On 26 Feb this year, trailers were run every hour throughout the day advertising the channel nine current affair program ACA which was featuring a story about a “Queensland Medical Monster” - a Naturopath in Mackay who was claiming to cure cancer.
As a member of the Australian Skeptics, a scientist and a Breast Cancer survivor, I had been recommended to ACA to be part of this story.
This issue I’ll talk about my brief but successful career as an undercover reporter and why I believe some pharmacy owners may inadvertently be contributing to this type of quackery.
Every story requires a victim and that was Maria Worth.
She is dying of Breast Cancer.
As part of her orthodox cancer treatment she had a port-a-cath surgically implanted for chemotherapy, but despite every effort from her oncologist the cancer continues to spread.
Hearing about Jill Newlands and her intravenous injections of Miracle Mineral Supplements (MMS) that she was told cured cancer, she paid the $2000 for the 2-week treatment.
Maria soon found herself hooked up to an IV Bag attached to a wire coat hanger that was hanging from a rusty nail under a house in Mackay.
Four days later, she was in the emergency ward at Toowoomba Hospital with blood clots. Horrified by what the doctors told her and by the accelerated deterioration of Maria’s health, her sister contacted ACA.
After being briefed by ACA reporter Chris Allen, I phoned the Naturopath.
I told her I had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and that I had heard about the treatment.
We talked for an hour about cancer, cures and conspiracies.
After my own 2003 diagnosis with cancer, I received advice to talk to other patients who had been through the experience which had helped me at that time, so just before I hung up the phone I asked Jill if there were any patients I could talk to.
She told me about Marilyn – I knew that if I could include this patient that this would show the full story.
Marilyn is a retired nurse, her Breast Cancer has spread and like Maria she is dying.
Like Maria, Marilyn also had a port-a-cath implanted for chemotherapy.
Like Maria she believed this treatment would save her life.
I phoned Jill again and asked to see her the next day. She confirmed that Marilyn would be there and she agreed to the appointment.
Accompanied by a member of the ACA team who had a hidden camera, I was soon heading for Jill’s door.
Arriving early we were there to greet Marilyn when she arrived at the Newlands Clinic and as the morning went on we were able to film the entire procedure.
I was sickened by what I witnessed.
The next week the trailers for the show appeared throughout the day on Channel Nine and the show aired that evening.
It went well (1).
Thanks to ACA, Jill Newlands has been exposed and has now been shut down.
This has clearly been going on for some time, because after the show aired, two more patients came forward to ACA.
As for myself, I was soon at my GP’s doorstep being treated for shingles on both arms.
Would I do it again?
Of course I would.
Naturopaths believe in Traditional Medicine and will tell you that it has worked for hundreds of years, which is all the proof they need.
Naturopaths believe that the body has the ability to heal itself but their advice continues to delay treatment for some desperate MS, Cancer and Parkinsons patients.
Naturopaths believe in healing energy including ear candling, homeopathy and iridology and, positioned in pharmacies, they have ready access to major illness patients.
Pharmacies should be places where we can get evidence based medicine, not quackery, so as a cancer patient, seeing ear candles and homeopathic remedies on prescription counters on one side of my pharmacy and seeing a Naturopath selling unproven cures and remedies on the other side upsets me.
Knowing that the pharmacy owners know most of it is an expensive placebo at best and couldn’t care less, distresses me even more.
Fair go pharmacists, by having Naturopaths in your pharmacies you lead people to believe that they are medically trained – it’s just not true.
You might like to think about that next time you hire one.
1. YouTube of ACA “Queensland Medical Monster” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R8S1sp2YvQ