Entire communities throw untold sums of money at the slimmest (nonexistent, really) hope that these patients will recover at the Burzynski Clinic, and the Observer finds this uplifting.
Uncritically giving a cancer quack uncritical press? How could we possibly have mistaken that for promotion? We should have just called it as it was: a shoddy, pathetic, and irresponsible attempt at journalism.
The Internet apologizes for not making this clearer.
Now do you f*cking job and protect Billie, her family, and your readers from this immense fraud.
Please consider donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. They turn nobody away, even if they can’t pay. Unlike Burzynski.
Written by Stephen Pritchard, the Readers’ Editor, the response attempts to justify its coverage and blames bloggers for “aggression, sanctimony and a disregard for the facts”. It is a disgraceful and self-serving response. Pritchard claimed their story was one of “courage and generosity”. No it was not. It was a story of exploitation of courage and generosity. The Observer still fails to understand this.
The response fails to address the serious concerns raised about the article, and instead appears to attack those concerned for insensitivity and a lack of understanding. This is incredible. I have found almost without exception, the dozens of blog posts written about this story to be compassionate, insightful and targeted at those who should have known better – not the families of cancer sufferers – but those promoting the clinic, raising money for untested treatments, and the clinic itself.
Pritchard justifies the approach by saying “the point that is being lost in the vitriol that is flying around the internet” is that the treatment provides some hope for the parents.” My original article suggested that it was cruel to raise false hope. The costs involved are not just financial, but carry pain and risks for those being treated. In any medical treatment decision, there are benefits and risks.
The “treatment” also provides a large lump of money for the clinic. Giving it to a church might also provide some hope for the parents, but would the Observer write a human-interest story about a campaign to raise £200,000 to pay the Catholic church to pray for a child with a brain tumor?