consider that is in his greatest curiosity. I defined if I’m mandated by a courtroom to take action, I’ll adjust to a courtroom order however won’t agree to offer chemo voluntarily.
CPS has little interest in retaining a scared child with a life-threatening sickness from his mom. They only need to guarantee that he’s getting correct medical remedy.
About that physician in Florida
Gundersen has said in a number of interviews with information retailers that she simply needs Nick to be handled at a clinic in Florida. What was so dangerous concerning the clinic and physician that she needed to switch Nick’s care to that might trigger CPS to file an emergency petition with the courtroom? I had my suspicions, which have been finally confirmed when Jeff Witzeman said on his weblog that she needed to deal with Nick at Utopia Wellness, run by Carlos Garcia. My first-ever publish on SBM was a evaluate of Most cancers Can Be Killed, and Carlos Garcia was one of many “specialists” Witzeman promoted within the movie.
Carlos Garcia is an anesthesiologist, not an oncologist, and has some really weird and harmful concepts about most cancers. In Most cancers Can Be Killed, Garcia states that he believes that most cancers is brought on by dental points, or obscure emotional points. For instance, Garcia believes that being publicly embarrassed causes liver most cancers. His clinic was raided by the Florida OIG-HHS for suspected fraudulent billing of Medicaid for chelation remedy. Garcia provided to testify in courtroom without spending a dime that Nick wouldn’t want long-term chemotherapy. Luckily, his testimony was doubtless dominated inadmissible as he was not a board-certified pediatric oncologist.
Witzeman’s unscrupulous actions
Witzeman has been speaking about this for months on his movies’ Fb pages. Witzeman inspired his followers to signal a petition advocating the firing of CPS administrative employees and Nick’s oncologist from their jobs. Witzeman even inspired that followers of his movies protest outdoors of the Suffolk County CPS workplace. Which they did:
I’m simply in awe; they held indicators in entrance of a CPS constructing, accusing the individuals who work there of being legal predators. CPS is a corporation that exists to guard youngsters from neglect and abuse, they don’t go round stealing youngsters from mother and father who make selections they disagree with. The decide didn’t order a demise sentence, he’s mandating a toddler get medical remedy for a situation that may kill him if it doesn’t get handled correctly. I don’t understand how anybody with a mind of their head would assume protesting in entrance of a CPS constructing is one thing that’s going to make individuals need to be a part of their trigger.
Jeff Witzeman is very happy to offer medical recommendation to anybody who asks him in his remark part and promote any quack physician or radio present that may give him the time of day. Individuals take his recommendation significantly too; Gundersen is clearly getting her medical info and taking path from Witzeman. Gundersen even promotes Flipping the Script: Mother and father Battle Again in considered one of her updates on GoFundMe. Witzeman was the primary individual to donate to Nick Gundersen’s GoFundMe web page.
This case exhibits the tragic penalties of oldsters taking medical recommendation from random individuals on social media, in addition to the impression of dangerous documentaries on Amazon. A toddler affected by leukemia is tragic, however Nick has to cope with all this nonsense on prime of all of it. He needed to undergo the primary levels of remedy with out the emotional help of his mother and father. Youngsters parrot the beliefs of their mother and father, and Nick’s mom believes his docs try to kill him. Consequently, that didn’t precisely result in a trusting relationship between Nick and his docs. After Nick was taken from his residence, his oncologist needed to put in a port to start to manage chemotherapy. In accordance with his mom on GoFundMe, Nick locked himself within the toilet within the hospital for an hour, claiming that his physician couldn’t make him do something he didn’t need to.
None of this could have occurred; it didn’t need to be this manner. Nick was recognized with a really treatable type of leukemia with a really excessive survival price when handled correctly. He in all probability would have been nice with remedy if his mom had been on-board with it too. However as a result of she took medical recommendation from a filmmaker with no medical qualifications who will get paid to advertise pretend most cancers remedies, she needed to forego reliable most cancers remedies in favor of remedies which were confirmed to not work. Nick’s docs and CPS had to decide on between letting a father or mother give her baby pretend most cancers remedies that may astronomically improve his probabilities of relapsing and dying, or eradicating him from his mom’s residence and forcing him into actual most cancers remedy that may give him a preventing probability.
Conclusion: The web was a mistake
This entire case is miserable, and completely illustrates so most of the issues we’ve been speaking about on SBM. Gundersen clearly will get her well being info from Witzeman’s movies, movies which are so scientifically inaccurate a random pc science main from a college no one has ever heard of can rip them aside. The truth that you’ll be able to these movies at no cost with Amazon Prime would make them appear to be there’s some quantity of legitimacy to them to a traditional individual. These movies make it look like most cancers might be handled with easy weight loss plan modifications or vitamin infusions, regardless of all the proof displaying that isn’t true.
Social media and search engines like google have options that may trigger them to distort actuality; they present you what you need to see. Many search engines like google have a customized search function that prioritizes outcomes based mostly in your searching historical past and search patterns. This can be a nice function nearly all of the time, however it will probably callow individuals to create a filter bubble that isolates them from info that conflicts with their viewpoints. Filter bubbles can prioritize outcomes in order that fringe, doubtful sources of data seem first, making these sources appear extra professional and common than they really are. They will additionally direct customers to fringe social media echo chambers.
Social media echo chambers are extremely widespread, and as this case demonstrates, they are often harmful. Fb teams are good for creating your personal private echo chamber the place customers can reinforce their beliefs with different individuals who assume the very same approach as them with out worry of dissent. Once you search “persistent Lyme” on Fb you may be introduced with dozens of help teams that may inform you methods to deal with an sickness that doesn’t exist. In the event you solely get info from social media echo chambers that unfold false info and faux information, your notion of actuality can turn into very distorted, in a short time.
Candace Gundersen believes that her son’s docs try to kill him as a result of she has been introduced pretend info from a social media echo chamber. One month in the past, she posted an replace on her GoFundMe web page stating she was completely outraged that Nick’s docs have been planning to provide him the flu vaccine. The rationale why she was upset was due to a information article that stated that the First Woman banned the flu vaccine within the White Home as a result of she thought it was ineffective and harmful. Right here’s the scary half: I truly believed the First Woman banned the flu shot within the White Home. It isn’t true, however I didn’t reality verify it at first as a result of I used to be biased towards believing that the Trump administration would do this. The whole article got here from a pretend information website. Equally, Gundersen purchased into it as a result of it confirmed her present perception that her son’s docs have been placing her son in danger. The flu shot is completely protected for most cancers sufferers as a result of the flu vaccine doesn’t include a reside virus. In truth, the flu shot is advisable for most cancers sufferers as a result of their immune methods are weakened and they’re much extra more likely to be hospitalized or die in the event that they catch the flu. PSA: Get the flu shot.
Social media additionally helps bankroll quackery, as Dr. Gorski has mentioned in-detail in his posts over the previous few months. Quack remedies are ludicrously costly and aren’t coated by insurance coverage, however via crowdfunding they’re financially accessible for almost anybody. Gundersen has raised over $35,000 on her GoFundMe web page to pay for authorized bills and faux most cancers remedies when she will get custody of her son once more. Even in case you don’t disguise in an alternate drugs echo chamber, it’s exhausting to not be sympathetic to a mom who had their son taken away by CPS to be given chemotherapy involuntarily. That’s why it’s essential to confirm what your cash goes in the direction of if you donate to a crowdfunding marketing campaign. If the marketing campaign doesn’t specify the place the individual is being handled, and by whom; don’t donate to the marketing campaign. This can be a story of how social media and irresponsible documentaries drove a mom, who was already a hardcore various drugs believer, to pursue various remedies as an alternative of actual drugs. This was by no means a case of medical kidnapping; CPS and Nick’s docs did the whole lot of their authorized energy to behave in his greatest curiosity.
All this speak of social media and crowdfunding encouraging individuals to hunt out ineffective and probably harmful remedies for life-threatening sicknesses is usually a little bit of a downer. In Dr. Gorski’s second article about GoFundMe fueling most cancers quackery, his conclusion obtained me considering a bit:
That’s the place skeptics, both as a part of skeptical organizations or on their very own, could possibly be most useful. Steve Novella has steadily identified that one position of the skeptic is shopper safety, to teach shoppers to keep away from the fraud of psychics, pseudoscience, and, sure, quackery. Right here’s an ideal instance the place we might assist.
Quacks have a robust social media presence and as soon as they get somebody into their echo chamber, it’s very exhausting to tug them out. They should appear to be they’re professional and in style. They appear to fret about how they’re perceived on-line greater than some other sort of enterprise. Flipping the Script: Mother and father Battle Again and Most cancers Can Be Killed at present sit at a four.5/5 common star score on Amazon. Simply to place issues in perspective, I appeared up each in style movie I might consider that was launched in 2018. The one one I might discover with scores that prime was Avengers: Infinity Struggle. I don’t assume a four.5/5 common score befits documentaries that declare you possibly can regulate your physique’s pH via eating regimen.
Individuals need to know that these movies will not be well worth the bandwidth, and when you’ve got an Amazon Prime membership, you possibly can assist. Let’s not cease there although, these movies peddle harmful recommendation to determined individuals, and promote youngster neglect. The Amazon buyer coverage states “Amazon has the proper to find out the appropriateness of listings on its website and take away any itemizing at any time”. I’m going to start out a petition asking Amazon to take away each of those movies from their video service due to the damaging recommendation they provide. I hope you all will signal it. Most cancers quacks use social media to apply oncology with no license, and I feel it’s about time we struggle hearth with hearth for as soon as. Let’s give Amazon’s video service some chemo.
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