On Monday, we reported on a woman who is operating as a healthcare practitioner in northern Belize without a license. The British woman, identified as Amanda Mary Jewell, according to online reports, has a long history of medical fraud in at least four other countries before she arrived in Belize. She claims to be a cancer researcher who helps cancer patients find effective treatments. She makes a number of wild claims, including that she can cure autism and other chronic illnesses. She doesn’t believe in the use of vaccines, chemotherapy and other scientifically supported medical care. While she claims that her alternative therapies cost less than seeing a proper medical doctor, on her website she still charges thousands of dollars for some procedures. Today, Andrea Polanco spoke with Doctor Marvin Manzanero, the Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health. She tells us more in the following story.
Amanda Mary Jewell
“Hello, I am Amanda Mary. Amanda Mary Jewell from the Flower of Health “Flor de la Salud” and Wellbeing Center. I am a cancer researcher and holistic adviser here.”
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
Amanda Mary Jewell claims to be a cancer researcher. She has since opened a holistic treatment facility in Progresso, Corozal, called “Belize Oracle Healing Center. It supposedly provides homeopathic treatments for cancer patients and terminal illnesses, as well as for autistic persons. But Jewell doesn’t have a license for the alternative healthcare facility.
Via Phone: Dr Manzanero, Director Health Services, MOH
“We are also aware of the person because she has been flagged in terms of what has happened in at least four other countries other than Belize. I can’t say we were on the lookout but we were obviously aware of the situation. We did get an electronic request initially about a year ago in terms of the Healing Oracle. We had interacted with them for them to come in and get the requirements in terms of what they needed. I understand that somebody came to the Licensing and Accreditation Unit of the Ministry of Health and they were given such requirements but they never came back. So, in essence, we are not aware that any entity outside the public health system – I believe this one is in Progresso – has a license to practice or do any health outreach from any facility other than our health clinic in Progresso.”
“So, right now, you would say that they are operating illegally.”
Via Phone: Dr Manzanero
“They don’t have a license to do health services, as far as I am aware. Now, if they are doing alternative issues, we still, I believe, would need to know but they don’t have a license. I can tell you that categorically that they don’t have one.”
A recent article in the UK newspaper ‘Mirror’, exposes Jewell as a fraudster who doesn’t have any formal medical training and is running a holistic healthcare scheme. According to the newspaper, the cancer quack gives victims false hope with bogus treatments. The Belize Oracle Healthcare Center caters primarily to a foreign market. Jewell, who is a British native, left the UK after the Medical and Regulatory Healthcare Agencies (MRHA) caught up with her for selling banned products for health purposes. Since then she fled to Bulgaria where she was allegedly under investigation for two deaths. She also spent some time in the Dominican Republic and then relocated to Mexico where she opened alternative treatment centers. In Mexico, Jewell who also goes by the name “Mary” met this woman, Aliki Bruckwell, who had a brain cancer. She was diagnosed with brain tumors in 2015 and by 2016 she was doing treatments at Jewell’s homeopathic center in Mexico.
Robert J Morris
“How do you feel when compared to when you got here to right now?”
Aliki Bruckwell, Cancer Patient
“I feel a hundred times better. I am still not there a hundred percent but I am there or thereabouts.”
Robert J Morris
“We are trying things out. We are trying a new thing here. It is important for people to understand that it is not a rigid antiseptic environment like a hospital, this is more organic and you can’t always foresee how things are gonna go.”
Martin Bruckwell, Husband of Aliki Bruckwell
“The message needs to be that there is another way and that there is an alternative. Don’t listen to what the doctors say. They have their regime and it is very small and they have a very narrow perspective on health. And it is very driven by money, driven by economics which is very unfortunate. But I refused to accept what they said and Aliki did and we got that fighting spirit. We both got that. That unites us and kept us going and I think that is what everyone should do if they get this terrible news. Don’t listen. There is always something else out there. There is always another way. There is always something out there that is going to heal you and cure you.”
Robert J Morris
“Yeah that is the medical establishment. I have seen people walk away from things that normally in the regular medical establishment they do not walk away from. And case in point, you are sitting in front of me.”
“Yeah she was given three months before we came and now it is perfect. We are going to the gym and shopping.”
Robert J Morris
“She has got her life back and you’ve got your wife back.”
But about a year later Aliki Bruckwell died. After she passed away in 2017, her husband Martin started a relationship with Jewell and now works with her here in Belize at the Oracle Healthcare Center. The BBC did an expose on Jewell back in 2016. She was selling “GcMAF” an injectable biochemical protein, which she claimed could treat cancer. But Cancer Research UK says there is no scientific evidence that GcMAF treats cancer. In addition, Jewell was selling Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS) or chlorine dioxide for the treatment of autism. MMS was banned in the UK as a dangerous product with no evidence that it cures autism. In this 2016 video, she outrightly refutes the effectiveness of chemotherapy – and says that homeopathic treatment is the way to go.
Amanda Mary Jewell, Alleged Cancer Researcher
“Chemotherapy and radiation is never going to be right. We just have to stand up for what is right and what is working. People are curing themselves with these protocols. People are coming to these centers like here and other places – clinics and getting well again from our teachings. That will continue. I am not stopping.”
Dr Marvin Manzanero says that the Ministry of Health is doing its investigation into this unlicensed healthcare center. He says that as consumers we need to also be alert and aware of other scams.
Via Phone: Dr Manzanero
“This is not a licensed facility to begin with. We are not aware of what they are claiming to use. But alternative medicine – there has to be scientific evidence to back up what people say that it is supposed to do. If there is no evidence of that, people need to be cautious because it may be just a scam that has happened. I think the main person in this article has been labeled as a scam person in at least four other countries. That is the first thing, people need to be aware of where they gonna go; what they gonna pay for and what they gonna be getting – whether it is oral, injections or just as you rightly said something that can be detrimental to your health. So, we can’t really be so naïve in terms of following alternative therapies. We did go back and research whether any Belizean had filed any complaint and we don’t have have that on our file. We had also approached the Medical Council to see if they haven’t gotten any kind of query because I believe one of their claims is that they have a full line of oncologist and nurses but they don’t seem to be aware of the case. For them, it was the first time they were being made aware of the situation. We have to do ground work and I believe we may also have to get the police involved because some elements might fall out of our jurisdiction as a health entity. Beyond this healing center, it is also for us as a community and society to be on the lookout for all these issues that people’s products claim to have certain properties and they don’t have. We have multiple things being advertised on radio and TV as having natural healing properties and major companies making major money out of things that are poorly regulated or that have no proven medical or scientific benefits. We really need to do our groundwork, as consumers to make sure that we, in fact, are not taking things that don’t really work.”