People who think that alternative medicines aren’t dangerous forget that alternative treatments displace proven ones. In Australia, a homeopath and his wife ignored medical advice to take their severely exzemic daughter to a dermatologist. While they mucked about with homeopathic treatments, their baby suffered repeated infections through her blistered and weeping skin. After five months of suffering, she died at the age of nine months.
THE parents of a baby girl who suffered from severe eczema ignored the advice of doctors and persisted with alternative medicine for their daughter until she died from infection, a court has heard.
Homeopath Thomas Sam and his wife Manju Sam are accused of the manslaughter of their nine-month-old infant daughter, Gloria Thomas, by gross criminal negligence.
On the opening day of their Supreme Court trial, a 12-member jury was told the Indian-born parents knew Gloria was suffering eczema on her face, arms, legs and torso at four months, but they failed to take her to a dermatologist.
The court heard that by the time Gloria was six months old, her eczema had begun weeping, causing her clothing and nappies to stick to her skin, which would tear whenever her parents changed her. Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC said the baby girl’s skin began to peel off, allowing infections to enter her bloodstream.
In the last five months of her life, Gloria was subjected to repeated infections which “placed a great deal of stress on her body,” Mr Tedeschi said. He added that the baby “wasn’t able to get sufficient nutrition to fight off infections and to grow”.
Gloria died from septicemia in May 2002 weighing just 5.3kg – which was “well below the third percentile for her age”, the court heard.
She had lost 20 per cent of her body weight at a time she should have been gaining 500g per week, the court heard.
Her body’s inability to fight off the eczema had left her with “an extreme vitamin and mineral deficiency and a severely weakened immune system”, Mr Tedeschi told the jury.
He said Gloria’s parents had failed in their duty of care to her by not ensuring she received proper medical attention.
The court heard Sam, who has a Masters in Health and Administration at University of Western Sydney and taught homeopathy, also failed in his duty of care to his daughter as a patient.