Deadly Blessings: Faith Healing on Trial

Richard Brenneman, Author
Richard Brenneman, Author Prometheus Books $34 (390p) ISBN 978-0-87975-580-5
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Three California court cases, all involving what Brenneman ( Fuller's Earth ) calls ``alternative healing,'' are the focus of this probe. The author, a Sacramento-based reporter and former Christian Scientist, first considers a Christian Science couple whose 17-month-old son died of bacterial meningitis when they put faith in God and refused medical care. They were cleared of involuntary manslaughter charges. The second case involves Jose Burgarin, ``Brother Joe,'' a Filipino psychic surgeon in Sacramento who went to jail after a sting operation exposed quackery. Lastly, Brenneman delves into the strange saga of Betty Eisner, a psychologist whose practice combined the use of LSD, communal acting-out of hostility and, according to former members of her therapeutic community, group sex. Her license was revoked after a patient died during a hot mineral bath session. Even though Brenneman's cases seem well-chosen examples of irresponsibiity, the material does not support his blanket condemnation of nonconventional healing. (July)
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