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Amazingly, Nityananda Das, after convincing the reader that loss of vision (as a symptom of diabetes) was not present, explains that loss of vision (as a symptom of arsenicosis) was present. Not only that, but it now miraculously appears as a symptom 'unique' to arsenic poisoning.
DAVID R. HOOPER, B.Sc
After being encouraged to further investigate the
allegations of arsenic poisoning by Nityananda Das and others, it was decided
that we should try and contact the doctor who performed the operation on Srila
Prabhupada in England, just over two months before his passing. As one of the
only Western health professionals to treat Prabhupada in his final year, and the
only doctor who personally performed an operation on His Divine Grace, the
testimony of this doctor would certainly be very important to determine the
validity of the claims of arsenicosis.
Although previous efforts to try and find this doctor
had proved unsuccessful, after inquiries with the College of Surgeons we were
given the name of a general surgeon by the name of Andrew McIrvine. Many calls
later, we finally traced the doctor and obtained his mobile phone number.
Without delay we dialed the number and explained our situation. When Doctor
McIrvine heard that we wanted details of an operation he performed 20 years ago,
his immediate reply was that it would be very difficult, as he had performed
thousands of operations over the years. However, as soon as we mentioned Srila
Prabhupada’s name he immediately remembered the case, saying it was such a
special case that he could never forget it. He spontaneously remembered how
Srila Prabhupada was the Hare Krishna leader, that he was “amazingly calm and
stoical”, and also the fact that he visited Prabhupada at the manor the day
after the operation.
He agreed to send a statement noting down the
important facts that he remembered from Srila Prabhupada’s condition at the
time, and this letter is included in its entirety at the bottom of this page.
Before giving his statement, it is pertinent to give
a little background to this topic, and also to discuss the consequences of the
doctor’s statement on the medical claims made by Nityananda Das in his book
‘Someone Has Poisoned Me’ (SHPM).
In our previous papers on the VNN and Chakra web
sites, we have focused on how the overwhelming mass of scientific and medical
evidence supports the diagnosis that Srila Prabhupada was suffering from
advanced diabetes which led to serious kidney damage, loss of appetite and
related systemic complications.
In SHPM (Appendix 7), Nityananda Das tries to
discount the diagnosis of diabetes, in an attempt to attribute all of Srila
Prabhupada’s symptoms to his theory of arsenic poisoning. On page 350 he makes
the following claims:
Srila Prabhupada did not have diabetes serious enough
to display the symptoms of diabetes. For example, loss of vision or blindness is
sometimes seen in diabetes. Srila Prabhupada, however, did not exhibit the signs
of an advanced case of diabetes, which would produce loss of vision. Further,
not one doctor or kaviraja even mentioned diabetes as a factor in His Divine
Grace’s health, nor did he require insulin. Diabetes is thus ruled.
Nityananda Das, SHPM. Page 350.
When deteriorating eyesight made it impossible for Prabhupada to translate, he called for Bhakti Caitanya Swami and Trivikrama Swami, who had been asked to come to Vrindavan.
—Symptoms of diabetes?
As we will see below, Srila Prabhupada did in fact
display the symptoms of diabetes, so much so that the doctor, who treated him
only 9 weeks before his passing, immediately diagnosed diabetes as soon as he
saw Prabhupada, and confirmed his diagnosis by blood and urine tests. So much
for no symptoms. As for blindness, Prabhupada’s deteriorating eyesight was
clearly documented by Tamal Krishna Goswami in TKG’s diary:
When deteriorating eyesight made it impossible for
Prabhupada to translate, he called for Bhakti Caitanya Swami and Trivikrama
Swami, who had been asked to come to Vrindavana. June 30, 1977
When Srila Prabhupada signed the will amendment, his
deteriorating eyesight made it difficult for him to see the document he was
signing. November 9, 1977
Amazingly, Nityananda Das, after convincing the
reader that loss of vision (as a symptom of diabetes) was not present, explains
that loss of vision (as a symptom of arsenicosis) was present. Not only that,
but it now miraculously appears as a symptom “unique” to arsenic poisoning:
Symptoms Unique to Arsenic Poisoning And Not to
A9 LOSS OF VISION due to brain damage or optic nerve damage
Nityannada Das, SHPM (page 68)
In ‘Nityananda’s Diagnosis 1’ we stated that the impartial reader should regard Nityananda Das’s claims with caution due to his lack of academic qualifications and one-sided representation of the scientific literature. In light of the above example (and others like it), we would now go so far as to seriously question whether much of his reasoning is even logically coherent, what to speak of approaching the rigorous standards of a scientific or medical research text.
Srila Prabhupada first presented to me in the emergency room of Watford General Hospital in 1977. He was in obviously poor health and showed signs of renal failure and was found to be diabetic.
Performed operation on Prabhupada in Watford
The claim that Srila Prabhupada did not have diabetes
because he didn’t require insulin also shows either accidental or intentional
ignorance of the literature. Prabhupada was clearly suffering from diabetes type
2, which is also known as non-insulin-dependant diabetes. From Harrison’s
Principles of Internal Medicine (p. 2065), which is listed in SHPM’s list of
references, we learn that insulin-dependant diabetes (type 1) most commonly
begins in the teenage years and is caused by a complete inability to produce
insulin. Without insulin shots the patient would quickly die. In contrast,
non-insulin-dependant diabetes (type 2) usually begins in middle life or later,
with symptoms appearing gradually. It results not from a lack of insulin, but
rather the body’s inability to properly process insulin, and is often treated
by a controlled diet and exercise. Therefore it is patently untrue to say that
Prabhupada couldn’t have had diabetes because he didn’t require insulin.
As for Nityananda Das’s claim that “not one
doctor or kaviraja even mentioned diabetes as a factor in His Divine Grace’s
health”, we will let Doctor McIrvine’s statement speak for itself. After due
consideration of the above points, we will leave it to the reader to decide how
much credence we should put in Nityananda Das’s conclusion that, “Diabetes
is thus ruled.”
The statement from Doctor Andrew McIrvine, who
performed the operation on Srila Prabhupada at Watford General Hospital on
September 8th, 1977 reads as follows:
Dear Mr Hooper,
Thank you for the message, as I said on the ‘phone
I do remember the case well, even though it was a long time ago. Srila
Prabhupada first presented to me in the emergency room of Watford General
Hospital in 1977. He was in obviously poor health and showed signs of renal
failure and was found to be diabetic. These diagnoses were made on clinical
suspicion confirmed by blood and urine analysis. His most obvious problem on
admission was urinary retention. This was caused by a most unusual degree of
phimosis. That is a long-standing scarring and thickening of the foreskin such
that he was by the time of his admission virtually unable to pass urine. This
process would have taken many years to develop and during that time could well
have produced backpressure enough to result in renal problems - as more often
happens with prostatic obstruction. I remember him as an amazingly calm and
stoical person. He refused to be admitted to hospital and I am sure he would not
have withstood a general anaesthetic. Somehow we persuaded him to have a
circumcision to relieve the problem, which I carried out in the ER under local
anaesthetic. He made a good recovery from this and was able to pass urine
normally following the procedure. Unfortunately his renal failure was by that
time well advanced and irreversible, caused by a combination of diabetes and
phimosis. I hope this is of some help.
My best wishes,
Andrew J McIrvine FRCS Consultant Surgeon
© CHAKRA 10-Oct-1999
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