In a disturbing case out of Canada (with somewhat of a happy ending, at least), a father has lost custody of his autistic children after trying to “cure” them using homeopathic medicine.
“Not only were these treatments not effective, but they had negative effects,” reads a court decision granting sole custody to the children’s mother.
The two boys, aged nine and 10, suffer from “severe and profound” autism spectrum disorder. They do not speak, are not toilet-trained or able to dress or feed themselves.
Another time, the father refused to administer prescribed antibiotics for an infected cut on the nine-year-old’s finger. Instead, he intentionally kept the child from his mother while attempting to treat the infection with homeopathic remedies.
The child’s cut “did not heal but became more infected,” said the custody ruling released Tuesday.
To be clear, the homeopathic faux-remedies didn’t actively make things worse, either, but they allowed infections to fester. The problem is that this dad, along with so many other people, felt they were a legitimate alternative to actual medicine, not understanding that all homeopathic medicines are a sham.
The situation is all the more horrific because the two children affected by all this need as much help as they can get. No medicine will “cure” their autism, as their mother said in court, but there is medicine that will help manage it. That’s what the father ignored in his attempt to circumvent doctors by giving them pills with no scientific backing.
So much for homeopathic remedies being harmless. When they act as a substitute for medicine that could actually help people, they have the effect of making things much worse.
You move, Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
(Thanks to Dean for the link)