Investigating pseudo-science and the paranormal from a responsible scientific viewpoint

Death of girl denied chemo for clay therapy?

Rumours are circulating that Tamar Stitt, the 10 year old girl who was smuggled out of Australia to avoid chemotherapy to treat her hepatoblastoma, a type of virulent liver cancer, has died. Tamar’s story was reported by Channel 7s Sunday Night programme several months ago, and recent promos for a follow-up Today Tonight story suggested she had passed away. The story was scheduled to air last week but never appeared.

Against doctors’ advice and despite a pending Supreme Court case to force her parents to have Tamar receive chemotherapy, they fled Perth to El Salvador where Tamar was receiving alternative therapies including herbal tea and red clay wraps. The clay ‘therapy’ consisted of torso wraps, twice a day every day for three hours. Tamar’s mother says that;

‘Knowing what we know about natural therapies, my first idea was to treat Tamar with that.’

‘Clay is basically the right medicine for any kind of illness, (it can cure) anything...it dries up anything that is causing the illness in your system, all the toxics (sic).’

A team of oncologists at Princes Margaret Childrens’ Hospital advised that a seven week course of chemotherapy would give Tamar a 50 – 60% chance of survival and without it she will suffer a long and painful death. In an affidavit submitted to the Perth court they describe the course of Tamar’s illness in the absence of chemotherapy as ‘she will suffer increasingly from pain. The nodules will cause obstruction of the airways, shortness of breath and air hunger, she will feel as if she is suffocating.’

This was supported by doctors in El Salvador who in response to the question of what will happen to Tamar if she doesn’t get chemotherapy stated ‘the sickness is going to get higher and higher..she will die.’

The parents are also religious, her father Trevor saying; ‘I don’t want to do this to my daughter but if it’s God decision then so be it. Who am I to fight against it?.’ In the Sunday Night report he also said that Tamar was old enough to make her own decisions about her treatment and has opted for alternative therapy because she didn’t want to lose her hair or get violently sick, both side effects of chemotherapy.

Trevor left a message on a news website saying the story was one-sided because the network pulled interviews with ‘natural healers who’ve cured people of cancer successfully.’ In justifying their decision to use alternative medicine over chemotherapy and his access to scientific papers, Trevor, a medical technician, stated he had worked at ‘Royal Marsden cancer hospital in London and so have quite good research engines at my disposal.’

As yet there has been no official news of Tamar’s death apart from some messages left on a news website. Dated December 31st 2009, one commentator says;

‘Tamar died a month or so ago in el Salvador. Towards the end the mother was taking her for chemo treatment but it was too late. Her death was reported on the news here two days ago – the hospital in el salvador has confirmed it.’

Highlights…

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