Misha Norland – the provings from somewhere over the rainbow
How is it possible that so many attacks have been made on homeopathy in the last couple of years ? The answer is very simple. Modern homeopathic gurus have successfully removed any trace of the empirical method and any trace of science and present their own rationalistic transcendental theories.
Let’s start with provings. Modern provings, do not comply with the Hahnemann protocol anymore. The authors and conductors of modern provings proudly clam that they are conducted according to Jeremy Sherr’s, Paul Herscu’s. Kent’s or someone else’s proving protocol and methodology.
Indeed, it seems to be very fashionable to use the methods and approaches as defined by modern gurus. This fashionable approach holds more appeal than strictly scientific double blind trial methods used by modern medicine.
If these new methods are indeed better, the information from new provings should be even more reliable than ever before. Why is it then, that Roger Van Zandvoort, the author of the biggest homeopathic repertory, took it upon himself to remove 130,000 modern additions from the 2009 version of his repertory? This was almost one quarter of his newer source material. In doing so, not surprisingly, the repertory became more accurate in usage. (http://hpathy.com/homeopathy-repertory/complete-repertory-2009/).
Modern repertories are often criticized as containing too many new remedies and some repertories even went as far as creating “classic” versions that disregard all new materials altogether. If the new provings were accurate there would be no need for this.
Misha Norland is the Founder and Principal of The School of Homeopathy, Devon, England. Despite the fact that his proving methods are very unconventional and despite the fact that the conclusions he draws from the results of the provings are even more controversial than the methodology, his school has conducted about 25 provings, which are now included in most of the modern repertories.
One of the early clues that make it clear that the reader should be very cautious before using the results of these “provings” is the stellar company of Patrons of the school – Jan Scholten, Rajan Sankaran, Frans Vermeulen, Jeremy Sherr, Miranda Castro and Massimo Mangialavori. It comes as no surprise that the methodologies used by this school and by Misha Norland are far from Hahnemannian.
Proving of AIDS nosode
Before even starting to talk about whether this proving is Hahnemannian or not, let’s quote the introductory comments:
“The procedures for conducting a proving were laid out by Hahnemann in § 105-145 of the Organon and on the whole there has been little need to change them. They have been commented on and clarified by:
1 JT Kent Lectures on Homœopathic Philosophy Lecture XXVIII
2 Jeremy Sherr Dynamics and Methodology of Provings
3 Paul Herscu Provings.”
Clearly, the methodology of Hahnemann was not strictly followed, but REPLACED by methodology of Jeremy Sherr, Paul Herscu and J.T. Kent.
The section The group proving gives us even more unsettling overview of the methodology:
“…There appears to be a teletherapeutic effect produced by the field generated by the assembled provers, their experiences being in resonance. The whole group is involved and those members who have not taken the remedy may be as affected as those that have.
This means that the use of control provers who are given placebo is not possible as they are also likely to prove the remedy. Because of the group’s field effect It also means there is no need to repeat the dose if symptoms do not occur immediately…”
So, in other words, the observation is, that regardless of whether the person is taking placebo or remedy, their symptoms will be the symptoms of the remedy.
How is this possible? A clue might be gained by the section The Proving:
“This stimulus, perhaps because it is amplified by the many co-experiencers, and is ‘reawakened’ at monthly gatherings when experiences are recounted, is sufficient to produce long range effects.”
It I understand it correctly, provers actually exchange experiences about the remedy on a monthly basis. It is therefore clear that this “ teletherapeutic field” that mysteriously effects the group is simply interaction between provers. The desire to succeed and to be special is one of basic human traits. If other provers hear someone talking about interesting transcendental experiences, you can bet that they will start experiencing something similar. Mind is a mysterious thing and if you rely on dreams and mental images to give you the true meaning of an experience (things so easily influenced by wanting to experience something special), your experiences will be shaped by your interactions with other provers and by a wanting to experience something special.
Interestingly, the proving starts with everyone talking about mental images and impression immediately after taking the remedy. So, if one of the provers knows the remedy (and some of them do, since in some of the proving even the conductors of the provings take the remedy), this will set the tone of the proving and reveal whatever “essence” the conductors of the proving want to reveal.
This could also throw some light on another statement from the section The Proving:
“ Results, of the initial provings, though portraying some symptom pattern, did not convey the ‘shape’ of the remedy. Therefore, I sent some pillules to Mariette Honig in Holland who carried out a similarly exhaustive, yet, ultimately unilluminating, proving… However, the picture of the nosode emerged with flying colours when in 1994 we carried out two group provings amongst students at The School of Homoeopathy…”
Well this is now easy to understand. Is it possible, that the initial provings followed a more strict protocol and the provers were not influenced by experiences of other provers, so the results were “unilluminating”? Is it also possible that once we get a group of provers that is influenced by the gatherings, the symptoms will be more transcendental and more uniform? The symptoms will be closer to the symptoms that the conductors of the proving want to see rather than the real symptoms.
How else could we explain the phenomena that people taking placebo experience the same symptoms as people taking the remedy? It has not been observed in clinical trials and the control group taking placebo is used effectively to disregard symptoms that are not caused by the remedy but are caused by environmental effects.
We have two different experiences.
Experiences from properly conducted clinical trials that repeatedly show that people taking placebo do not develop the symptoms of the remedy.
And we have “provings” following a different “method” which allows free exchange of impressions on meetings, where some of the provers know the remedy and where usually the proving does not include a control group taking placebo.
Both of these methods yield different results and while the results of the clinical trials follow scientific protocol, and their results can be rationally explained, the proving method of Misha Norland must introduce the phenomena of “teletherapeutic fields” and “telepathy” and other mysterious phenomena affecting other provers to explain the similarity of experience, when the answer is quite simple. If a group of people can have a free interaction and sharing of mental and dream experiences, it is conceivable that vagueness of these phenomena can be interpreted as having a similarity on a certain level. It is also conceivable that if there is a sharing of experiences, people will consciously or sub-consciously have a desire to experience something interesting leading to similar experiences, dreams, etc.
Proving of the Dream Potency
Some of the problems with this proving are that the original potentized substance are unknown.
A bigger problem however is, that out of a fairly small group of 15 provers only one was taking placebo. Out of 15 provers 10 were women, so it is not surprising that a common experience of the provers was, that they felt feminine.
Proving of Salix Fragilis
Once again, the proving group is incredibly small and unbalanced. Out of 7 people, there is only 1 person taking placebo and interestingly enough, the person taking the placebo is the only man in the group. Yes, all the provers were women.
The worst problem is though that this starts as a meditative proving and the “symptoms” of the only prover taking the placebo are taken into account as well. To give you an example of his mental stability, the symptom that was included was: “During the proving my wife and I both experienced the presence of a ghost in our house.“ This “symptom” was recorded in the proving despite the fact that the prover was taking placebo and despite the fact that no other prover has experienced this. So despite a very dissimilar experience, it was recorded in the proving.
Proving of North Wales Slate
This “proving” is a dream proving, where the provers have recorded their dreams which could be of value if the proving would not be supervised by the very people who taking the remedy as well and might have influenced the direction of the proving by sharing their experiences with the rest of the group and even discussing the substance the remedy was made of. Since the methodology is compromised in this way, the symptoms gained from this “proving” are of little value.
I could go on discussing the problems in other provings conducted by Misha Norland and the members of the School of Homeopathy, but I would present only more and more of the same evidence. Evidence being, that information gathered in these provings should not be used in homeopathy, because it was gathered using controversial and questionable non – scientific methods which do not produce objective information but may be largely influenced by the people conducting the proving.
Group and Proving Phenomena
To outline the method followed by Misha Norland and the School of Homeopathy, let’s discuss the article Group and Proving Phenomena by Misha Norland published in The Homoeopath No.72.
“At the School we have achieved results using a variety of stimuli: using
material substance, by holding it, looking at it, meditating upon it, as well as with the 30th to 200th potencies. We have invoked group provings by one member ‘holding’ the concept/image of a thing.”
In other words, aside from actually taking the remedy, other approaches are used. The “provers” either think about the substance, hold it or simply look at it. That’s right, there’s no need to even take the remedy. Apparently if you look, hold it or even think about it, you will experience this elusive “essence” of the remedy. It is not surprising that the “essences” of remedies gathered in this way prove the doctrine of signatures. If you think about a falcon, or look at it, what other “images” can you get than flying, freedom, good vision, clarity of sight, predator, aggressivity, etc. Let us just compare the main ideas from the proving of Falco Peregrinus Disciplinatus. The main ideas are: Freedom, Focused, Clear Vision, Clarity, Above it all, Speed, Fierce and Passionate, Explosive anger, etc.
The proving has succeeded at simply brainstorming about the falcon and proves nothing, except the fact that if you know what is the remedy proven and you do a brainstorming session, results will be quite predictable. You will get the same “essence” as you would think when you gather your thoughts about the particular subject. In order to actually prove the remedy, and avoid these brainstorming sessions, nothing else than the double blind trial will do. When analyzing the provings done in such a way or with a more objectivity, you can discern a lot of new information about the remedy, especially things you would not suspect when thinking about the substance. There are plenty of examples in the old literature. Symptoms are discovered that seem odd and seem to have nothing to do with the original plant/animal/mineral, yet they are key to a correct prescription.
A quote from the same article will give us some clues about why the group of the provers experience similar things and why “essences” are closely related to the original substance.
“This stimulus, perhaps because it is amplified by the many co-experiencers, and its ‘reawakening’ at monthly ‘gatherings’ when experiences are recounted, is sufficient to produce long range effects.“.
Not only do the provings contain people who know the original substance, they can freely influence everyone in these monthly interactions, so that it is made certain, that the proving will yield the desired result. There is no mystery why even the people not taking the remedy are included in the proving and experience similar symptoms. They are influenced by the recollection of other people’s experiences and placebo effect takes over.
“In addition to following Jeremy’s [Sherr] proving methodology, we record our experiences some minutes after beginning the proving. We get images (such as black grave stones, waterfalls, orange flowers, and responses to these images such as associated feelings, sensations or thoughts); feelings (such as joy, sadness, and their responses such as smiling or weeping); sensations (such as floating, burning, itching, and their responses such as restlessness or scratching); thoughts and concepts which in turn may evoke images, feelings and sensations. This then is our primary data. It would be in accordance with tradition to say that proving responses are headed up by image at the top of a natural hierarchy which proceeds down the levels, through thoughts to feelings to sensations.”
It has been established by multiple provings, that the symptoms of the remedy start manifesting some time after starting the proving. It can be minutes, but usually takes hours and even days. It is debatable, whether all the people were affected by the remedy just minutes after starting taking it, or whether they are influenced by other factors, such as meal they have just eaten, impressions of the day or actually knowing the proven substance and wanting to experience something right away. This data is then used as the primary data for the proving.
“Naturally I felt obliged to run a proving of placebo. You see, I had speculated as to whether we were proving ourselves, our group psyche, whether a group’s theme or themes would emerge. The result was that no theme emerged within the group. This was a distinctly different experience from being under the influence of the proving of a thing, where common imagery, feelings and sensations dominate.”
No big surprise here. If provers know that they are taking a certain remedy, especially a substance that they are familiar with (a well-known animal or a plant) it is almost certain, that even before they start doing the proving, they will have some mental images and preconceptions. It is then easy to understand why these images are experienced in the provings, especially, when simply “meditating” about the substance. Placebo (or an unknown substance) would be a different thing. Proving where provers do not know what to expect and when they cannot form a mental image of the substance they are proving. It could be argued therefore, that emergence of an “image” about the remedy is then actually a good indication that the proving is biased and its results should not be used. This would be the case for nearly all the provings and especially all the provings done by Misha Norland and the School of Homeopathy.
“A proving begins, in a literal sense, with the intention to prove a thing, with it being imagined, identified, obtained, and possibly potentised…It is common experience amongst provers that certain individuals … develop symptoms which subsequently are confirmed as belonging to the proving before anyone else had ‘taken’ the thing. I have parenthesised ‘taken’ because those who meditate upon the thing come up with results which are no less pertinent. Furthermore, we have found that those individuals within the group who wished to remain outside of the proving have been unable to do so; they are automatically included.”
This is true, the moment people know that something is about to be proven, they will expect something to happen and if they even know which remedy is going to be proven, they will form a mental image of the original substance. It is then no mystery, that the moment they will think about the proving, they will get the “right essence”.
“It is only matter that is bound to space and time. The immaterial essence of the thing, actuated by the intention of the proving group constellates the action field. … the thing that we are dealing with is essence, spirit, … and is not bound within the constraints of space and time. Those who key into it are part of it irrespective of distance or time; they know it telepathically.”
I would not call the phenomena telepathy. It is simply thought and mental image. The moment you know the substance, the mental image you form about the substance will determine your experiences. It can be hardly called a telepathy. If I tell to a group of people to avoid at all costs thinking about monkeys, they will not be able to stop thinking about monkeys all the time.
Similar in proving an interesting substance. If I announce that at some stage “condom” will be proved, guess what everyone will be thinking of? STDs, condoms, pregnancy, AIDS, HIV, bubble, trapped inside of something… It is not surprising that the proving of condom has “discovered” exactly these “essences”.
“The spiritual dynamis of intention, having no material substance, is not bound to either space or time. Should we accept this, then it follows that proving experiences may not uncommonly predate a proving. However, the experiencer would not know what to make of these experiences for they must be held within the framework of the proving and given its context to make sense.”
This means, that the experiences are gathered even before the proving has begun and before anyone has taken anything.
The summary of key points from modern “provings” can be summarized thusly:
- taking the remedy is not necessary to experience the remedy
- it is not necessary for the proving to begin to start experience the symptoms
- it does not matter if you take placebo or not. You will experience valuable symptoms
- proving experiences are based on telepathy.
In the researched opinion of P & W,, that all information compiled by the above methods, and called “Provings”, with its complete lack of scientific protocol and a lack of Hahnemannian compliance in which the data has been assembled, negates the ‘worth’ of the information and should be discarded completely and removed from Materia Medica’s and Repertories immediately.
When did we as a specialist therapy, exchange science for telepathy and spirituality and give away the foundation of credibility in modern homoeopathy? The only conclusion that can be made is that the teachers, gurus and leading lights of modernistic homoeopathy are not homoeopaths.
What defines a homoeopath? For the answer, and against the trend of modern homoeopathic wisdom, we must look to the medical doctor, pharmacist, and scientist upon whose research, the accurate prescriber and homoeopathic physician should take his or her counsel from, in order to practice medicine properly. Homoeopathy is a medical therapeutic specialty, and as such, needs these words taken to heart.
Aphorism 285, 6th Edition, footnote”
A fundamental principle of the homoeopathic physician (which distinguishes him from every physician of all older schools) is this, that he never employs for any patient a medicine, whose effects on the healthy human has not previously been carefully proven and thus made known to him.
To prescribe for the sick on mere conjecture of some possible usefulness for some similar disease or from hearsay “that a remedy has helped in such and such a disease” – such conscienceless venture the philanthropic homoeopathist will leave to the allopath.
A genuine physician and practitioner or our art will therefore never send the sick to any of the numerous mineral baths, because almost all are unknown so far as their accurate, positive effects on the healthy human organism is concerned, and when misused, must be counted among the most violent and dangerous drugs. In this way, out of a thousand sent to the most celebrated of these baths by ignorant physicians allopathically uncured and blindly sent there perhaps one or two are cured by chance more often return only apparently cured and the miracle is proclaimed aloud. Hundreds, meanwhile sneak quietly away, more or less worse and the rest remain to prepare themselves for their eternal resting place, a fact that is verified by the presence of numerous well-filled graveyards surrounding the most celebrated of these spas.*
* A true homoeopathic physician, one who never acts without correct fundamental principles, never gambles with the life of the sick entrusted to him as in a lottery where the winner is in the ratio of 1 to 500 or 1000 (blanks here consisting of aggravation or death), will never expose any one of his patients to such danger and send him for good luck to a mineral bath, as is done so frequently by allopath’s in order to get rid of the sick in an acceptable manner spoiled by him or others.
Homoeopaths today. Should read and re-read this directive. It defines what a homoeopath is and what a person claiming to be is or is not. To give a MEDICINE to someone require intimate knowledge of it’s accurately, scientifically researched, and reproducible symptom producing capabilities.
In releasing the provings, as conducted, upon the homoeopathic medical community, Misha Norland has joined the ranks of pseudo homoeopaths, and his provings, along with other modern guru’s, are putting the lives of patients in danger EXACTLY in the manner as described by Hahnemann.
Sadly for one young lady, it went beyond danger.
A 9 year old girl Nahkira Harris came to hospital where she was diagnosed with diabetes. Her parents elected to treat with homoeopathy. Had the homoeopath in question, been someone who heeded Hahnemann’s advice, principles and direction, the child might have received proper homoeopathic treatment with a defined case taking assessment and prescription of a proven medicine, and lived to prove its efficacy.
(To prescribe for the sick on mere conjecture of some possible usefulness for some similar disease or from hearsay “that a remedy has helped in such and such a disease” – such conscienceless venture the philanthropic homoeopathist will leave to the allopath)
“Misha Norland, a homeopath based in Devon, suggested the Harrises give Nahkira syzygium, a remedy popular in India but less effective than insulin. It served only to mask Nahkira’s symptoms, making her appear well when in reality she was becoming dangerously ill…” (Quote from the article)
Unfortunately, Nakhira died, because she did not receive the treatment she deserved. This outcome of this case resulted in a world-wide criticism of homeopathy.
We offer no criticism of the individual other than the practitioner claims to be a homoeopath and follows Hahnemannian standards. This is clearly NOT the case and needs to be stated publically, and real practitioners of Homoeopathy distance themselves from this type of practise.
Giving a prescription of a medicine, unknown to the practitioner, and without a proper proving, and with the unfortunate outcome, should have been warning enough to cease with the non Hahnemannian and scientific protocols in his own flawed attempts to establish the action of substances for homoeopathic use.
As Hahnemann states: “A true homoeopathic physician, one who never acts without correct fundamental principles, never gambles with the life of the sick entrusted to him as in a lottery where the winner is in the ratio of 1 to 500 or 1000 (blanks here consisting of aggravation or death), will never expose any one of his patients to such danger.”
published in Dec 6, 1993 by the http://www.independent.co.uk.
(The original link no longer works http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/the-girl-that-nobody-saved-1465753.html)
The death of nine-year-old Nahkira Harris from diabetes led to her parents being pilloried as crazed, homeopathic Rastafarians. Found guilty of manslaughter, Dwight Harris was sent to jail and his wife Beverley was given a suspended sentence. True, the Harrises made mistakes, but they were also failed by the healthcare system. They have now lodged an appeal. Steve Boggan has spoken to Beverley and tells the Harrises’ side of the story.
By the time she was admitted to hospital, Nahkira Harris had no discernible blood pressure. Despite massive blood and plasma transfusions, despite the desperate attempts of doctors to revive her, she never regained consciousness.
Nahkira was nine years old. She died not from a rare or incurable disease but from simple diabetes – and from the confusion and bad communication that surrounded her.
The tabloids and the courts said it was her parents’ fault. Beverley and Dwight Harris were described as extremist vegan Rastafarians, crazed homeopathic nutcases and just plain cruel. Rumours spread that they had taken Nahkira to Africa for tribal medicine and given her homeopathic remedies rather than let her take insulin.
After a trial last month in which they were accused of gross negligence in the handling of their daughter’s condition, Beverley and Dwight were convicted of manslaughter. The authorities said they prevented Nahkira receiving insulin, but the couple say they had no objection to the drug and simply wanted someone to discuss it with them before their daughter embarked on a life of daily injections. What really happened may never be fully known. There is no doubt, however, that someone let Nahkira down.
Dwight Harris, 32, describes himself as a moderate Christian although he also adheres to Rastafarian teachings and is a vegetarian – a lifestyle he encourages in his five other children. He also tells them to filter their water and avoid additives, but he is not opposed to modern medicine and he had never resorted to homeopathic remedies before Nahkira fell ill in December 1991.
Dwight is in Lincoln prison serving two and a half years; Beverley, 34, is free, but with an 18-month suspended sentence. Last week she and her children moved into a new home in Nottingham.
On 14 December 1991 Nahkira, a lively child who liked dancing and baking cakes, was feeling unwell. Her father immediately took her to see Dr Naomi Phillips, their GP, who suspected diabetes and made an appointment for her to have blood tests at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. These confirmed that she was a diabetic, and four days later the Harrises took her to the paediatric department at Queen’s to find out what to do next.
At this point communications began to break down. At the hospital they spoke to Dr Shirley-Anne Derrick, who was just beginning her 32nd hour on duty. The Harrises wanted to know about insulin: was it made from animal products? Was there an alternative? Could it be tested in Nahkira’s blood outside her body, because she had a number of allergies? All these questions were later linked to a religious zealotry that did not exist. Hospital staff insist that Dwight had vowed not to give Nahkira insulin, but he denies this. Being a Rastafarian does not preclude the taking of insulin or modern medicines.
The exhausted Dr Derrick did what she could, eventually telling the Harrises quite simply that without insulin, Nahkira would die. The family say she made this assertion in front of the child. Nahkira burst into tears; the Harrises asked to see a consultant. It was 4.30pm; they were told to return at 8pm. They signed a ‘discharged against medical advice’ form and took their daughter home for a meal.
When they returned – without Nahkira – they found that no appointment had been arranged with Dr Derek Johnston, the consultant in charge of the paediatric team. The couple were late (the hospital says they were one hour 45 minutes late), although they had telephoned to say they would be. The paediatric registrar on duty, Dr Stephanie Anne Smith, was not available. The Harrises, bewildered and angry, were told to go home.
‘Later we were accused of not getting treatment for Nahkira, but we did try,’ Beverley says. ‘We have no objections to insulin and there is nothing in our beliefs that would have prevented Nahkira taking it. We just wanted someone to talk to us about it first.
‘No one at any point told us that Nahkira needed insulin now. We knew diabetes was something she was developing, but she was nine and had been fine. We thought insulin was something she would need eventually.’
Dwight went back to see the GP, Dr Phillips, on 23 December. He asked for another appointment to be made – but not with Dr Derrick. Dr Phillips said she could not interfere in the choice of doctor; no further appointment was made. Between 18 and 20 December both the hospital and the Nottinghamshire social services department had been trying to find the family, but they complained later that they had not been told about Dwight’s visit to Dr Phillips on the 23rd.
Dr Johnston, the paediatric consultant, had learnt of the problem with the Harrises and asked Margaret Hosking, a community diabetic nurse, to contact the family. She went to their home on 20 December but the Harrises were staying with a friend nearby because a business venture had collapsed and their electricity had been cut off. The authorities wrongly assumed the family had gone to ground.
A social worker, Parminder Soar, was dispatched to try to contact the family. Her speciality was racial affairs, but she does not appear to have been told that Nahkira was in imminent danger. She left a note that puzzled the Harrises: ‘Hello] I am a black social worker and I work at the Queen’s Medical Centre. I was asked to become involved because I too am black: although I am Asian I do understand and face the racism we all do as black people.’ She went on to say she understood why the Harrises were angry with the hospital.
Dwight and Beverley, who collected mail from their home each day, ignored that letter but they did respond to a note left by Ms Hosking – Dwight left a message on her answerphone later that day, a Friday, but nothing was done.
The Independent has obtained confidential minutes of a case conference held in February 1992 after Nahkira’s death. These show that Ms Hosking felt she had done all she could, particularly since Dwight had left no details of where he could be contacted. (It was obvious, however, that he had received her note at the family home in Radford.)
The minutes say that tracing the Harrises ‘was taking up a lot of time and she did not think it was her job to trace the family further . . .’ She thought involving the police would be ‘too confrontational’. At the trial, she said that Dr Johnston agreed she had done all she could and should stop looking. The social workers closed the case on 6 January, even though Nahkira was supposed to be desperately ill.
At the case conference, Dr Johnston said he had told David Sheard, the group principal social worker, that Nahkira’s condition was ‘potentially life-threatening’ and said it might be necessary to invoke the Children Act, under which an emergency protection order could give the authorities the power to find Nahkira, take her into care and administer whatever treatment was necessary.
The minutes show that Mr Sheard denies the Children Act was ever discussed. In an addendum to the minutes, he adds: ‘I also noted that the parents were told if she didn’t receive insulin she would die, but that no indication re time scales was given to them.’
It is common ground that the urgency of the need for immediate treatment was not conveyed to the Harrises.
Beverley says: ‘We didn’t know what we could do next. We had been to the hospital twice, and we were sent away without seeing anybody, we had replied to the special nurse’s note and we had been back to our GP, but we still didn’t have another appointment.
‘We thought it must be a question of waiting for an appointment to come through and in the meantime a friend suggested we try homeopathic remedies.’
Misha Norland, a homeopath based in Devon, suggested the Harrises give Nahkira syzygium, a remedy popular in India but less effective than insulin. It served only to mask Nahkira’s symptoms, making her appear well when in reality she was becoming dangerously ill. Dr Phillips had given the Harrises a bundle of urine sticks to check Nahkira’s urine/sugar level daily. According to Beverley, the readings were normal.
In court it was alleged that Nahkira had lost nearly one-third of her weight during the six weeks between the diagnosis and her death. But the record of her weight on 18 December was missing, so a nurse submitted a ‘recollection’ of about 30kg (4st10lb). Nahkira’s corpse weighed 23kg (3st9lb), but family friends say her normal weight was around 25kg.
The prosecution argued that Dwight and Beverley must have seen their daughter wasting away; her parents said she lost a little weight, but they put that down to a new, carefully monitored diet.
On 31 January Nahkira developed what looked like flu. Beverley and Dwight took her to see Chris Hammond, a GP who was also a homeopath. He noted that she appeared to be slipping into a coma and, after talking to the parents about her condition, arranged for her to be taken to hospital for insulin. But Nahkira slipped deeper into her coma on the way to the hospital and did not recover.
The coroner asked the police to investigate after Dr Johnston, the head paediatrician at Queen’s, wrote to him to say Nahkira’s death was entirely avoidable. This was the conclusion the jury reached, laying all the blame on the parents.
It may be argued that they failed Nahkira in some way, but they have to live with that. Were they bad parents? Tony Normington, Nahkira’s headmaster at the Elms primary school, told the court they were excellent and loving parents, if anything a little ‘over-protective’. Their MP, Alan Simpson, believes they have been made scapegoats for the failures of the hospital and the social services.
‘I don’t believe the Harrises were bad parents,’ he says. ‘They may have made some poor judgements, but the mechanisms were there to avoid putting them in the position where they could make those judgements. The hospital, which knew more than the Harrises about how ill Nahkira really was, and the social services had the power to seek an emergency protection order, but they did not do so.
‘The Harrises were convicted for supposedly being negligent. But if they failed that child, they were not alone.’