Seven year old boy dead after bizarre alternative treatment for diabetes

A highly disturbing story: A young boy is dead after undergoing alternative “therapy” that may have resulted in a diabetic coma and possibly abusive “treatment”.

Diabetic Sydney boy dies after ‘slap therapy’ –

Police are investigating the death of a seven-year-old diabetic boy who may have been taken off insulin to attend an alternative Chinese medicine workshop in Sydney’s south.

The family of Aidan Fenton was taking part in the weeklong “slapping therapy” workshop at a health centre in Hurstville when he died, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The seminar was conducted by a Chinese healer named Hongchi Xiao, who advocates slapping the body until it bruises to cure illness and rid the body of toxins.

It’s said that the treatment called for three days of fasting and that Xiao called for the boy to be taken off insulin. Paramedics were called to the hotel room where resuscitation was attempted but he was dead. It’s not clear if the boy was slapped during the seminar or the cause of death. (The Daily Telegraph is subscription only.)

What does seem to be clear is that the parents believed this guru might cure the boy’s illness and paid for the special treatment session.

Xioa had been in trouble before.

Hongchi Xiao’s website promotes has ‘Paida-Lajin’ as a “self-healing” slapping and stretching therapy. He tours the world from Seattle to Germany to Indonesia claiming to have cured dozens of illnesses including diabetes.

He has faced police questioning before over his practises. In 2011 he was asked to leave Taiwan for violating medical treatment laws. He was also fined in 2011 for promoting “folk medicine practices” and claimed “diabetics could be cured after seven days of slap massage.”

The website also claims he was reported to police in Beijing over his practices.

This is a horrific case that is difficult to comprehend; there is NO evidence or rationale for this superficial physical treatment of being slapped until you are bruised to be effective against a disease that is related to blood sugar and metabolism. Or any condition for that matter. It’s simply cruel.

Regardless of how Aidan died, it is imperative that the public is aware of the dangers of such outrageous “treatments”.

The question is: should the parents be charged with child abuse? Ignorance and good intentions are no excuse for a child’s death.


More: An Australian child dies while undergoing a particularly cruel form of quackery – Respectful Insolence.

  12 comments for “Seven year old boy dead after bizarre alternative treatment for diabetes

  1. terry the censor
    April 30, 2015 at 9:31 PM

    > should the parents be charged with child abuse?

    I’d call it manslaughter.

  2. Perry
    April 30, 2015 at 9:43 PM

    Yes, it was medical neglect (failure to provide the necessities of life) and physical assault, so criminally negligent manslaughter/homicide.

  3. Overkill
    April 30, 2015 at 10:14 PM

    I really wish my fellow skeptics would stop referring to alternative “treatments” as treatments. They are not treatments. This dangerous nonsense treats nothing. Alternative “medicine” is not medicine.

    I feel that we need to find a more fitting name for this rubbish.

  4. MisterNeutron
    May 1, 2015 at 1:02 AM

    Indeed, the terminology is problematic. There are treatments that have been proven to be safe and effective. Those are “medicine.” Then there’s everything else. We don’t have a suitable word for that “everything else.”

    In this case, whether the boy was slapped around or not, we can at least say that his parents chose to withhold medical treatment. That is, or should be, criminal. If he was also repeatedly slapped, that’s assault, a crime virtually everywhere.

  5. Catherine
    May 1, 2015 at 3:05 AM

    This is not chinese medicine, I’ve been a practitioner for over a decade and I’ve never heard of this horrendous ‘therapy’. This man is a charlatan, probably not even registered with the proper authorities and preying on the vulnerable. This has happened before within the western medical community. You should not judge everyone by the actions of the few unstable impersonators. These parents failed to protect their child.

  6. Peter Robinson
    May 1, 2015 at 3:07 AM

    ‘Pseudo medicine’ should replace ‘CAM’ and ‘Alt Med’ in the lexicon of skeptics.

  7. May 1, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    That’s why I used the ” “.

  8. Nena
    May 1, 2015 at 2:14 PM

    Something needs to be done about that Hongchi Xiao monster. He needs to be dealt with and soon.

  9. Steve Chaput
    May 1, 2015 at 5:21 PM

    Not only should the parents be charged with abuse, but Xiao should be in prison for his actions. This man is dangerous.

  10. Overkill
    May 1, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    I find it interesting that you refer to Xiao as a charlatan, and yet Xiao’s “therapy” is supported by the same amount of evidence as your “therapy”.


  11. Russian Skeptic
    May 3, 2015 at 1:22 AM

    Real savagery. Medieval bloodletting was savage enough, but even in the Middle Ages nobody recommended to expel illnesses by beating.
    I wonder if this is a result of modern-era culpabilization of illness. To be ill is to behave badly; one must be punished for it – this is a logic underlying modern views upon illness (since about the 19th century). In the postmodernist era, some things have changed, but not in mass thinking.
    P.S. Slapping can possibly be beneficial for autistic children, but not until they are bruised, of course.

  12. Dai
    July 4, 2015 at 2:41 PM

    Not everyone will get what pseudo means my friend.
    ‘Illogical money driven scam that is wrongly called medicine by money robbing liars who provide no evidence for their groundless claims whatsoever and who have not earned an MD so which must be avoided like the ten plagues of Egypt if you wish to live and have any chance at all above 0% of being cured’
    I feel would be much clearer
    (My 2 cents)

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