By Dr. Mercola
You may recognize Jim Navarro from the documentary film Cut Poison Burn, which I recently posted. You can watch the entire film for free. If you haven't seen it yet, I urge you to take the time to view it now.
Jim is the father of Thomas Navarro, who at the age of four was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. The family ended up in a protracted battle against the medical monopoly after objecting to the conventional treatment, choosing instead to seek out less invasive, less damaging, and less life threatening approaches. However, the medical system's response was swift and callous.
In fact, in the months that followed Thomas' diagnosis, the family went into hiding to keep their son away from the authorities who threatened to take him into custody, charging Jim and Donna Navarro with child abuse and neglect.
The Navarro's wanted to use Dr. Burzynski's non-toxic, highly successful antineoplaston treatment instead of conventional chemotherapy and radiation. However, the FDA went to great lengths to prevent Thomas from receiving the therapy, and only after extensive legal wrangling, great expense, and being forced to submit to conventional treatment first did the family finally receive approval to use Dr. Burzynski. Unfortunately, at that point it was too late. The damage from the chemo was too great, and he lost his battle with cancer at the tender age of six. His death certificate states the cause of death as:
Respiratory failure due to chronic toxicity of chemotherapy
Since the death of his son, Jim Navarro has been championing a patient's rights act to prevent this tragic injustice from occurring again.
Did You Know: As a Parent, You Don't have the Right to Choose Treatment for Your Child?
Chemotherapy is a cytotoxic poison, and radiation is devastating to the human body, particularly to young children who are still developing. Jim's wife, a military combat medic, began doing research in an effort to find some other alternative that would keep their son alive. Jim soon delved into research as well. He learned of Dr. Burzynski while scouring chat rooms and forums on the internet.
"My focus was on the fact that they said there are no known survivors [of medulloblastoma]," he says. "The first thing I Googled was 'survivors of medulloblastoma.' As I found these chat rooms, the common denominator was always a mention of a Dr. Burzynski...
I called, and the very first thing they told me was, "I'm sorry but you can't bring your son here." I was like, "What?" They said, "You don't understand. The FDA won't allow us to treat him. According to the protocols, he has to first go through radiation and chemo and fail, and have recurrent tumors. Until then, he can't qualify."
It took 18 months of legal wrangling with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get Thomas approved for treatment by Dr. Burzynski. By then he had already had his second brain surgery, and had already been forced to undergo chemotherapy, and had already suffered recurring tumors—likely induced by the chemotherapy itself. After all that, he finally fulfilled all the requirements to be allowed to try Dr. Burzynski's treatment—a treatment, which by the way, has a success rate that far surpasses chemo and radiation...
"What people don't know is once he began the antineoplaston therapy with Burzynski, before dying, it not only extended his life another seven months but he also had a 33 percent reduction of tumors," Navarro says. "A father's hope is, had he not been polluted and poisoned with chemotherapy, had we not been stopped, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would be alive today."
Who Decides What's Best and Right for You or Your Child?
This kind of perversion of justice poses as the best care available. And there are four primary organizations that are responsible for this travesty: the FDA, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and the child services system. These are the white-collar bureaucrats making life and death decisions about people they've never met or cared for in a medical capacity. Their primary objective is to protect the profits of Big Pharma and the cancer industry itself.
Navarro describes the Child Protective Services (CPS) as "the thugs of the doctors, the pharmaceutical companies, and the FDA," and it's easy to see why, when you hear his story.
"When we began, we were completely uncomfortable with everything and we wanted a second opinion. The minute those words are heard: 'second opinion,' CPS is brought into it," he explains. "You're charged with child abuse and medical neglect automatically. The charges go up from there depending on your level of resistance. They will kick in your door; come in armed. They will attempt to kidnap your child, which we had gone through several times with Thomas. By any means necessary they will get your child.
It didn't used to be that way. Doctors sadly have gotten to the point where they don't even threaten you with CPS, they just contact them when you don't know about it.
... Donna and I had a hearing on the first [CPS] case, because there were actually two; one in Arizona and one in Texas, and I said, "Child abuse? I don't think so. Medical neglect? I don't think so. I am spending approximately $12,000 to $15,000 a month on my son's well being. I have him continually checked by doctors and nurses. He's got a health regimen, which includes a change of diet, vitamins, supplements. I'm doing all the right things, plus I have a wife that is by profession a caregiver. She spent many years in the emergency room, ER and trauma. I've got a sense that she knows what she's doing.
... [T]he first thing they try to do is make you feel guilty when you don't comply... [T]hey also hold control over whether or not you get to stay at Ronald McDonald House, or you get your wish from Make-A-Wish..."
And You Thought Your Donations Went to ANY Sick Child in Need...
This may surprise some of you who dutifully donate money to charitable organizations like the Ronald McDonald House and the Make a Wish Foundation. These organizations do not use that money to provide services to just any sick child who might want or need it. Their services are to a large extent exclusive to patients who participate in the conventional system of standard care.
"[W]e initially were not allowed to check in at the Ronald McDonald House," Navarro says. "Why not?... "Because his doctor in Arizona withdrew his recommendation and without the doctor's recommendation you can't come here." ... So everyone is giving to this place, for children with cancer to stay, and now you're telling me because [the doctor] said no, there's a difference between him sick then and sick today?"
The doctor also pulled his recommendation for Thomas' application with the Make-A-Wish foundation. They got the call that it had been retracted on the day Thomas was scheduled to actually receive his wish.
"The attitude is, "Unless I have your child; unless I get to treat him, he's not sick. It's like the FDA... In the eyes of the FDA...He doesn't have cancer. Why doesn't he have cancer? "Because you're not doing our treatment and until he does our treatment we will not deem him sick."
The Navarros filed six appeals to the FDA after the initial paperwork to do a compassionate exemption, but the agency rejected all of them.
"The FDA plays God and tells you when you're sick, because they're not going to say you have cancer until they have guaranteed you have it, with no recovery through Cut Poison and Burn. I see that as a crime against humanity," Navarro says.
Corruption and Conflicts of Interest Rules Cancer Industry. Who Pays?
Unfortunately, the patients do—usually both with their life and everything they own. Part of the system that creates corruption and conflict of interest is that a large portion of the FDA's income is generated through fees paid by the drug companies. And there's probably no other disease that has a higher profit level than cancer treatments. Navarro tells the story of meeting a member of Congress who warned him to back off, saying:
"Son, you can't go up there. You're going to cost a lot of people a lot of money; put a lot of people out of work, and they're just not going to take kindly to that. We've been receiving death threats in the night—you'll never live to see him treated. Back off."
He didn't then and he still won't "back off." ... But threats aside, the financial price has been just as devastating as any emotional and psychological price the Navarro's have paid for being unwilling participants in the current system. Thomas' disease and subsequent forced treatments resulted in what Navarro calls "a financial tsunami."
"We were living a very normal average life. The refrigerator was always full. Two cars in the driveway. The cost of keeping Thomas alive for those 26 and a half months was about 1.6 million dollars... The chemotherapy in those little bags is $43,000 a bag... They prescribed 10," Navarro says. "That doesn't include the doctor, the nurses, the anesthesiologist, the pharmacist, the room, the meal... He left us an additional $550,000+ in debt... I'm approaching 60 and no one would hire me because I hadn't worked in 2-1/2 years. We didn't have a home. The same with Donna... You have to start all over. The college funds went... Everything went...
[W]hen Thomas died, it left us with a four-year-old son, $4, and we lived in our van. We were homeless."
Not only that. With just four dollars in their pocket, they also couldn't afford to give Thomas a proper burial. He would have gone into an unmarked county grave had it not been for a man named James Earthman, co-owner of Earthman Funeral Homes. The Navarro's case had gotten a lot of media attention, and the funeral home graciously donated the entire funeral, including casket, flowers, gravestone and services.
It's hard to fathom a medical system that threatens you and abuses you, and forces you to undergo toxic medical treatments against your will, while raking in massive amounts of money for these forced treatments; bankrupting you to the point you can't even afford a simple funeral once the toxic treatments fail—which they usually do.
But what about their insurance, you may ask. Didn't they have any? Yes, they did, but as so many other Americans have come to find out, medical expenses incurred by families WITH insurance is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US.
"They have a cap on cancer," Navarro explains. "I didn't know that. They capped everything, which isn't a lot because again they're in bed with each other; insurance, pharmaceutical. I won't get started on that because that makes my blood boil but a lot of it was on us after the cap was reached..."
Having the Freedom to Choose Just Might Save Your Life
In a somewhat ironic twist, when an acquaintance, also named Thomas, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he asked Jim for advice. He ended up going to Dr. Nick Gonzales in New York—another alternative cancer treatment center that I've written about this past spring that uses a three-pronged nutritional approach. Pancreatic cancer is typically terminal within months, and Thomas had been given about 60 days to live. At the time of this interview, Thomas is still alive, nine months after starting his treatment.
"I want people to understand they have been lied to for a very long time, and that they don't need to ask for options. They need to demand them," Navarro says when asked about what message he wants people to take home from the film.
"They work for us. We don't work for them. I come to you and I'm sick; you work for me. I'm not your employee going, "Well doctor, can I get well now?" That's what is topsy-turvy all the way up to government. We keep forgetting who's the boss in that scenario. ... I want them to get out there and say, "Stop. No more. You will not poison my family. You will not poison my kids and you will be held accountable. You will provide that which will preserve life instead of destroy life."
Thomas' death is shocking in that it wasn't necessary. If the FDA and the oncologists had simply given them the opportunity to exercise freedom of choice to seek whatever therapy they thought appropriate, he may still be alive, and the Navarro's might not be financially ruined either, as alternative treatments typically end up costing a fraction of their conventional counterparts.
"The horror to us was that in the United States of America, land of the free, home of the brave, you have no legal right as a parent to select the doctors or the treatment for your child," Navarro says.
The Navarro's were actually able to administer an alternative remedy that seemed to work prior to Thomas being prescribed chemo. It was a concoction made by a Tibetan doctor.
"A lot of people don't understand that in Tibet they practice medicine for 30 years before they are allowed to have a real patient. After his MRIs, after his surgery, Thomas had 11 inoperable tumors in his head, neck, and spine. They [the Tibetan doctor] gave him what they refer to as "the jewel." It looked like a jaw breaker. They ground it up until it was just like dust and then you brew and steep it as a tea... He had one cup a day. It took 10 weeks... no more tumors, no cancer. It was gone! Done!
The hospital freaked out. Who are these guys? What are they doing? And that's when they went after the chemo. "Sorry, hospital policy. Got to have the chemo, 10 cycles, blah, blah, blah." There wasn't going to be a chance to get in there with something that worked. They had to make bloody sure that they dispatched it."
In the end, it was the chemo that killed Thomas NOT his brain cancer...
Support the Navarro's and Other Cancer Patients by Buying the Film
The film, Cut Poison Burn, is available to view for free. However, if you want to help the Navarro's pay off Thomas' medical bills, I urge you to purchase a copy of the film. The film is being sold on a 'value-priced' basis, meaning you can download a copy of the film for $1.99 and up, depending on how much you're willing to pay. You can also purchase a DVD copy for $9.99.
A percentage of the proceeds from the film will go to cancer organizations that donate 100 percent of their proceeds to families fighting cancer—not the American Cancer Society. Jim and Donna Navarro are also currently working on creating a Texas-based organization called Cancer Busters.
"The good news is we're almost done... The bad news: We don't make anything. In fact, if we have a mailer or a flier or need stamps, it's coming out of your pocket... If you thought it was a job; it's not. It's all about helping," he says.
I'm also making the DVD available on my site. Of these proceeds, 80 percent will go to the producers and Jim Navarro's family. I'm giving the remaining 20 percent to the Grassroots Health's Breast Cancer Prevention Project. All monies donated to them from the sale of Cut Poison Burn will be used to enroll women 60 and over in a project aimed to demonstrate the effectiveness of vitamin D in breast cancer prevention. More information about this project can be found at here.
What Else Can You Do?
So, what can you do to address this kind of medical injustice and stop it from happening to you or someone you love? Navarro suggests:
"First of all on a local level, become familiar with your representatives. You need to become familiar with their voting record, and if they really want to help, to be honest, buy their representative a copy of the DVD and give it to them as a gift saying, "This is my concern. Tell me as my representative you won't let this happen to me." And then they need to educate themselves.
... They can form groups and get together once a month, one every two months and talk. What are our needs in our community? What are the laws in our community?"
Local action works as Utah was actually able to get legislation passed to prevent the abuses of Child Protection Service Agencies to cause the type of harm they did in this case. For more ideas of how you can help promote much-needed change, please listen to the interview in its entirety, or read through the transcript. There's much more to this story than can be included in this summary.
Navarro is still working on legislation to protect patients' rights.
"The original bill, which was the Thomas Navarro Patient Rights Act is actually being matured," he explains. "It's gone from 3-1/2 pages; we're now at 14 pages and counting. We're going to be reintroducing it, Lord willing before this session is over, and it's an expanded version. The beginning starts with the original premise of the 3-1/2 pages but now we're kind of forcing everyone to get into lock-step 2 – that insurance can't discriminate and so on and so forth.
... It's already been in two [Congressional] sessions and again, I hate to say it, it is a left-right issue. It's not an up and down issue like most everything else we have. Henry Waxman killed it the first time. Kennedy killed it in the senate. We're doing it all over again. The difference now is people, generally, are so angry with government whether it's left or right, that it's back to up and down, good thing/bad thing."
... There is a web in there... [But] I'm not afraid. Until I draw my last breath, I'll keep fighting for whoever needs help... And the battle starts all again when we go back and reintroduce the bill. I encourage people get busy, get educated and start with your local government."