This is just a heartbreaker.  A 2-year-old boy in Ohio died after severe scalding last week. Following the burn (hot water tipped onto him from the kitchen stove) he was first taken to be treated with an “Amish home burn treatment” of B and W ointment and burdock leaves. When he began going into shock the following day, he was brought to the hospital, but it was too late.

It’s unclear whether this boy was technically Amish (his father is said to have left the community a few years ago; the mother’s status isn’t explained, the home address seems not to be Amish).  The use of non-conventional remedies is common among the Amish.

I have heard good things about the B and W salve, which was invented by an Amishman. However there is a time for salve and there is a time for the emergency room.  For a number of reasons, Amish are less likely to go to the hospital than non-Amish (I touched on this issue recently in a post on the book Grace Leads Me Home).

It sounds like this boy’s case was borderline at best (“severe burns to his lower legs and chest”).  What might be a manageable burn on an adult is proportionally much larger on a child that small.

It seems to me that one problem with relying on home remedies is that you have to rely on your ability to self-diagnose.  Playing it safe sometimes means getting to a professional caregiver.  I can understand reluctance to go to the doctor.  I rarely go myself.  But certain situations demand erring on the safe side.

It makes me wonder–could there be a touch of pride in thinking you can handle your potentially serious medical issue as well as a trained professional?

I don’t mean to provoke–just a food-for-thought question.  As I’ve said before, I’m a conventional medicine person–I don’t intuitively “get” the non-conventional approach.

All that said, I can only feel so sorry for these parents.

More: Is Amish life more dangerous?

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