Almost manslaughter?

Talia Shadwell at Stuff reports:

By the time Yvonne Maine saw a surgeon about the yawning wound on her head, it had become so big her brain was exposed.

The cancerous lesion had grown from 2 centimetres to 20cm during 16 months of treatment by an unqualified iridologist, who discouraged the Feilding grandmother from visiting a doctor, a Human Rights Tribunal hearing was told yesterday. …

Te Horo iridologist is appearing before the tribunal in a case brought by the Human Rights Commission. It says Mrs Nelson, in her 70s, breached the code of human rights in failing, as a healthcare provider, to give Mrs Maine proper care.

Mrs Maine, a retired early childhood worker, had long styled her hair to cover up a lump that had been diagnosed by a GP about 40 years ago as a harmless cyst.

Growing irritation from the lump led her to seek out Mrs Nelson.

Over 16 months, the iridologist, who is not a registered natural health practitioner and has no qualifications, “scraped and picked” at the wound, but discouraged her patient from visiting a doctor, Mrs Maine’s daughter, Carla Taylor, who was present at most of the treatments, claimed.

Mrs Nelson applied herbal poultices, oils and colloidal silver to the growing lesion. She also tried “emotional freedom tapping” – patting the patient’s forehead and repeating positive affirmations, the court heard.

By the time her family persuaded Mrs Maine to visit hospital in 2009, the lesion was an infected wound so deep her brain could be seen pulsating, Prof Tan said.

How much did the iridologist get paid to apply what is basically witch doctorery? An earlier hearing heard:

A pharmacist questioned the amount of painkillers she was taking and suggested she see a doctor.

But she was warned against this by Mrs Nelson, who told her “it wasn’t cancer and they probably wouldn’t treat it now” and that she would  “get a bug or swine flu” if she went to hospital.

Pleased to see the Human Rights Commission take this case. It’s atrocious and there should be consequences for pressuring someone to not seek medical help, ripping them off, and lying with the end result being a preventable death.

Some people say we should have corporate manslaughter. Well what about manslaughter in this case, as the behaviour appears to be completely negligent and lacking in good faith.


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