Francine Scrayen bills herself as Classical Homeopath. Classical homeopathy is defined as “a form of homeopathy in which the remedy consists of highly diluted animal, drug, plant, or mineral substance that most closely matches the essence of the malady and the totality of symptoms.” The only homeopathic remedy that is mentioned in the coroner’s report is Plumbum, or Lead. Scrayen does not mention which dilution she used, but she does say that “…there is no physical of it there any more,” which would be any dilution beyond 12C, as per Avogadro’s Limit. A little more of what this means later.
Let’s take a little closer look at this “remedy”. The one she most likely used would be Plumbum met. This preparation is recommended for a multitude of conditions, the critical ones here would be constipation and abdominal pain. I could find no recommendation of it for colorectal cancer – for a good reason, most homeopaths do not want to expose themselves to criminal charges.
Scrayen claimed during the inquest that she did not know Penelope had cancer, but this claim is anything but believable. She admitted that she had received Penelope’s MRI report and read it, though claiming that she had not discussed medical terminology “…because I do not know anything about it”. Now I’m not a MD, let alone a radiologist, and I would need to see Penelope’s MRI report to know what exactly it said, but if the words ‘metastatic’ or ‘tumour’ appeared in the report, even a layman can understand those, or look them up in a medical dictionary. So what is Scrayen? Is she completely clueless and read the MRI report only for show or did she understand what it meant and went on to treat Penelope’s cancer with homeopathy anyway? Neither option leaves her looking competent or trustworthy.
Let’s talk a little about homeopathy and its efficacy (ok, I know most of you will know all this already, but some might not). Homeopathic remedies are commonly sold in dilutions from 3C to 200C. This means a drop of the mother tincture is diluted by 99 drops of water, succussed (banged) on a hard but elastic surface (homeopaths claim succussion will ‘activate’ or ‘potentize’ the substance). The end result would be 1C dilution. Then a drop of this dilution is taken, again diluted with 99 drops of water and succussed again. This process is repeated until the desired dilution is achieved.
When the dilution reaches its 12th stage, Avogadro’s Limit kicks in. At this point there is likely not a single molecule of the original substance left. 12C is not, however, the most used dilution. The inventor of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, formulated the so-called Law of Infinitesimals and believed that the more diluted the preparation was, the more effect it had. He therefore recommended 30C as the most useful remedy in most cases. At 30C the original substance has been diluted by a factor of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, and there are no longer any molecules of the original substance left. It is just water at that stage.
Modern homeopaths try to explain this little problem away by “memory of water” or quantum mechanics – the last of which they clearly do not understand in the slightest. No scientific evidence exists for the memory of water claim, since double-blinded experiments failed to reproduce Benveniste’s original claimed results. Moreover, liquid water does not maintain ordered networks of molecules for longer times than a small fraction of a nanosecond. Talk about bad Use Before dates!
The next question is, naturally, how do homeopaths know which preparation to select for which symptom? Classical homeopathy diagnoses by symptoms alone, as Hahnemann recommended (See Hahnemann’s Organon, § 1-6). Hahnemann formulated what he called The Law of Similars, after a dose of Peruvian bark, a source of quinine, which was used in treating malaria gave him malaria-like symptoms (it is known that an allergy to quinine will produce the results Hahnemann experienced and a non-allergic person will not get the same reaction). Hahnemann went on experimenting with various substances to see what kind of symptoms they would produce in a healthy individual and to assign the remedy for a condition that most closely resembled the symptoms.
Homeopaths still use this kind of testing, called “proving” and it does not resemble a clinical trial at all. The new substance to be tested is sent to a manufacturer of homeopathic preparations where it is duly diluted and succussed. The batch is sent back to the master provers with a single vial of pure water (ok, all of them are pure water, I know) as the control. This is inadequate as the placebo arm, to say the least. The next stage is to distribute the vials of the preparation to the provers, who then for several days or weeks keep a diary of any symptoms and dreams they may experience. Yes, I said dreams. Dreams are apparently major evidence for what the homeopathic remedies can do. Once the proving period is ended, the master provers collect the diaries and prepare a list of symptoms the provers have recorded. The preparation is then judged to be good for those symptoms. The New York School of homeopathy recently proved Musca domestica, the house fly. The proving summary is quite eye-opening, a less scientific and convincing testing is very difficult to imagine.
When all of the above is taken into consideration, it becomes clear why Francine Scrayen had no chance of ever curing Penelope Dingle of her cancer. She was using a preparation which had no original substance left, and it was one which even the homeopaths did not recommend for what Scrayen, judging from the available evidence, knew was cancer. Moreover, the remedy was based on unsubstantiated speculation and assigned to a condition by pure guesswork and imagination. Penelope Dingle was doomed the moment she decided to trust something as useless as homeopathy.