Reiki doctor feels “honoured” by old Bent Spoon nomination

Associate Professor David Joske, head of haematology at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, was recently interviewed by Norman Swan on ABC Radio National’s Health Report. Apart from his role in the hospital, Dr Joske is also the founder of SolarisCare, which provides so called “complementary and alternative medicine” to cancer patients. Of particular interest is the fact that one of the modalities used by SolarisCare is Reiki, an unproven form of ‘energy healing’ that has time and again been shown to be no more effective than placebo.

During the interview, there is this short exchange between Norman Swan and Dr Joske which caught our attention:

David Joske: [talks about the study not being controlled, the sense of community and anecdotal results] … I also have a nomination, if you do a Google on my name, for a Bent Spoon Award from the Australian Skeptics Association.

Norman Swan: Which you consider a badge of honour no doubt?

David Joske: Absolutely, for “the most preposterous piece of pseudoscientific piffle” …  [Joske then changes the subject to the cost of health care]

It should be noted that Dr Joske never won the much coveted Bent Spoon, though judging by this program he might very well be deserving of it. He was, however, nominated for the award in 2003.

Bent Spoon nominations are open, so the fact that someone nominated Dr Joske says nothing at all about Australian Skepics’ attitude toward him. We only remove nominations from the list that are illegal or do not meet some basic criteria (such as being meaningful).

Whatever the case regarding the nomination, it must have really struck a chord with Dr Joske if he still remembers it, considering that it was seven years and that the page with his name hasn’t been up on this site for a long time. It must have been a while since Dr Joske really used Google to search for his name.

Melbourne GP Dr Stephen Basser commented on the interview on the Victorian Skeptics’ website. He highlights the many faults in Dr Joske’s methods, even if they do achieve some benefits, which raises once again the question of whether it is ethical for doctors to prescribe placebos to their patients.