Faith healer says: “Always consult a physician”

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When faith healer Jomanda took to the stage yesterday for one of her sessions in Bergen op Zoom, Noord Brabant, she had a big sign with her that said “Raadpleeg altijd een arts” (“Always consult a physician”), an odd move perhaps for somebody who believes she is a healing medium between this world and ‘God’. On her website she even claims that “doctors merely apply the bandages, only God heals.” Jomanda was recently cleared from charges (Dutch) of contributing to comedy actress Sylvia Millecam’s death.

Millecam had been struggling with breast cancer and had been avoiding traditional medicine. The alternative ‘healers’ she sought out suggested that she merely had a bacterial infection, after which she died. The case against Jomanda and two ‘alternative doctors’ was unique in that for the first time a court held it had the authority to address the care duty of somebody who was not a legal care giver. Indeed, the court seems to take this for granted (Dutch).

The court considered it proven that Jomanda had violated her care duty, but cleared her of the charges because Millecam had also sought regular help during the time she consulted the medium, and that the medium merely had a “comforting” influence, not a decisive one. The justice department is appealing.

(Photo by Mike Locke, some rights reserved)

3 Comments »

  1. Do religious faith-healing Christian clerics get a license from the state, pass a test, or secure professional liability insurance or are they just personally liable for damages in civil tort process?

    Comment by Neil — July 6, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  2. They do not get certifications, and this was a criminal case.

    This and a previous court held that any care giver, regardless of their qualifications, has a responsibility to their clients. This court limited that responsibility to a passive one: a non-qualified care giver may not keep a client away from qualified care. Although the court held it proven that this was exactly what Jomanda had done, it also considered that the victim had availed herself of plenty of access to regular, qualified care, and that the accused’s voice should not be seen in isolation.

    Comment by Branko Collin — July 6, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  3. Fascinating. In light of the acquittal, is a civil case possible against her (w/regard to Millecam), like wrongful death? I know nothing about Dutch law, except for a few immigration an and municipal bits, I admit.

    Comment by Darth Paul — July 6, 2009 @ 11:33 pm

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