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Wednesday
Feb162011

Scammed to death: How Francine Scrayen killed Penelope Dingle.

On 25 August 2005 Penelope Dingle passed away from rectal cancer. At the time she was being treated by Homeopath Francine Scrayen. Who told her that homeopathy could cure her cancer. This tragic storey was covered last year.

Perth's Penelope Dingle, the wife of prominent Perth environmental and nutritional toxicologist Peter Dingle, agreed to be treated with alternative therapies and refused to have surgery to remove the cancer soon after she was diagnosed in 2003.

Instead, she adhered to a strict diet and regular homeopath treatments before becoming so unwell she had to have emergency surgery to remove a bowel obstruction.

By this stage, the cancer had spread and two years later, in 2005, Dingle died from complications of the cancer. -Perth Now

But now the Coroners report has been released and the conclusion is quite damming of Francine Scrayen.

In my view the deceased’s rectal cancer was present and causing bleeding and other symptoms from at least 31 October 2001.  During the period 31 October 2001 until at least the end of November 2002, the deceased regularly described the symptoms of her rectal cancer to a homeopath, Francine Scrayen.  It was not until November 2002 that Mrs Scrayen and the deceased discussed the possibility of reporting her rectal bleeding to a medical practitioner and it was not until 5 December 2002 that she first reported those problems to a doctor.

I accept that Mrs Scrayen  believed that the deceased had suffered from haemorrhoids years earlier and the bleeding and pain was “an old symptom coming back”, but a competent health professional would have been alarmed by the developing symptoms and would have strongly advised that appropriate medical investigations be conducted without delay.

Mrs Scrayen was not a competent health professional. I accept that Mrs Scrayen had minimal understanding of relevant health issues, unfortunately that did not prevent her from treating the deceased as a patient.

This case has highlighted the importance of patients suffering from cancer making  informed, sound decisions in relation to their treatment.  In this case the deceased paid a terrible price for poor decision making.
 
Unfortunately the deceased was surrounded by misinformation and poor science.  Although her treating surgeon and mainstream general practitioner provided clear and reliable information, she received mixed messages from a number of different sources which caused her to initially delay necessary surgery and ultimately decide not to have surgery until it was too late. -Coronors Report; conclusion.

Until our authorities start taking consumer protection seriously, callous individuals like Francine Scrayen will cheat, exploit and swindle the sick and desperate in the pursuit of profit. Francine Scrayen scammed Penelope Dingle to death by selling ineffective treatments that do not work. Had Penelope Dingle made better choices about treatment she may very well have survived her cancer; unfortunatly she became the victim of a fraud who ultimately took not just her money but also her life.

Francine Scrayen who is not a medical professional killed her victim by selling bogus treatment in place of legitimate medicine. Mrs Scrayen is a fraud happily endangering lives in the pursuit of profit.

Reader Comments (16)

People will say Penelope Dingle chose this path, that she chose to risk alternative treatment. It seems, to me, that she chose to live and to do everything she could to survive - but was fed misinformation by several "anti-reality" people who she trusted. She did not choose to die in this way.

Have any of those influential people really been held to account as a result? Have the state or federal governments acted to prevent this sort of thing happening again? It doesn't appear so. Ms Dingle seems to have died for nothing and more people will succumb to the same misinformation spouted, in some cases, by the same people who continue to promote quackery and demonise real medicine, despite knowing almost nothing about it.

February 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Scrayen is disgusting scum.
How anybody can stand by and let another human being die such a horrific death and do nothing (homeopathy is nothing) is beyond me. I am all for the re-introduction of burning witches like this.

February 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGraeme Scientician

If I had an issue I would seek medical advice 100%, especially this. When I heard on Australia Story what that cancer could do, my god, its just horrible. However, I don't think homopathic remedies are to blame. They work. But, obviously, you face an issue like that you don't go and just think such remedies will work only. As for the comment about burning witches that is pathetic, but this person is accountable, Penny may have made her own choices but that practioner is responsible in some way. What a horrible mess. May she rest in peace. If one does not beileve homopathic remedies work that's fine, others do, but to rely on them 100% - no that's just not good.

July 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

For the rest of us, fraud is a criminal offense - but for homeopaths anything goes, even homocide.

July 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam

Sorry Michael. Actually homeopathy doesn't work and there is strong evidence to support this assertion.

July 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSian Morton

Michael, Numerous clinical trials over the past 200 years have consistently demonstrated that homeopathy has no efficacy beyond that of a placebo and thats exactly what we would expect, considering that it has no active ingredients.
Our society failed to protect Penelope Dingle and the many others like her from the quacks and charlatans that make a good living, offering false hope to the desperately sick. The used car market has better regulation, however you cannot strike off a homeopath for malpractice because thats exactly what their quackery is based on, lies and deceit. Penelope Dingle didn't make an informed choice, she was lied to.

July 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGraeme Hanigan

Scrayen is disgusting scum.

'...disgusting, parasitic scum.'

How the fuck she has the arrogance to still practice, and be allowed to, blows my mind. (Just Google her name.)

There is a special place reserved in hell for people like Scrayen.

July 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSkeet

Well, I think there is more than one person to blame. "HE" has never seemed rational to me. OTT, and into alternative treatments with no academic qualifications in the areas he was spruking on about . Who cares that HE has a PhD. He is not a medical doctor and dabbled into stuff he knew nothing about. Any man with testosterone and a brain in his head would have got his partner proper medical treatment. The sisters are to be commended for their efforts. Well done!

July 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFelicity

After reading all the Coroner's transcripts and anything else to do with this tragedy, I found it interesting to see people have already got the stakes out! Penelope chose how she wanted her life to progress. Tragically she trusted people closest to her with little or no informed information about rectal cancer. Even Caroline Jones in her introduction claiming Penelope died of a common cancer-Rectal cancer was inaccurate. Bowel cancer and Breast cancer maybe so but not rectal cancer. Last I read. I do know it is usually deadly and incredibly debilitating. The professionals who diagnosed Penny's rectal cancer didn't do as good a job as the Registrar did when she was in emergency for a bowel resection. After the MRI and other tests it would have been clearly evident that she had rectal cancer. Professionally speaking, they should have told her exactly how it would be if she had rectal cancer in 1. an early stage.2. An advanced stage, 3 An end stage. They read Penny and her partner was against any intervention and believed in alternative medical practices. Penny and Peter were already under stress as they wanted to have children and Penny was feeling very unwell and probably overwhelmed with not conceiving. Penny followed a road misguided by two main people who she trusted implicity. She didn't believe in herself enough to take control of her own life sadly. We are all responsible for our own lives. The minute we believe someone else is is when we should seek professional advice of the highest kind. Alternative medicines can work well for some emotional transient problems I guess, I don't want to be a total skeptic. However, it is empirical in most cases. Life is best lived in balance. Taking all information into account and then making your own informed decisions. The saddest thing about this whole case is that all her loving sisters didn't step in strongly enough when they could clearly see she was in trouble. I can't believe her partner was a passive participant with all his knowledge. In fact, I don't believe in anything he respresents. RIP Penny. Good luck with her book--- family.

July 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

a very sad story . i feel for all her loved ones .
we need to educate the masses that homeopathy is simply health fraud and thus option list for serious ailments

July 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergrant

My Dad has been diagnosed with rectal cancer.

So far the treatment has been radiotherapy and chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, and surgery to remove it, scheduled for September 8.

He says the treatment so far has not been particularly traumatic, except for the hordes of spectators watching as radioisotopes are applied to the affected area.

I'll keep you posted if you like. That way you can participate in his loss of dignity.

You self-opinionated wankers make me sick

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterpete

@pete so in your opinion people who are against the treatment of cancer with homeopathic remedies are self-opinionated wankers? interesting viewpoint considering your father is undergoing chemotherapy for his own cancer.

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWT

@pete, please tell us more about your dad...how did the surgery go? Is he doing OK? My best to you and your dad.

September 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTony

Penny was a beautiful person with a very positive spirit when she was my creative writing tutor at uni. There was an incredible energy whenever she walked in the classroom. I even remember her breaking out the champagne and bringing us all glasses when she announced to us that she had asked her partner to marry her and he'd said yes. She'd write reams of constructive notes in response to any pieces we submitted to her. Somehow we knew so little about her, really, but she touched us all. I only learnt at the beginning of this year that this story I had heard on the news so many times was actually *the* Penny Brown that my classmates and I had loved so much. Such a tragically preventable outcome for such a wonderful spirit. RIP Penny.

October 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJacinta

Hi Dan,

Great blog as always. This case still makes me sad abc angry years later. Just one small error if like to point out. You state in the first paragraph, "On 25 August 2005 Penelope Dingle passed away from rectal cancer. At the time she was being treated by Homeopath Francine Scrayen." Mrs Dingle was no longer being treated by Scrayen at that time. She stopped treatment with her after her bowel surgery in October 2003. The damage had already been done by that time, of course.

Keep up the good work!

Cheers,

Ros

I'm sure you've seen this. A link to an unsent letter from Mrs Dingle to Scrayen. http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2011/s3260776.htm

May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRos Byrne

Dan, I would like to thank you for your Journal documenting my sister Penelope's suffering and death. I can add from my own experience over the last three years (since the Coroner's Findings were passed down in 2010) that the 'self regulated associations' such as the AHA, appear unable to take any action at all in regulating or disciplining their members, who continue to prey on the vulnerable and receive private health fund rebates for their advice and 'treatment'.

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTONI

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