A Dutch appeal court has ordered the prosecution of two doctors and faith healer Jomanda over their treatment of Sylvia Millecam, a popular Dutch actress who died of untreated breast cancer in August 2001 at the age of 45. At the time of her diagnosis, the tumor was no bigger than 1 cm radius and her prognosis, had she received standard medical treatment, would have been very good. See also: faith healer Jomanda found not guilty.
During her illness, Sylvia Millecam had refused to undergo conventional treatment and visited many alternative healers for advice and treatment, including three Dutch medical doctors, faith healer Jomanda and a so called “salt therapist”. All of them made her believe she did not have cancer and consequently did not need standard treatment.
The Dutch Healthcare Inspection accused the three doctors of malpractice and asked the Medical Disciplinary Tribunal for a judgment. In April 2006 one of them was struck off the register as a doctor, one was suspended for one year and the other for 6 months. The unusually severe measures were mainly founded on their neglect of the professional standards as laid down by the specialty boards, on the fact that they had presented themselves as professional doctors and because they had not tried hard enough to convince Millecam of the need for standard treatment. The strong wish of the patient to only undergo alternative treatment was not accepted by the Tribunal as an excuse. It is noticeable that the judgment of the Disciplinary Tribunal seems to be more severe than the present bylaws of the medical-scientific bodies and the Dutch Medical Association (KNMG), which apparently leave too much room for alternative treatments by their members.
In October 2006 the public prosecution office decided against taking faith healer Jomanda and the alternative therapists to trial for the death of actress Sylvia Millecam, on the grounds that Sylvia Millecam willingly and voluntarily chose not to undergo conventional treatment and that therefore there was insufficient evidence of grievous bodily harm having been inflicted to her by her alternative therapists.
An appeal to this decision was brought by the Dutch Society against Quackery and the skeptical foundation Skepis. The court of appeal stated that Millecam had placed trust in the doctors’ and Jomanda’s statements that her disorder was not breast cancer but only a bacterial infection. The court also said that the three “cannot deny their own responsibility in referring to the choices made by a patient, if this patient has not been correctly or fully informed by them.”
When asked for a reaction, Jomanda stated that Sylvia Millecam had inflicted grievous bodily harm upon herself when she decided to have breast implants. Jomanda said she had repeatedly told Sylvia that her “problem” would only go away when she had her breast implants removed and since Sylvia chose to keep the implants, what happened to her was her own fault.
Jomanda, currently residing in Canada, will not be present at the trial because of a “negative atmosphere.” Jomanda, who calls herself “Lady of the Light,” is a follower of Jozef Rulof.
Update June 11: Jomanda found not guilty