Dying to Believe

Number 106 in a series

A page on the What’s the Harm site is devoted to deaths related to homeopathy. A case in point is the death of Charles Levy:

Only one case that has come before the Arizona Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners during the past five years has involved the death of a patient, but that 2001 decision to clear the doctor is still a contentious subject.

The board dismissed a complaint against Dr. Gabriel Cousens, a licensed homeopath who practices holistic medicine and runs a spa called the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia. The complaint alleged that an elderly patient died of a gas gangrene infection developed after Cousens repeatedly injected him with “bovine adrenal fluid” as a treatment for fatigue.

The family of the patient, Charles Levy of New York, sued Cousens for malpractice in Pima County Superior Court. The case was headed to trial when Cousens settled for an undisclosed amount of money paid to the family.

What a homeopathic practitioner is doing using an active medication is not clear. Homeopathy canonically involves dilution of active ingredients beyond the vanishing point. Either way, false belief has produced another death.