Alternative cancer doctor, Nicholas Gonzalez, has died: “Health Nut” fans baseless fears

A fringe cancer doctor has unexpectedly passed away, fueling even more baseless ideas that some foul play is occurring. Those who buy into alternative meds can be too easily led into false correlation. The same delusion goes with a conspiracy theory that groups coincidences under a common cause, made more prominent by media who wish to push their off-the-edge agenda.

From the web page of Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez

It is with great sadness that the office of Nicholas J. Gonzalez, M.D. relays news of his untimely death on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. The cause of death was cardiac related, it appears, as he suddenly collapsed and was unable to be revived. Dr. Gonzalez was in excellent health otherwise so his passing is quite unexpected.

Gonzales authored What Went Wrong: The Truth Behind the Clinical Trial of the Enzyme Treatment of Cancer and wrote for other “natural” health websites, such as NaturalHealth365.

Dr. Gonzales believed that cancer was caused by the changing of an ectopic germ cell into an ectopic trophoblast cell. He believed in “detoxification” and that the person could eliminate their own cancer. He prescribed coffee enemas, megavitamins, trace minerals, glandular extracts, and a change in diet. He followed patient progress by hair analysis. None of his treatments are supported by evidence to suggest they work. Gonzales was not an oncologist.
Source: Quackwatch

As we previously posted, the deaths of some alternative practitioners over the past month has been construed as suspicious by some in the holistic health community.  The person who appears to be most involved in fueling the conspiracy is Erin Elizabeth of Health Nut News. The story began with the obvious suicide of Dr. Jeff Bradstreet. A federal raid on his offices just prior to this event suggests that Bradstreet had some trouble brewing, possibly regarding the unapproved drugs he was using to “treat” autism.

Right after Bradstreet’s death became public, Health Nut News connected these to the deaths of Dr. Teresa Sievers who was murdered in her home, and Dr. Bruce Hedendal who was found in his car and assumed to have died from natural causes. Also added to the “list” was Dr. Ronald Schwartz, 64, of Palm Beach, Florida and Dr. Baron Holt, a holistic chiropractor, also in Florida. Finally, Dr. Lisa Riley, died of gunshot wound.

Therefore, we have this timeline:

Bradstreet, June 19, suicide
Holt, June 21 (undetermined)
Hedendal, June 21 (undetermined)
Sievers, June 29, homicide
Riley, July 10, gunshot
Schwartz, July 19, homicide

The deceased have not all died in the same way and there is no need to invoke poisoning or some covered-up intent. A concerned community is linking disparate facts and posing a needless, fear-based agent when there isn’t one, creating a false “cluster death” idea. A facebook site promotes these poorly-evidenced ideas that “activists” are being killed. Holistic doctors are NOT exactly activists. Those who support this alt med agenda play loose with their definitions.

Erin Elizabeth of Health Nut News coupled these deaths with two missing doctors: Jeffrey Whiteside (June 29) and Patrick Fitzpatrick (July 3).  She includes these missing doctors from North Dakota and Wisconsin into this concocted “mystery” as well as mentioning 3 additional doctors deaths in Mexico. There is no rational reason to connect all these deaths and disappearances except to support her speculation.

Doctors are a common profession. And they die every day. Of COURSE you could string together facts and make an erroneous conclusion as she does. She even admits it:

There are many other doctors who have died around the country in a few strange accidents lately; but I’ve only really been focusing on the ones in this area, which have happened in such a short amount of time.

This is an artificial construct, not a good representation of facts. At first, she attempted to link all the doctors to Florida, even though Bradstreet was in Georgia. The missing doctors, however, are NOT in Florida and the other dead are in Mexico. She isn’t even clear if those in Mexico were holistic healers. Yet, she says she will “keep reporting” on missing and dead doctors while hinting there is a coverup and stating that she fears for others. She notes she is being contacted by mainstream news. Unfortunately, those sources are not clarifying that her piece is a mish-mash of cherry-picked data.

By not clarifying the errors and tacitly endorsing the leaps to unjustified assertions, media outlets spread the false fear. Additional natural health sites are saying “Doctors are dropping like flies” and are also promoting a single agent as part of the equation by asking “who is killing the doctors and why?” There is no justification for assuming there is an agent and these deaths and disappearances are connected. Commentators on these sites, however, believe there is something to it – that the doctors have been murdered. This is the thread they are encouraged to believe by the writers.

There is NO evidence that there is any sort of conspiracy or dirty deeds theme running through these unfortunate and unexpected deaths. (Deaths are OFTEN unanticipated.) As with many alt health news sites, their story is sensational, their supporting evidence sorely lacking.

DN readers may know that simply covering this story, even in a rational way against any conspiratorial ideas, will unintentionally promote the nonsense ideas. But we feel that a rational rebuttal to such outrageous claims is warranted.

Sources: 2 More Doctors Go Missing, after 3 Found Dead in 2 Weeks;
5th holistic doctor age 33 died in Florida making 5 dead and 5 more missing – Health Nut News; MD Found Murdered inside Florida Home Today. This makes 6 in 30 days, 5 still missing 

Updated 23-July 2015 with minor corrections to text.

Reminder: Comments calling me an idiot without a high quality citation for such will not be posted.

  33 comments for “Alternative cancer doctor, Nicholas Gonzalez, has died: “Health Nut” fans baseless fears

  1. MisterNeutron
    July 23, 2015 at 8:17 PM

    Dr. Gonzalez was in excellent health otherwise so his passing is quite unexpected.

    You mean, other than the faulty heart? It’s like the farmer whose mare has died: “She never did that before!”

  2. Shell Bush
    July 23, 2015 at 9:02 PM

    I know, right? I mean, the last time I got sick it was so strange because I had been healthy just a few days earlier. I saw an airplane fly over the day before so I bet it was chemtrails.


  3. Mike C.
    July 24, 2015 at 8:55 AM

    No loss for the medical community, just the quack community.

  4. Graham
    July 24, 2015 at 10:06 PM

    The whole affair reminds me of the third episode of the first season of the Australian media satire show ‘Frontline’, one of the major plot threads in that episode was the weaving of unrelated crimes into claims that a serial killer was on the loose for ratings purposes. This is exactly the same thing.

  5. Colleen Mavroulis
    August 3, 2015 at 11:47 AM

    First I have to say that I am interested in this story because I graduated from St Catherine University with a Masters in Holistic Health. I became interested in alternative health out of necessity when my son developed antibiotic resistance. This is an interesting story that could as you say just be pure coincidence and nothing more. Yet as a critical thinker I am remaining open minded as well to all possibilities. After all the earth was once believed to be flat and that too seemed ridiculous.

  6. August 3, 2015 at 1:05 PM

    Is “holistic health” the same training as a medical doctor? Who diagnosed your son with antibiotic resistance because that is not an accepted diagnosis as far as I can tell. You are not thinking critically if you just believe something because it’s sounds good. You weigh the EVIDENCE with the best quality evidence holding more weight than the speculation and poorly supported claims.

    Also, no one ever believed the earth was flat. That is a myth. Sorry to be blunt but your comments are rather a bunch of nonsense.

  7. Galileo
    August 3, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    Regular doctors continue to prescribe statins even though the latest research and evidence shows no difference in the deaths of high cholesterol patients against the low cholesterol ones, frankly I am not sure the earth was never flat, but a lot of people suffered when they claimed the earth was not the center of the universe, against the consensus of the time. As many times science shows, it is the lonely discoverer with a new idea or viewpoint that leads the way, but even with proof it takes a while for the establishment to chug along….

  8. August 3, 2015 at 5:39 PM

    Please no logical fallacies. The Galileo Gambit? That’s not a sound way to argue a case. It sounds like you aren’t really well versed in how science actually works. Consideration of alt med practitioners will lead you astray in that line of thinking. They don’t “science” well.

  9. Galileo
    August 4, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    Yes I see your point, thanks for the link it was informative. I don’t have an issue with science. Now “big science”? That sounds suspect….maybe Galileo is outdated because he fought against believers not people interested in facts. The problem in science and established academia is their finance. Nowadays it is hard to find independent research. My motto is follow the money, more often than not you get what you pay for!

  10. August 10, 2015 at 3:35 AM

    Thanks for giving me a mention. Unlike some of the actual “alt sites” and “skeptic sites” you did credit me.

    Sadly, we’re up to 9 doctors who died in just over a month’s time. Another family of one of the deceased doctors was just on CBS saying they want an investigation. They aren’t the first family to ask for one publicly. FWIW.

    My other half, Dr. Mercola, and I were very sad to lose several doctors we knew here. Whether it’s connected or not (I always maintain I don’t know, but will keep an open mind) my heart goes out to their family, friends, patients and loved ones. Two of the Florida doctors who were murdered (determined to be murders by authorities) weren’t too far from us here in Florida.

  11. August 10, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    No doubt that the deaths are very sad for their loved ones and friends. I do, however, strongly disapprove of linking this to some sort of underlying agent. That is deceptive and fear-mongering. There is no evidence they are linked.

  12. August 10, 2015 at 10:18 PM

    I never once said whether I think or know they’re connected (I don’t) I wrote about Jeff Bradstreet who we knew when he died, as CBS ABC (and others have reported about me) I had no idea when I wrote that – that more friends or colleagues of ours would be found dead.

    I simply covered each story and people drew their own assumptions. But not once in my stories, do I ever say they are related or connected. So please, don’t put words in my mouth?

    If you bothered to read them you’ll see I never say conspiracy or say they are A) connected or B) done by the same person (for those who were indeed murdered) I think I make that very clear. Alas, people jump to their own conclusions that either they are not or that they definitely are.

    We actually don’t know either way at this point and out of the unintended series I never speculate and keep saying repeatedly “this could be one big coincidence” “I have no idea if they’re linked”

    Remember I wrote about each of our friends as the murders or untimely occurred so no way I knew it would be a series which is probably why it gained 10 million or so plus reads in a month

  13. Karen Burger
    August 16, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    Coffee enemas carry cardiac risk for a variety of reasons including fluid buildup and electrolyte imbalances. Dr. Gonzalez promoted them and stated in interviews that they were part of his health regimen. If he did these daily he could have put himself at risk. A loved one of mine did them but wisely stopped…now has cardiac problems. Also suffered dehydration shortly after stopping the regimen. Don’t know why Dr. Gonzalez died. But this is an opportunity to warn people about the risks of coffee enemas which are no longer deemed safe and have led to documented deaths.

  14. Chris
    August 16, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    Anything in excess or used improperly, in cases of contraindications, can cause problems. You are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  15. Galileo
    August 17, 2015 at 12:39 AM

    All medical procedures carry risks and benefits, that is why you need to be informed and make your own decisions. Even vaccines have side effects, even death, is listed as one, risk and benefit, you need to do the math and make your own decision. Attacking Dr Gonzalez on a detail like this, that he cannot come back and explain the risk and benefit is just cheap. Many cancer patients die free of cancer, because the standard of care killed them in the end. But some patients survive and get live a little longer. We need to be able to choose what we want to do with our bodies and given a choice. Dr Gonzales had many happy clients, but even himself agrees his therapy was not for everybody. Check out his interview with Dr Mercola

  16. August 17, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    You misunderstand safety risks of medical procedures. Gonzalez promoted treatments that have no benefit but some risk. Compare those to treatment we KNOW to work. There is risk but the benefits outweigh those.

    Every single time I report on the death of an alternative practitioner or psychic or faith healer, I hear the same crap. They can’t defend themselves, they were wonderful for ME. But this in no way erased the harm their did with their actions. I criticize their actions. Unfortunately, they are linked to those actions and the comments get conflated. There are many others who promote the same bullshit and I’d rail against them too, living or dead.

    You can choose whatever the hell you want, but in the long run, science is the most reliable way we have of knowing. Alt med folks don’t use science, they depend on fake and poor excuses for science, hope and faith. Sorry, those aren’t reliable at all.

    Anyone who mentions Mercola here is kicked off. He’s a Grade A QUACK.

  17. August 17, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    Don’t you love all the commenters that call themselves “Galileo”? Yes, there are more than one here. You flatter yourselves. You are no Galileo. He was a scientist and he was correct. Big difference.

    I’ve not posted a ton of comments with the same rants. Sorry, I’ve heard it all before and it rings hollow. Baseless claims are not welcome here. I have zero tolerance for dangerous nonsense, will not give it a platform, and I’m not going to waste my time responding to true believers.

  18. GiGi
    August 22, 2015 at 11:53 PM

    The supplement Tonalin CLA can cause heart problems, does Erin Elizabeth know if the Doctors who died of heart attacks were taking CLA?

  19. EEE
    September 3, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    It’s crazy, I think the Health Nut News site is one of the worst. And I am all for holistic health and medicine , but the woman who runs it lacks all credentials and is just trying to drum up more numbers for her site based on sensationalist tales she concocts. Gets an F in journalism.

  20. September 4, 2015 at 1:21 AM

    Not sure, but know many health sites who have stopped taking CLA.
    Good question. Though more than a couple were shot to death (by whom we don’t know) and one killed with a hammer.
    But with the others ? I’d like to know the answer to that too.

  21. Believeitornot
    September 4, 2015 at 1:55 AM

    Amen i think the same…

    Do you think the people who attack natural medicine ever looked at the statistics what kills most people?
    Nr.1 is…legally prescribed drugs 🙂

  22. September 4, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    Sort of wrong. Legally prescribed drugs have been run through a process to show that they are effective. Natural medicine has not. Therefore, it’s not even equivalent. Yep. Taking nothing won’t kill you but one of the side effects is that you die from your curable illness.

  23. EEE
    September 4, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    It’s why it’s more important than ever to provide real data, not sensationalist BS articles ala ” Health Nut News”, a site run by a *nutter*.

  24. Martha
    September 10, 2015 at 8:47 AM

    Why on earth would you even say that you have “an open mind” to the idea that these deaths are “connected “?

  25. EEE
    September 10, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    She’s at it again: deleting comments left and right with those who disagree with her quackery tales.

  26. Beullah
    September 16, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    A skeptic is a person who strongly prefers to accept as fact only that for which there is verifiable and reasoned evidence, and who is prepared to put aside that fact should the evidence suggest this be done. That is a simplified definition and begs several questions such as “what is a fact?” and “what about things that are not exactly facts?” and so on. It also does not address the circumstance when things are unclear. But you get the idea.

  27. September 16, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    Not quite.

    Beullah: You seem extremely angry. As I’ve made clear, I do not attack the person, I WILL attack ideas. You, however, have crossed the line with the following comments that I am posting here as screen caps so people can see that you have threatened me and are not suitable to have a reasoned discussion right now.

    Screen Cap 1

    Screen cap 2

    Beullah has replied to an email I sent to her asking what has “her” particularly upset. Beullah made additional unsubstantiated claims that I am “petty and very cruel to speak ill of the dead”, that I am naive and have a small mind as well as being part of the “ignorant mass”.

    So, there is no point in having a discussion when we are so far apart to start. A shame. Yeah, I’m the “ignorant” one.

  28. Shaftinasia
    September 16, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    I imagine EEE must be talking about idoubtit not publishing contrary comments. I made no such offensive comments as Beulah and I don’t entirely agree with the connections made about the doctors’ deaths. However, I did write a comment in this string that I am certain was censored by idoubtit and her colleagues. It seems that whenever someone furnishes facts or logic that disagree with the line towed by people without backgrounds in hard science or statistics, they don’t get published–at least not here. Evidently, the moderators want to paint the picture that everyone that is aware of the limitations of modern medicine and science or the influence of corporate and political agenda on medicine and science, is some foolish conspiracy theorist.
    Rather, they should be aware that true thinkers consider facts and context and history and probabilities in coming to preliminary conclusions–recognizing that science is not about proving what you know but about exploring what you don’t know.

    Back when this string started, for example, I laid out quite clearly how the likelihood of the doctor deaths being related–based purely on statistics–was significantly higher than the chance that their deaths were unrelated. That gives credence (though not direct support, mind you) to the idea that there is some connection. In other words, it is not crazy to question why these doctors all died in similar ways, in a similar timeframe and were working in similar directions. To intellectuals, that would be intriguing and worth exploring, even if for interesting discussion. Evidently, to idoubtit and her colleagues, however, that would go against some benchmark of rationality that they’ve vaguely defined and scarcely follow.

    Let me just say this. I write a column for one of the most highly circulated periodicals on the internet (with a page rank in the 30s) and I am that close to writing a story about forum censorship and bias: where I include on the list of perpetrators.

    My reason for saying this? Straighten up and consider discourse, not censorship, or get called out!

  29. September 16, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    There is a difference between censorship and moderation. See our comments policy clearly linked before the comments section. We do not allow for people to have a soapbox for unsupported ideas here. There are PLENTY of other places for that. You can also start your own blog. It’s free.

    I have every right to boot comments out. IT’S MY SITE.

    I’m telling a coherent story, not getting sidetracked by worthless or unhelpful comments. We have standards.

  30. Beullah
    September 16, 2015 at 6:57 PM

    To clarify what I consider to be speaking ill of the dead! The word “Quack” or “quackery” is not professional or constructive. I take great offense to those who say they are having a discussion while insulting others. Miss Doubtful set the tone with abusive aggressive behavior by atacking Dr Gonzales with insults such as “Quack” . Did Dr Gonzales attack Miss Doubtful personally? No! So why is she such a hypocrite as to say she only attacks “the idea” not the person. Calling someone names is a personal attack.

  31. September 16, 2015 at 9:19 PM

    No where on the page did I call Gonzales a “quack”. You are mistaking the source “Quackwatch” that I linked to. That tells me you did not carefully read the piece and are simply disparaging me because it makes you feel better.

    You have totally missed the point of this piece.

    You told me not to contact you even though you continue to post comments to my site and threatened me.

    You say I am a hypocrite when you have done several things you disparage me for doing (that I didn’t even do.)

    Your behavior was despicable. If this is indicative of the kind of people supporting Gonzales, then that suggests there is no foundation for his claims and people resort to insults as a last resort.

  32. William Gonzalez
    October 12, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    I have no empirical evidence, but I strongly suspect Nicholas died from electrolyte imbalance; hypokalemia. Frequent enemas and “purges” could have caused that. When an otherwise healthy individual, without a history of heart problems, dies from a heart attack, one possibility is electrolytes. Anybody who believes he was assassinated by “big pharma” is not worth arguing with. Just nod your head and walk away.

  33. William Gonzalez
    October 12, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    There is no such thing as “alternative” medicine. A treatment either works, or it does not. When there is solid scientific evidence that a particular treatment works, it gets absorbed into modern medical practice. Barry Marshall was initally viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism when he first claimed that H. Pylori caused ulcers, but when he presented his evidence, he ended up winning the Nobel Prize. It is now standard treatment to give a two week dose of antibiotics.

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