Newsweek recently reported that a herbalist has been charged with the death of a 13-year-old diabetic boy. Allegedly, the therapist replaced the boy’s insulin with herbal remedies. Tim Morrow, 83, was charged with

  1. child abuse causing death
  2. and with practicing medicine without a license.

Morrow stated that god had guided him to use herbs rather than conventional medicine and that he successfully treated treat his own prostate cancer in this way. Marrow can be seen on multiple YouTube videos from his ‘University of Common Sense’ promoting his bizarre ideas of health and disease.

Perhaps god also guided Marrow to make lots of money? He runs regular seminars and a thriving herbal on-line business, the ‘Common Sense Herbal Products‘. There are few ailments, for which ‘Common Sense Herbal Products’ do not seem to offer a herbal cure.

One of the remedies, ‘Pancreas Reg‘, for instance, claims to “act as natural insulin”. The 270 Tablets tub of this product costs US $74.22. It is easy to see, I find, how bold claims attract gullible customers depriving them not just of their money but also of their health.

Morrow started treating the boy suffering from Type 1 diabetes after he met his mother at one of his seminars. When the boy subsequently became semi-comatose, Morrow told his parents to treat their son with his herbal remedies rather than insulin which had been prescribed by qualified medical doctors. The boy, Edgar L., died only hours later. There is little doubt that he would have survived, if he had undergone conventional treatment, the medical examiner concluded.

“The allegations in this case underscore the serious health and safety risks of taking medical advice from someone who lacks a license and the proper training that goes with it,” the medical examiner said in a statement. “No family should have to suffer the tragedy of losing a child because of irresponsible, un-credentialed medical advice.”

On this blog, during lectures etc., I often stress that by far the biggest danger of seemingly harmless alternative therapies is that they are used to replace effective treatments for serious conditions. Diabetes is such a condition, and there are numerous instances where the advice of incompetent practitioners has endangered the lives of diabetics.

Three examples will have to suffice as examples of the plethora of such unethical neglect:

  • In homeopathy, diabetes is seen as a reflection of the body’s inability to function optimally. There is an imbalance that results in the body’s incapacity to effectively utilize the insulin that it produces, or to produce sufficient insulin for its needs. While symptoms often disappear after conventional treatment, the vital force does not. Homoeopathy can be used effectively in the treatment of diabetes. Here we mainly concentrate on functioning of the pancreas in efficient insulin production. The metabolic condition of a patient suffering from diabetes requires both therapeutic and nutritional measures to correct the illness. Homeopathy can regulate sugar metabolism while helping to resolve the metabolic disturbances that lead to diabetes. Furthermore, homeopathy helps stimulate the body’s self-healing powers in order to prevent complications such as open leg sores and other dysfunctions of the blood vessel, loss of vision, kidney failure. Homeopathic treatment does not target one illness, an organ, a body part or a symptom. Remedies are prescribed based on an assembly of presenting symptoms, their stresses in life.”
  • Management of Blood sugar. The commonly used remedies are Uranium Nitricum, Phosphoric Acid, Syzygium Jambolanum, Cephalandra Indica etc. These are classical Homeopathic remedies. These are used in physiologically active doses such as Mother tincture, 3x etc. depending up on the level of the blood sugar and the requirement of the patient. Several pharmaceutical companies have also brought in propriety medicines with a combination of the few Homeopathic medicines. Biochemic remedies which is a part of Homeopathy advocates Biocombination No 7 as a specific for Diabetes. Another Biochemic medicine Natrum Phos 3x is widely used with a reasonable success in controlling the blood sugar. Scientific studies on the impact of homeopathic medicines in bringing down blood sugar are limited, but many of the above remedies have some positive effects either as a stand-alone remedy or as an adjunct along with other medications.”
  • Modern medicine has no  permanent cure for diabetes but alternative medicines like yoga ,mudra,ayurveda is very useful to control and even cure diabetes.Ayurveda is an alternative medicine to cure diabetes.”

But these are very rare instances!!!

That’s what apologists usually respond.

Yet, the truth is that NOBODY knows how often such harm occurs.


There is no monitoring system anywhere that would provide such information.

15 Responses to The death of a diabetic child: God had guided the herbalist to use herbs rather than conventional medicine

  • “What’s the harm?” they say, “let me believe what I want to believe…”
    Accepting gibberish in one sphere of life seems likely to increase the chances of doing so in others. To validate any form of magical thinking is massively dangerous: how many people in the family circle stood by without the information or, sadly, courage to stand up to the “let me believe…” mind-set that’s taken yet another innocent, defenceless life?

    When the woo-woo merchants attack your valuable contribution to the prevention of such woes, don’t they ever consider the ripple effects of “what’s the harm” or “let me believe…”?

    This child’s friends have suffered a loss, too. Aren’t they allowed to be educated and encouraged to think critically about the buffoonery that’s stolen decades from another young one?

  • “serious health and safety risks of taking medical advice from someone who lacks a license and the proper training that goes with it”. In a country where some states grant licensure to naturopaths and acupuncturists, a license to practice is no assurance that the training is worth anything. It just makes quackery easier to sell and for political reasons only protects the practitioners not the patients.

    • good point. thank you

      • Edzard

        “Yet, the truth is that NOBODY knows how often such harm occurs.”

        Quite hilarious coming from you. It was one death that you are worried about: what do you plan to do for 24,000 deaths from diabetes every year with scientific medicine on NHS!!! Doctors don’t know or forget advising patients?

        “Up to 24,000 diabetes-related deaths could be avoided in England each year, if patients and doctors better managed the condition, a report concludes. The first-ever audit of patient deaths from the condition said basic health checks, a good diet and regular medication could prevent most of them.”

        This was brought to your notice by one reader from UK(?) and your hunt for the problem took you to USA? Or maybe you just could not locate the offending doctors?

        • I’m sorry Iqbal, you’ve lost me.

          What have problems with deaths in England (most of which could be prevented by “basic health checks, a good diet and regular medication”) got to do with homeopathy related deaths in the US?.

          Does not your contribution constitute a red herring, and a logical fallacy?

          • Richard Rawlins

            “Does not your contribution constitute a red herring, and a logical fallacy?”

            I would have thought that your medical training teaches you to focus on larger problems that can benefit a multitude of patients.
            24,000 diabetic patients die every year because of doctor errors on the NHS (total dead is 72,000). So you would look to resolve the bigger issue or run after the one death from the 2.7 million Americans dying every year?
            Which is the red herring:the discussion on one death to camouflage the 24,000 or the discussion on 24,000 deaths due to doctor errors? If it is the 1 death, you are acknowledging that 24,000 deaths is standard outcome from scientific medical treatment and one death from herbal medicine calls for investigation?
            Logical fallacy slightly stretched?

          • Now Iqbal…

            I think we have asked this of you before. How many deaths do you postulate would occur every year medicine was substituted for homeopathy in the care of diabetes?

            …and here is your latest smelly herring:
            I suspect that you just sawthe words “doctors”, “24.000” and “deaths” and jumped to a conclusion.
            Can you try to read this over once and tell us what the report in question *really* says?

          • Iqbal suggests that deaths by error, negligence, or for whichever reason, should only be prosecuted if doctors are involved. Everyone else, especially alternative medicine practitioners of various arcane specialties, such as homeopathy, must be free to cause harm by experimenting with their multiple ways to do nothing.

            It’s not 1 death fellow Iqbal, it’s much more, but they are not reported.

            This is the “doctors, 24000, deaths” fallacy.

            Homeopathy, fellow Iqbal, would kill everyone with type 1 diabetes. This is the answer you refuse to accept.

    • Excellent note, that is to say, at some point there has to be an end to regulating nonsense.

  • has been charged with the death

    At least, he has been charged. It seems quacks are only rarely charged with anything. Which reminds me of a recent bizarre (I think) situation, where a chiropractor is told not to practice, not precisely because he endangers his patients, but because he committed vaguely sex-related acts against/with them. Apparently, potentially causing (deadly) strokes is not a good-enough reason to ban practitioners from practicing, but fondling their breasts is. Given the exquisite intelligence of lawmakers and lawyers, I am sure I am too stupid to get it. Maybe one of these geniuses could explain it to me.


    • Bart B. Van Bockstaele

      “At least, he has been charged.”

      The poor guy made the mistake of not acquiring a medical degree. Other wise it is so simple to be a “perfect murderer.”

      For diabetes, see above.And this is after ensuring patients are made diabetic.

      Russ Altman: What really happens when you mix medications

      And if this was a small mistake, you have another small one coming your way:

      “Every day, more than 115 Americans (ONLY) die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.”
      “In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.”

      They even managed to locate and book a doctor for over prescribing opiates.

      washingtontimes. com/news/2017/jun/23/okla-doctor-charged-murder-opioid-prescriptions/

      You believe any charge can be proved against her? Not if her attorney produces scientific studies:

      “The problem of mis-prescribing opioids requires further study to understand its frequency, the factors that influence mis-prescribing, and its impact on patients, particularly those suffering pain and those with SUDs. The dominant model of mis-prescribers, the 4D model, is inaccurate and may perpetuate mistaken beliefs and even harmful practices as a result. “
      “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Can Physicians Prescribe Opioids to Treat Pain Adequately While Avoiding Legal Sanction?”

      Edzard: You should write a post to justify the cost benefit analysis of the issue and reveal facts about how it was really complementary medicine that created this mess.

      • The poor guy made the mistake of not acquiring a medical degree.


      • Invalid argument, fellow Iqbal.

        The “poor guy” believes in fantasies (quite profitable ones), like you do, and so he caused a good deal of harm. Now please, be a good fellow and make sure you don’t ever con anyone into relying on homeopathy for type 1 diabetes.

  • The parents should not be left out of the equation, they also did a great job…. and should be charged as well!

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