U.K. man dead after choosing homeopathy over heart meds

Inquest ruling after Bradford man died on election campaign.

A Respect party campaigner who died on the Bradford West by-election trail when his heart suddenly stopped had given up doctors’ orders of beta-blockers and turned to homeopathy instead, an inquest heard.

Father-of-one Abu-Bakr Rauf collapsed on March 20 in the Mumtaz restaurant car park after a heated discussion with another party member.

GP Adeela Khan told how Mr Rauf was diagnosed with a heart rhythm problem when he was nine and prescribed beta-blockers, but had come off them when he was 14 as they made his head heavy, his limbs ache and slowed him down at school.

“He was told he should stay on them and many a time this was reinforced, but he and his family decided they did not want to do that. He was told about the risks, but they decided to rely on homeopathic medicine,” said Dr Khan in her statement that was read out.

Tip: @blue_wode on Twitter

Sadly, it’s not wise to forgo medications KNOWN to work for homeopathic treatment that does not cure anything. This is a clear cut case of What’s the Harm in homeopathy. It can kill you.

Addition: It’s not absolutely clear that stopping the prescribed meds was directly the cause of death. But the condition was serious enough that it likely made the odds of problems far far worse.

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  11 comments for “U.K. man dead after choosing homeopathy over heart meds

  1. August 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Homeopathy didn’t kill this guy, he made choices which (evidently) led to his death. He lived 14 years without the drugs. This was not an acute condition. The homeopathic remedies did no harm themselves (are they not just sugar pills w/statistically non-existent traces of some substance?).

    He was given the information, many times. He tried the beta-blockers. He didn’t like the side-effects of the beta-blockers. He chose to not use them.

    He died. It’s regrettable, but it was his choice to live his life the way he wanted. He was an adult and it was his right.

    Should he have been forced to take the beta-blockers?

    How would his life have been impacted in the last 14 years if he had taken the beta-blockers? He might have had erectile dysfunction as a side effect of the beta-blockers, in which case he might not have had a child… He might have died of side-effects/complications of the beta-blockers.

    All this speculation is just silly. He died, it is sad. Extend your thoughts/prayers/whatever to his family and move on.

    • jbspry
      August 20, 2012 at 12:37 AM

      Exactly. A person has the right to choose his own course in life. And as you point out, a longer life is not necessarily a better one. We’re not plow horses, we’re humans.

      • Bruno
        August 22, 2012 at 3:30 AM

        He didn’t choose to have a shorter life. He chose homeopathy based on the belief that it would perform the same function as the beta blockers minus the side effects. I doubt if he would have opted for homeopathy if he’d understood that it does exactly nothing. The fact that he took homeopathy is proof positive that he didn’t choose to go untreated. Homeopaths have simply robbed him of the chance of making an informed choice between the two options that he really had: live with the side effects of the beta blockers or live in the knowledge that sudden death might strike anytime.

        • August 22, 2012 at 10:39 AM

          And where does it say he thought the homeopathics were a substitute for the beta blockers? It doesn’t.

          You don’t know why he chose homeopathic remedies.

          You do know why he stopped taking the beta blockers – he didn’t like the side effects.

          No where does it say he thought that homeopathics were going to give him the same results as the beta blockers.

          It does say that he was informed many times of the severity of his condition and that he should take the beta blockers. He was informed, MANY TIMES. Homeopathics did not “[rob] him of the chance of making an informed choice”.

          Stop putting words into his mouth, it’s disrespectful and dishonest.

  2. Stella Holt
    August 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    It is a known fact that all drugs/medicines have side effects, many of which may be worse than the ailment they are used to treat. We all have a choice and that should be respected. Homeopathy can not be blamed for this man’s death. We all have to die sometime, it’s just a matter of when and how, not if. It’s a bad situation to get into taking a pill for the side effects of another pill etc. but it happens and often people are much worse off. All credit to him for making his own choice. We all need to get as much information as we can to make such informed decisions and follow them through.

    • Geoff
      August 15, 2012 at 10:47 PM

      Uh…some guy put water in my gas tank. The water isn’t bad. What’s the problem.

      The issue is not with the homeopathic medicine, which is basically water. The problem is with the people that promote it as a legitimate therapy.

  3. August 16, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    Homeopathy is marketed as legitimate medicine. The point of this post was to show that people believe that and they should not. Sure, it was his choice not to take regular meds. That choice in his stated condition seriously increased his risk of having a health issue. You are right, it is HIS choice but why did he choose homeopathy? why not nothing? Because homeopathy is marketed as legitimate medicine and it is NOT.

    • August 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      The post says, “This is a clear cut case of What’s the Harm in homeopathy. It can kill you.”

      That statement is not at all supported by the article cited.

      The homeopathic remedies did not kill him, his heart condition did (as best we can determine from the article).

      The article clearly states that Mr. Rauf tried and rejected “regular meds”. There is no indication he took homeopathic remedies in place of the beta-blockers, the article specifically said he didn’t like the side-effects of those drugs and that is why he stopped taking them.

      He was clearly not blinded by homeopathic marketing. Why he chose to take them as opposed to nothing is not known to us? Maybe he figured it couldn’t hurt, and maybe he thought the placebo effect would be a nice bonus if it happened. WE DON’T KNOW.

      The point of the post was a combination of chest-thumping and fear-mongering.

      If you want to educate people about the lack of evidence supporting homeopathic remedies, then do that. But this article doesn’t support what it says (“[homeopathic remedies] can kill you”), nor what you say (that Mr. Rauf was marketed homeopathic remedies as an alternative to the “regular meds”).

      I’m all for educating. This isn’t it.

      • August 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        The article clearly states he used homeopathic meds.

        Homeopathy is a ridiculous concept. It’s absurd.

        In most cases, taking worthless treatment pose no harm. However, for serious conditions, it IS harm. I hope people DO note that using homeopathy instead of employing medicine for a serious condition (one that killed this unfortunate man) is an extremely unwise route to take. That route can lead to death.

        There are many cases of people who chose alternatives to conventional treatment for AIDS and cancer and have died. Did they WANT to die? I’d bet no. Were they convinced that other methods would work? Perhaps. They substituted real medicine for fake medicine. They were duped.

        I can’t speculate on Mr. Rauf’s reasoning and the results of the inquest will speak more about this but the indication from the information in this article is that he chose homeopathy over conventional meds. That makes me angry. If the inquest says otherwise, then I will correct it. However, if I have to chest-thump and fear-monger about the stupidity of choosing ineffective treatments over real ones, I make no apologies. I find the whole idea of recommending homeopathy for a condition reprehensible because it DOES NOT WORK.

  4. Chris
    August 16, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    My oldest has a genetic heart condition and takes beta-blockers. He complained about the kind of effect they have on him, first by dragging him down when he takes one and then feeling his heart go “fluttery” when they wear off. The cardiologist switched him to a another kind of beta-blocker that is more of slow release form, and split the dosage to twice a day.

    We don’t know if a change of meds was offered to Mr Rauf. But if he was substituting homeopathy, he may have been seeing a cardiologist on a regular basis.

  5. jbspry
    August 20, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    All these stories of people dying from bad medicine/bad religion/bad ideas seem to involve parties with odd-sounding foreign names. Maybe there is something to be said for Western European Culture after all…

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