By Zachary Blackwell

Elm Staff Writer

In a tragic case regarding what can happen when an unhealthy person is treated with alternative medicine, Edgar Lopez, a 13-year- old boy in the Los Angeles area, died from complications of his Type-I diabetes back in 2014. This is sad enough on its own, but even worse is the fact that his death was entirely preventable. Furthermore, it’s apparent that someone else was actually responsible for Lopez’s death.

Timothy Morrow, 84, a self-proclaimed herbalist, went to trial and was found guilty on one count of practicing medicine without a license. He pleaded no contest to an additional charge of misdemeanor child abuse that was likely to produce great bodily injury or death, according to NBC News.

He has been sentenced to 120 days in jail and 48 months of summary probation for his guilty charge.

Morrow initially attempted to treat Lopez’s Type-I diabetes in 2014, but instead of using insulin (the medical standard), he prescribed herbal medicine to him, claiming that insulin prescribed by doctors “was poison,” and that the health system profits by keeping people sick, according to ABC News.

Morrow also warned Lopez and his par- ents against seeking treatment at a hospital.

Ultimately, Morrow prescribed lavender oil to treat him, which was applied to his spine and intended to help him relax.

Morrow’s prescribed herbal treatment did not help Lopez, and his health continued to deteriorate. He suffered from a series of symptoms eventually leading to cardiac arrest, and was finally taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center the next day. It’s likely that if he had received medical treatment earlier, he would have survived.

In addition to Morrow’s current charges and sentence, he faces a $5,000 fine and restitution to the victim’s family for funeral expenses, according to NBC News. He was also warned against continuing his fraudulent acts of discouraging proper medical treatment in the future, or else he could potentially be charged with murder.

Morrow ran a YouTube channel with the goal of promoting herbal treatment as opposed to traditional medicine. The court ordered Morrow to take down his videos, which included claims Morrow has made against insulin, comparing it to injection of “absolute poison” in the bodies of children.

The fact that Morrow was able to advertise his products as worthwhile alternatives to medical treatment when dealing with serious illnesses such as diabetes, and the fact that he has been doing it for so long, is disturbing to say the least. Without a proper medical license, he was profiting from pretending to offer treatment, which is ironic considering how he railed against the evils of hospitals and trained, professional doctors.

With how easy it can be to get or spread inaccurate or false information, it is of paramount importance that patients and their families are able to correctly identify methods of proper treatment or otherwise know where to consult a medical professional.

The death that resulted from Morrow’s neglect for proper procedure is even more tragic because Lopez’s mother believed Mor- row’s products would work. In fact, she said that the family was “brainwashed” by Morrow and that the herbalist seemed “like a god” to her, according to ABC News.

This unfortunate case is an example of why it is important to remain diligent when determining the best way to treat disease and remain healthy. It may seem appealing to try something new and unconventional, but it is ultimately more important to use what medical professionals have already agreed on.

That way, you can guarantee the safety and health of your loved ones and avoid contributing to a scam like Morrow’s.

The Elm

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