Monday, February 17, 2014

Curing ear infections with magic

As a service to the public I am now going to explain how fraudulent healers "cure" ear infections using oil of this, or extract of that.

In brief, it works like this:
  • Most of the time, there's no ear infection in the first place. The healer simply "cures" something that didn't exist. TEST: Who diagnosed the infection? A doctor or the healer? And how did the healer make the diagnosis?**
  • Other times, there really is an ear infection. However, left alone, most ear infections will resolve themselves without antibiotics. It all on the CDC website (link). Though it may be true that the a healer applied an oil or extract, and it may be true that an actual ear infection was healed, the two events are unrelated. The ear infection would have healed itself anyway.
Healers who use disreputable methods such as this in the service of false claims seem to be especially active in Hasidic neighborhoods. The harm they do is two fold:

First and most importantly, they undermine the traditional medical system, leading people to rely on nonsense when proven, effective remedies are available instead.  Second, an ear infection can occasionally be an indication of something serious, that healer will miss but an MD is likely to catch. 

** The fake allergy healers use a similar trick. They "diagnose" an allergy that doesn't exist, and then apply bogus treatments. This particular scam is especially popular among acupuncturists and chiropractors.

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