Thursday, June 30, 2005

Tragic victims of medical quackery

Tyrell Dueck - 13 year old boy from Saskatchewan

Tyrell Dueck died after his parents were advised by cancer quacks to go to Tijuana instead of living with an amputed leg that was riddled with bone cancer.

The case involved religious fundamentalists, a chiropractor who was also an MP, and of course the CCRG in Ottawa.

Scores of interviews, and phone-in shows across Canada added to the story as the nation watched. Of course, years later his death seems to have been forgotten.
The cancer quacks are still operating in Ottawa, and Tijuana, untouched by the government or consumer protection agencies.
Sandra Schmirler - Champion Curler
Age 36

As she neared the end of her fight with cancer, curler Sandra Schmirler travelled to Ottawa for a last-ditch attempt at treatment. There, the former Olympian sought out the services of the Canadian Cancer Research Group (CCRG), a controversial medical centre that practises alternative cancer therapies.

In spite of Schmirler's unsuccessful treatment, William O'Neill, CEO of CCRG, says his centre is at the forefront of cancer research. He describes his outfit as the "largest private cancer think-tank research lab, treatment development laboratory and outpatient treatment centre" in the country. Founded in 1992, the CCRG saw about 2,000 patients last year. These patients paid fees ranged from nothing to a maximum of $10,000 for up to 12 months of treatment. The treatments Schmirler received cost between $3,000 and $4,000.
Hope Monaghan died of brain tumor
Age 3

Dave Wickware bragged on that he gave a ginseng product to the family and it seemed to help this poor unfortunate girl near the end of her life. Unfortunately for Dave and his associate Lu Lanzon, who practiced in the same office in Waterloo, Ontario, it proved to be nothing more than an attempt to spread the word about their practice. It didn't help Hope at all.
Jake and Willy Harms in wheel chairs

Ravi Devgan scammed a poor Mexican Mennonite family from Wallaceburg, Ontario out of $40,000 to treat their two 13 year old kids who were born with cerebral palsy. He did this even after his medical registration was revoked. His history of scamming patients goes back over one decade. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario should be ashamed of themselves. He was arrested on July 1, 2005 and charged with fraud again. Let's hope that this will be the last time that Devgan sees the light of day.