Barbara O’Neill: Resurgence of the Scam Doctor’s Dangerous Legacy

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on August 8, 2023

In the ever-evolving world of social media, it is not uncommon for old stories and figures to resurface, even those who were discredited or banned for grave misconduct. One such name that has returned to the limelight is Barbara O’Neill, an Australian alternative medicine personality.

After years of scandal culminating in a prohibition order in 2019, she has found a way back into circulation. Her resurgence is concerning, given her history of promoting dangerous and unsupported alternative medicine. Here’s why you should be wary of her claims and why her reappearance now is a matter of public health concern.

Dangerous Claims and Unsubstantiated Therapies

Cancer Treatment: O’Neill falsely claimed to be able to cure cancer and urged clients not to use chemotherapy. She promoted the discredited notion that cancer is a fungus treatable with baking soda, asserting, without evidence, that one doctor had cured 90% of his patients’ cancer with baking soda injections.

Anti-vaccination Stance: O’Neill discouraged immunization, declaring all vaccines harmful. She even suggested absurd alternatives such as “children can be naturally vaccinated against tetanus by drinking plenty of water.” Her association with anti-vaccination groups has drawn severe criticism.

Antibiotics and Infant Nutrition: O’Neill discouraged antibiotics, spreading the false claim that they cause cancer. Her advice to pregnant women and on infant nutrition has been proven to be not only false but dangerous. Recommendations like using unpasteurized goat milk as a substitute for breast milk have been outright labeled as “definitely not safe” by health professionals.

Criminal Investigations and HCCC Prohibition Order

O’Neill’s dubious practices caught the attention of the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) between 2018 and 2019. The investigation revealed that she could not recognize and provide health advice within her training and experience limits. Furthermore, she failed to maintain records of the health advice she provided, breaching the law.

The HCCC found that she lacked any health-related qualifications, despite her claims. This led to the HCCC indefinitely banning O’Neill from providing health services or education in any capacity on September 24, 2019. This prohibition applied across multiple jurisdictions and even online.

Charity Investigation

O’Neill and her husband’s Misty Mountain Health Retreat came under investigation by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission in late 2019 for alleged breaches of Australian charity law. Despite the HCCC ruling, O’Neill continued to advertise through her website.

Barbara O’Neill’s Concerning Resurgence

The resurgence of Barbara O’Neill on social media is not a benign occurrence but a significant concern for public health. Her history is replete with unsupported, dangerous claims and practices that have already led to her prohibition from offering health advice or services. People should approach her current statements with extreme caution and awareness of her past, as outlined above.

With an abundance of credible health information and professional medical care available, there is no reason to fall for the false promises and dangerous advice of a scam doctor. Instead, seeking guidance from certified and respected medical practitioners is the safest path to well-being.

By Grit Daily Staff Grit Daily Staff has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

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