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Wednesday, 5 April, 2000, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Homeopaths warn of further tragedies
Homeopathetic medicine is gaining in popularity
A homeopathic expert has warned further tragedies such as the death of baby Cameron Ayres could happen unless traditional and alternative medicine develop closer links.

An inquest in London on Tuesday recorded a verdict of death by natural causes on six-month-old Cameron, who died of a treatable disease after his parents refused to allow him to be given conventional medicine.

Increasingly, with the rise in popularity of complementary medicine these situations are going to arise

Stephen Gordon, Society of Homeopaths
The coroner expressed concern at the baby's treatment by the parents - one of whom was a homeopathic practitioner.

Cameron had also not been immunised against several common diseases.

Stephen Gordon, from the Society of Homeopaths, said neither traditional or homeopathic medicine had all the answers. He also advised patients to make their GP the first port of call.

However, he told the BBC: "Increasingly, with the rise in popularity of complementary medicine these situations are going to arise. Also there is considerable scepticism about some of the aspects of conventional medicine."

Stephen Gordon
Stephen Gordon says no branch of medicine has all the answers
Mr Gordon said that doctors needed to be more aware of the benefits of complementary medicine.

"Very often they do not know that their patients are using complementary medicine because the patients are too scared to tell them.

"This is a problem that does need to be addressed with greater dialogue between the doctors on the conventional side and the practitioners of non-conventional medicine."

Cameron died in May last year after suffering a defect in his metabolism which caused a swollen stomach and testicles, extensive nappy rash and an enlarged liver.

He was fed honey and vinegar from an early age by his parents, Jeremy and Sylvie Ayres.

They refused to take Cameron to a doctor, instead visiting a homeopath who begged them to have him treated using conventional means.

Experts believe the baby either suffered an intolerance to a sugar present in fruit and vegetables or there was a defect in the way his body used fat for energy.

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