Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

R.I.P. Don Lemmon

Almost two months ago, I posted a rather light-hearted skeptical takedown of a guy by the name of Don Lemmon, who billed himself on his website as The #1 Nutritionist Online. The main gimmicks of the post were twofold. First, I poked fun at his selling of dessicated animal glands, in which he harkened back to a 16th century alchemist and physician named Paracelsus to justify what appeared to me to be a variant of the quackery known as live cell therapy. The second part of my schtick was to feign envy at the success that he appeared to be having over it all, marrying a retired porn star, living in St. Georges, Utah, and hanging out with celebrities like KISS. The post caused a mild ruckus which, as these things do in the blogosphere, quickly died down, and I forgot about it.

Then, about a week ago, a couple of comments reminded me of the post. First, Don Lemmon himself posted two comments on June 8. It was almost certainly him, as the IP address from which the comments originated traced back to St. Georges, Utah, which is where he lived. I seriously considered posting an answer to him as a separate blog post during the day or two after that, but for some reason I didn’t. Then, two days later, another comment appeared:

According to the message board found at http://www.liesandpropaganda, Don Lemmon died in an auto accident on June 11, 2006. He leaves behind his pregnant wife, Asia, and his one year old daughter.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this, and didn’t want to register for Don’s forum to find out. A brief Google search turned nothing up; so I thought nothing more of it and even considered deleting the comment. Then, a few days later, another comment appeared:

So DOn apparantly was killed on June 10. What I want to know is if they were so rich then why is Asia soliciting donations on her homepage and on ivillage???

That sounded rather cold to me, but since a second person was now posting this claim, I decided to check it out more seriously. Since then, I’ve confirmed these reports and verified that Don Lemmon was indeed apparently killed in a single vehicle auto crash outside of Las Vegas on June 10 while driving home from a business meeting. An obituary has been published here, and his wife Asia Carrera has written about it (warning: although this particular link is work safe, much of the rest of her website is not). Reading her description of being given the news is enough to break your heart. It also makes his comments to my original post seem rather creepy, given that they were posted a mere two days before his death and that I had mentioned Don in passing in this post just a day before his death. Even though Lemmon’s death doesn’t change my opinion of the altie aspect of his business, I’m now really glad that I never wrote that snarky followup post, as I had been strongly tempted to do after Don took me to task.

The ironic thing is that I guess I might have been right after all about life’s being unfair, just not in the manner I had intended when I wrote that post. Don’s dead at a young age. His children will grow up fatherless. No way around it, that sucks regardless of my low opinion of the claims he made on his website for his supplements or my light-hearted little stab at his self-constructed image. Worse, his pregnant wife’s pleas for money now make me wonder if Lemmon was as successful as I had assumed that he was from the fantastic descriptions he posted to his website. Maybe it was all hype; I have to wonder now.

Either way, altie or not, Lemmon didn’t deserve to die that young; his wife didn’t deserve to be made a widow at such a young age; and his children don’t deserve to be robbed of their father. Nobody does.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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