Dr. Christopher Foley was trained in evidence-based medicine and became an internist in Minnesota. Later, he moved into “Natural Medicine” and became an outspoken critic of evidence-based medicine. During the COVID pandemic, his voice became one of the loudest criticizing mask wearing, saying “they are dangerous.” He opposed shutting down the economy, He was a strong critic of the COVID vaccine, saying it was “experimental.” He did not have those criticisms based on any research that he had done. He had no expertise in virology, immunology, or vaccines but spoke for philosophical reasons as a proponent of “natural medicine.”
Dr. Foley advocated that if someone takes care of themselves, uses natural treatments such as Vitamin D and other vitamins and taking ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID, they will be fine during the pandemic.
It sincerely saddens me to announce that Dr. Foley died this week. His son says that he died from complications from COVID 19 and that he was unvaccinated. I am sure that Dr. Foley was a good man. I think he was misled in his approach to COVID and misled thousands of others, including friends who have died from COVID. Each death from COVID saddens me deeply, because the vast majority of deaths are preventable. I have read about a dozen or so of anti-vaccine spokes people, more often political people with pod cast or radio programs, who have died from COVID.
Some would argue that I’m cherry picking those who opposed the vaccine as the one’s dying. I’m not. Of the people hospitalized with COVID, about 98% are unvaccinated. Of those who die, about 99% are unvaccinated. Yes, some people have been fully vaccinated and catch COVID, but for the vast majority of them, the illness is very mild, which the studies predicted. My friends and family who oppose the COVID evidence-based information also cite people, such as Colin Powell, who were fully vaccinated but die anyway. That’s the cherry picking. But the rare person who was full vaccinated and died are most often people like Colin Powell, and myself, who have serious health problems that make the vaccine ineffective. In my category, bone marrow transplant, cancer, on chemo, on steroids, and have renal failure, even after three vaccine doses, I virtually have no protection from COVID and if I caught it, the odds of me having severe disease and dying is almost 50%.
It is hard from me to fully understand why someone choose to believe the conspiracy theories about COVID, especially when so much is at stake. For example, they say the death rate is exaggerated, that there are records of people with serious side effects or death from the COVID vaccine that’s being covered up, and as Dr. Foley claimed, there are natural things you can do to prevent and cure COVID. All lies. I wish with all my heart the last one was true and I can understand why that is wishful thinking. Some of the other conspiracy theories have political roots. That is the most mind-boggling as this is a public health issue and has NOTHING to do with polotics.
Along with “natural medicine” philosophy, the proponents of alternative treatments for COVID often combine that with conspiracy theories that “Big Pharma” creates chemical drugs that do more harm than good and the government is in on a big cover up to push these drugs and to bury the great treatments that natural medicine offers. This simply is not true.
I worked 38 years on medicine, two years of that devoted 100% to migraine research around research the rest of the years. We had a passion to find “natural treatments” that worked. The problem was, after studying many vitamins diets and etc., they simply did not work any better than a placebo. For example, we would have been rock stars if we were able to prove that gluten caused migraine. But the well-designed gluten studies failed to show any benefit from a gluten-free diet. But patients begged us for special diets and vitamins that would cure them and we wanted to give them that gift, but we also didn’t want to lie about it.
While I know that there are times of mischief in evidence based medicine research, for example when the Oxycontin people promoted their drug as being non-addicting, while it was very addicting. But such mischief is the exception. It is also true that there is more money for medication research than natural research, because the final product of a medication can be lucrative if effective for a disease. But there is also billions of dollars to be made from “natural treatments” because people love to believe that those things work.
I take handfuls of supplements everyday, despite any evidence of them showing benefit for the diseases that I have. But I do it because evidence-based medicine has very little to offer me.
In closing, I want to again review the philosophical considerations behind this desire for the “natural” cures. There are two basic ways to look at nature. One is that nature is broken and is repairable by humans. Both evolutionary atheists and Christians have historically shared this view.
In the eighteenth century an new philosophical theory appeared. I will call it the Rousseauian theory, after the writings of John Jacques Rousseau. He was reacting to his Calvinist upbringing when he decided on a new model, that nature is perfect and only bad things come from human interfering with nature. That only nature can cure human ills. From that, the philosophy arose that all diseases are man-made. I think that’s why some people, such as Senator Rand Paul, argues that COVID was man-made, in the lab. But that is irrelevant.
Evidence-based medicine, and the reason I love it, is that their greatest pursuit is truth. I love truth, real truth. Not religious or political “truth.” But which is consistent with realty. Evidence-based medicine use the double-blinded study as the gold standard to rule out bias and find that truth. From that research, we know about 99% of human illnesses are from natural sources, such as viruses. There is even one theory that the type of cancer I have starts with an invading virus that reprograms my DNA. So far, only a handful of human diseases can be traced to human intervention, such as smoking and obesity. The idea that all diseases are caused by “toxins,” which means man-made, is Rousseauian theory.
I write passionately about COVID because I know so many who have suffered and some who have died. I know that within the next twelve months I will see many more die. I may be one if I’m exposed. I do not write these things to see ideas, to promote political parties or religious belief systems … but purely to save lives. I gave almost a thousand vaccines myself, at great risk, because I do not want people to suffer needlessly. I am an advocate for the vaccine because I love truth and I love creation, including people.
May God give grace to the Foley family and the families of those almost 800 thousand who have died from COVID. May the truth prevail so that more lives can be saved.