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Is Big Pharma Killing Holistic Doctors?

by Mike Rothschild

July 28, 2015

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Donate The rumors started going around in June, 2015. Holistic doctors, natural healers who relied on the power of herbs and energy to cure the diseases that science couldn’t, were starting to die mysteriously. They were murdered in their homes, “suicided” or just dropping dead out of nowhere. Others were vanishing without a trace. And the alternative medicine community believed Big Pharma was behind it, knocking off the resistors to their plan to force drugs and vaccinations on all of us.

Or at least that’s what a bunch of Facebook posts and fringe articles, one of them written by the girlfriend of alt-med pioneer Joseph Mercola, would have you believe. The crux of the conspiracy is that the government, their shills in the pharmaceutical industry, and the vaccine pushers at Merck are killing anyone who’s dared to speak out against the racket they’ve got going in making the American people sick, then selling them expensive cures for their diseases.

But in reality, the “dead holistic doctors” story is what happens when a large group of people who are loosely connected to one another (sometimes so loosely that there’s really no connection at all) happen to pass away of the causes that people pass away from. It’s no different than the “dead bankers” meme that was going around last year " a list of people with tenuous connections to the finance industry who died, mostly of suicide, in a short period of time. And while conspiracy theorists saw it as the “powers that be” tying up loose ends, it’s far more likely that when you have a big enough cohort, statistically, some of them will die " especially by their own hand in an industry as stressful as finance.

So what did actually happen with the “five dead doctors?”

The list that’s been going around social media usually consists of the following people, all supposedly holistic doctors or naturopaths, and all dead of “mysterious circumstances” after they’d had encounters with “the feds” " ie, the US government:

• James Jeffrey Bradstreet, an autism researcher and holistic doctor in Georgia, dead of a suicide
• Bruce Hedendal, DC Ph.D, a chiropractor based in Miami, died of natural causes
• Brian Holt, a chiropractor in North Carolina, died of natural causes
• Lisa Riley, an osteopath specializing in emergency medicine based in Georgia, murdered (allegedly) by her husband
• Teresa Sievers, MD, a holistic doctor from Florida, murdered (allegedly) by her husband

Other names sometimes added to the “death list” include:

• Ronald Schwartz, a retired obstetrician licensed in Georgia and Tennessee, shot dead in what looks to be a home invasion
• Amanda Crews, a physician in Modesto, California, shot dead in a murder suicide
• Jeffrey Whiteside, MD, a retired pulmonologist who disappeared in Wisconsin and was found nearly a month later on a vacant lot, dead of a gunshot to the head, with a .22 caliber gun nearby

Among the missing are:

• Patrick Fitzpatrick, MD, a retired ophthalmologist living in North Dakota, who vanished on a walk
• Three doctors who disappeared in Mexico for as-yet unknown reasons

Just like the “dead bankers” meme, even just looking at the professions on the list takes the wind out of the conspiracy. They are NOT all holistic doctors. An osteopath can be considered a holistic doctor, but is still a physician licensed to practice medicine. And while chiropractic is certainly in the alternative medicine spectrum, it’s not exactly a profession that Big Pharma is looking to rub out on a regular basis. There are over 44,000 chiropractors in the US, and it’s not even close to an outlier for two to die around the same time of natural causes. While Holt was young (though he might have had health problems), Hedendal was 67, and quite likely had a heart attack after a strenuous athletic event.

One of the other doctors was a pulmonologist, one was an ophthalmologist, and one obstetrician. Two were retired. What would “Big Pharma” hope to achieve by killing them? What’s their link to holistic medicine?

It’s also not true that they all had had “run-ins” with the Federal government. In fact, the only two had. One is Bradstreet, a controversial figure in the autism field who was derided by mainstream medicine for his assertion that vaccines cause autism. But why kill him, and not a more well-known anti-vaccine proponent, like Andrew Wakefield, Mercola, or even Jim Carrey?

Bradstreet was indeed facing down an investigation from the FDA, but not simply for being a critic of vaccines " he was actively involved in selling a quack autism cure called GcMAF. In fact, Bradstreet’s link to the drug extended to a clinic in Switzerland where five patients took it and died. Without a suicide note, we can’t know what caused him to take his own life. Maybe it was the investigation, or the guilt over the deaths he’d been linked to, or something else that caused him to kill himself. It certainly doesn’t mean he was “taken out” by the government, and the fact that he shot himself in the chest doesn’t either. People commit suicide all kinds of ways, including shooting themselves in the chest. It’s just not that uncommon.

Additionally, Hedendal had served prison time for federal tax evasion, and had been forced to pay nearly three quarters of a million dollars in restitution. But this was about ten years ago, and doesn't seem to have anything to do with his death - though the stress of prison time and a massive fine certainly can't be good for one's heart.

None of the other doctors appear to have any connection to a federal investigation. The three doctors who disappeared in Mexico certainly didn’t " according to Snopes, they aren’t connected to any American medical practice, nor were they being investigated by the US government. How does the US government investigate doctors in Mexico?

Sadly, three of the doctors on the list appear to have fallen victim to a much too common fate " death at the hands of their spouse. In the US, between 20 and 30 percent of female murder victims are killed by their intimate partner, and 3-4 women are murdered every day in the United States by husbands, partners or boyfriends. While the cases of Crews, Sievers and Riley haven’t been solved yet, statistically, there’s a far higher chance that they did indeed die at the hands of their partners than at the hands of Big Pharma goons " an occurrence that’s never actually been proven to have taken place.

We’re now at the point in the conspiracy where any doctor anywhere who dies, no matter how old, what their field, or what happened, is going to be lumped in with the conspiracy. And so you’ll start to see more names tacked on to the “death list” and the fervor over “dead doctors” growing stronger among those predisposed to see a nefarious plot.

But what is the plot?

Take out the conspiratorial elements (and indeed, the conspiracy posts are full of weasel words, assumptions, and random bits of vague hearsay) and what do you have left? A group of people in disparate fields spread across the country who died of disparate causes. The fact that a couple of them happened to work in holistic medicine, and a couple of them happened to live in Florida and Georgia is simply not statistically significant. Millions of people work in the medical profession, and statistically, some of them are going to die every day. These are random occurrences that look like a pattern if you want it to, not an actual pattern.

But, of course, they aren’t just random occurrences. Anything can be a conspiracy if you squint hard enough when you look at it. But when you squint too hard, you miss the real story " the human toll exacted by intimate partner violence, suicide, and crime.

They’re young people who shouldn’t have died, women who shouldn’t have been murdered by their partners, retired people who should have lived out their lives with dignity, not vanished and been found weeks later. These are the stories that should be told about these “dead doctors” " not salacious nonsense about Big Pharma.

by Mike Rothschild

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