Quacks get legal recognition
Last Wednesday a trio of judges held that quacks are responsible for their diagnoses, and can therefore be prosecuted when something goes wrong. The case was brought by the Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (Association against Quackery) and the Stichting Skepsis (Skepsis Foundation) against the public prosecutor, after the latter had decided to drop prosecution against two “alternative” physicians and “faith healer” Jomanda. The alternative healers had been accused of leading comedian Sylvia Millecam to her death in 2001 by steering her away from regular medicine. Millecam had been diagnosed with breast cancer, from which she died.
The court held (Dutch) that the association and the foundation had standing, and that care givers have a care duty, even if they are not accredited. This means that quacks who were able operate in relative safety in the Netherlands will now have to face the criminal consequences of their “healing” practices gone bad, just like regular physicians.