A couple of days ago, I came across a Tweet by Sayer Ji, who, some of you might remember, was husband to Dr. Kelly Brogan, the anti psychiatry, antivax physician and germ theory denier who rose to greater prominence after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, to the point where she was named one of the Disinformation Dozen. The two of them ultimately divorced, but both continued down their previous paths of spreading misinformation. In any event, I must admit to my shock over seeing that Sayer Ji announce the death of Dr. Rashid Buttar:
Basically Dr. Buttar “died suddenly,” which, tragically, sometimes happens even to apparently healthy 57-year-olds, and it is always a tragic shock when that happens. The reason why I am writing about this is not to attack him after death but to point out how his apparently sudden passing is causing some serious cognitive dissonance in the antivaccine movement, as well as to put his life into some context. Of course, I realize that it is often considered very offensive to speak ill of the dead soon after their death. However, I also realize that, no matter how I discuss Dr. Buttar’s life and how antivaxxers are reacting to his death, I will be attacked.
To be honest, I hadn’t paid much attention to Dr. Buttar in a while. The last time I mentioned him was last fall, when he featured in a post about the ongoing assault by antivaxxers and promoters of unproven (and disproven) attacks on science-based medical regulation. In the post, I featured Dr. Buttar as an example of how promoters of quackery had been chipping away at science-based regulation of medical practice. Way back in 2007, Dr. Rashid Buttar made the news for calling the North Carolina Medical Board a “rabid dog” when it tried to discipline him for “unprofessional conduct” related to his cancer and antivaccine autism quackery. Let me just go back and quote what Dr. Buttar said in 2007, quoted by The Charlotte Observer and other newspapers:
Armed with complaints from Kenny and three others, the state board accuses Buttar of unprofessional conduct for departing from prevailing medical practice by treating patients with experimental, ineffective therapies and charging “exorbitant” fees. A public hearing is set for Feb. 20, after which the board could reprimand the doctor or revoke, suspend or put limits on his license. Buttar, 41, who has tangled with the board before, denies wrongdoing and vows to retaliate. “I’ve been itching for a fight,” he said. “I’m going to make this into a huge thing. … I told the (state) legislature that the medical board was a rabid dog, and they needed to put it down.”
Here was the sort of quackery that Dr. Buttar practiced up until his sudden demise last week:
But Buttar believes most patients with cancer also have high levels of heavy metals, such as mercury, and other toxins, such as pesticides, because of environmental exposure. “Chelation works for the right things,” he said. “It’s not a panacea. But it works phenomenally well for chronic disease.” Buttar’s practice also has two hyperbaric oxygen chambers — and more on the way. The treatment, which floods the body with oxygen, is commonly used to accelerate wound healing. But Buttar uses it to fight cancer because, he says, cancer cells can’t thrive in an oxygen-rich environment. He acknowledges most of his treatments have not been proven by standard means, such as controlled clinical trials. But he said they have been effective in his practice over 10 years.
The story noted that Dr. Buttar’s therapy for cancer patients ranged from $40,000-60,000 for two months, and, of course, he didn’t take insurance. (Like Sayer Ji and his ex-wife, Buttar, too, was also one of the “Disinformation Dozen“.) As I noted at the time, unfortunately, Dr. Buttar’s practice and his war against the North Carolina Medical Board (which he mostly won) was a precursor of what we are seeing today. Basically, he got a slap on the wrist, being temporarily restricted from treating cancer patients and children. The medical board did not do what was really warranted, strip him of his medical license, or, as I described what I thought that he deserved at the time in 2008, ‘having his medical license stripped from him, cut up in front of his face, and then the fragments ritually burned.” I stand by those words 15 years later.
Truth be told, I’ve been writing about Dr. Buttar intermittently since 2005, when I first discussed his use of chelation therapy to treat autism. As you might recall, chelation therapy uses what are called chelators, chemicals that bind to metals to better solubilize them and (supposedly) be excreted in the urine. As you might recall, one of the mainstays of autism biomed quackery back then was the use of chelation therapy to remove the mercury from the thimerosal preservative that had been in several childhood vaccines until around 2002 and was blamed for causing autism. Like many quack remedies, chelation therapy is an all-purpose treatment, falsely claimed to be useful for treating cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and even cancer. It is also not a benign treatment. Calcium and magnesium are metals that can be chelated too. If their levels drop too low, it can cause cardiac arrhythmias and arrest, and autistic children have died as a result.
What made Dr. Buttar unique back then, so that he stood out from all the other antivax autism biomed quacks, was his “transdermal chelation therapy,” or, as we used to call it, Buttar’s butter. Of course, even if you accept that chelation therapy has any value whatsoever for treating anything other than acute toxicity due to excessive blood levels of certain heavy metals, there was no evidence that Buttar’s butter could even be absorbed through the skin, much less chelate anything. That was probably a good thing because, even if Buttar’s butter was utterly ineffective at treating autism, at least, unlike the case for intravenous chelation therapy, Buttar’s butter couldn’t kill anyone.
Those were seemingly simpler days. Dr. Buttar was definitely a cancer and autism quack, but he was also a significant “pioneer” of what became an all-too-common and distressing tactic among quacks since COVID-19: Attacking state medical boards and any other medical authority trying to rein in quacks and misinformation. His was the template that COVID-19 disinformation spreading doctors followed. Most people combatting disinformation now don’t appreciate just how influential Dr. Buttar was in terms of taking the war straight to state medical boards. The only one who did it more publicly was cancer quack Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, but Dr. Rashid Buttar was the one who actually got North Carolina state law altered to make it more quack-friendly by mobilizing public support to neuter the North Carolina Medical Board and prevent it from disciplining doctors who practice quackery associated with “integrative medicine.”
So what are Dr. Buttar’s fans saying about him? Sayer Ji is clearly an admirer:
It is with sadness, yet great appreciation, that we pay tribute to my friend and colleague Dr. Rashid Buttar, who passed away on May 18th.
Rashid was a fearless and tireless advocate of health freedom and speaking truth to power, and he had an immense impact on helping the world understand the power of their bodies to heal, from literally anything.
We were less than a month awayfrom his 5th Annual Advanced Medicine Conference, which we are now uncertain will proceed.
Interestingly, before Ji’s announcement, I had no idea that Buttar had died, much less been ill. His illness and sudden passing appear to have resulted in conspiracy theories:
Due to rumors circulating and the many questions I have received as to the cause of his passing, I wish to share the last publicly recorded discussion we had, where Rashid wanted the world to know the details surrounding the sudden decline of his health.
For the record, Rashid reached out to me on Feb. 18th, and explained that only a few weeks before, he was in the ICU for 6 days, with a diagnosis of both stroke and myocarditis, with symptoms and biomarkers consistent with adverse effects from the mRNA jabs (which he did not have). As you will see in the video, he believed that he was experiencing the result of shedding (aka, “self-amplifying” properties) from the transgenic mRNA jabs.
Rashid shares his story starting at the hour marker of an interview I conducted on March 13th with Dr. Joel Bohemier, Rashid, Ty Bollinger (another “hit list” member) and titled The Censorship Industrial Establishment Exposed.
Here’s the video, which I can’t seem to embed but will get back to in a moment. First, though, here’s Dr. Paul Alexander with one of his long rambling Substack titles Was Buttar killed? ‘Dr Rashid Buttar died in mysterious circumstances just days after claiming he had been poisoned following a controversial interview with CNN about his Covid pandemic disinformation, in which he asks:
Covid conspiracy doctor claimed he was ‘poisoned after interview’ just days before death; IMO, I don’t put anything past the ‘dark unseen hand’, those behind COVID fraud; where is his autopsy?
Alexander cites this story, in which Buttar claims:
Dr Rashid Buttar, who was part of the group nicknamed the “Disinformation dozen”, died suddenly yesterday (Saturday, May 20) at the age of 57.
He was known for being a huge anti-vaxxer and became a cult figure during the pandemic.
Joe Mercola’s girlfriend Erin Elizabeth was also devastated and echoed the conspiracy theory:
It turns out that Buttar had been ill since late last year, but got very ill in January, landing in the ICU:
Given the reported sudden passing of Dr Rashid Buttar, many questions about what led to his death have been raised. An exact cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but Buttar battled a number of health problems since the start of the year.
Sayer Ji explained in a blog post on Green Med Co that recent months saw Buttar diagnosed with both a stroke and myocarditis.
Buttar was in an intensive care unit for six days in January, he explained on a video call interview. Speaking on the call, Buttar explained that throughout winter, he had experienced significant limb swelling and shortness of breath. “I thought I was dying,” Buttar tells the others on the call, including Sayer Ji.
“On January 18, I was admitted to the hospital at 260 lbs, all fluid weight,” Buttar said. He dropped to just over 180 lbs after being discharged from hospital.
To me this sounds very much like severe heart failure, but that didn’t stop Stew Peters, the “mind” behind Died Suddenly, a quack documentary that claims that COVID-19 vaccines are causing huge numbers of young people, including elite athletes, to “die suddenly,” from posting this video:
Right at the beginning of the video, Peters notes that Buttar was one of the believers in the “snake venom theory,” the “belief that COVID-19 was caused by snake venom rather than the virus” and that COVID-19 vaccines contain snake venom as well. You can almost hear the cognitive dissonance in his voice as he points out that last week Buttar “died suddenly,” adding that we know that he hadn’t been vaccinated and asking what could explain this. And it is true that Buttar claimed that he had been “poisoned” by “200x what’s in the vaccine.” How this happened, he didn’t say. Peters then went on about the existence of CIA assassination techniques that make deaths look like heart attacks. Next up is an interview with Dr. Tau Braun, a quack whom I had never heard before (and whom I might have to look into more in the future), who repeats the narrative that whatever landed Dr. Buttar in the ICU for six days in January must have been poison and that, when a man says he has been poisoned, he’s probably been poisoned. A South African, he references targeted assassinations during apartheid as having “shaped him” so that he believes that Buttar had been killed, whether by the CIA or something else. He even claims that the Center for Countering Digital Hate, by placing Dr. Buttar on its Disinformation Dozen list, had actually put him on a hit list.
Again, because the idea that healthy-appearing people (whether they were truly healthy or, as Dr. Buttar appeared to be, not) almost never “died suddenly” before COVID-19 vaccines, Braun simply can’t accept the possibility that Buttar had died of natural causes. So to Braun, Buttar must have been intentionally poisoned or, alternatively, “shedding” of spike protein (which is the same thing as the snake venom that COVID-19 supposedly is, according to this conspiracy theory) must have been the cause. I’ve written about antivax resurrection of the old shedding trope to claim that those vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines “shed” spike protein that can make others sick; more specifically, I’ve written about what utter nonsense it is from a scientific standpoint. Braun even goes on to say that this toxin, conveniently enough for his narrative, is now “everywhere,” thanks to the vaccine, meaning that you can’t avoid it.
I did laugh out loud when Braun said:
…when you introduce a toxin into the body, the body produces other toxins, and those toxins can leave the body and make other sick.
As if this weren’t utter nonsense enough by itself, it’s especially utter nonsense applied to COVID-19 vaccines, which make such minuscule quantities of spike protein as to make this narrative risible in the extreme. You know what does make a lot of spike protein? COVID-19 infection. It can also cause the body to release more virus (toxin, if you will, just to be sarcastic) that makes others sick. Of course, if this “toxin” is everywhere as Braun claims, then no one can avoid it and everyone needs quackery to “detox” themselves, including—surprise!—EDTA, which is a common chelator used by autism biomed quacks back in the day. At the end of the interview, Peters couldn’t resist interjecting that any doctors still giving COVID-19 shots are actively killing their patients, because of course he couldn’t.
But what about Buttar himself? Going back to the video referenced by Sayer Ji, where Buttar notes that he first felt ill back in September at the Reawaken America tour, where he started feeling short of breath on stage, to the point where he couldn’t “properly give” his presentations and fell back on showing videos. Buttar then relates how he then also developed increasing swelling of his legs that got worse, lasted several days, resolved, and then came back. On Thanksgiving, he couldn’t get his boots on, and between Thanksgiving and January he put on 50 lbs of edema fluid. He said that by the time he was admitted to the hospital he couldn’t lie flat and still breathe and even had to stand up to breathe. These are absolutely classic symptoms of congestive heart failure, so much so that we teach them to first and second year medical students as part of cardiac physiology and pathophysiology.
Now, remember this. Dr. Buttar is a physician. He knows—or should know—all of this. What was he doing during the months that he was putting on so much water weight and finding it increasingly difficult to breathe without being in an upright position? Why did he not see a doctor, particularly a cardiologist but at least an internist of family practice doc? He mentioned that he had thought about taking a diuretic, but obviously he never did. Did it not occur to him that his symptoms sure seemed consistent with right-sided heart failure, possibly biventricular failure? In any case, they alternated Lasix and Bumex, two powerful diuretics, and got a lot of fluid off of him. He also then relates having a mid-thalamic stroke confirmed by MRI that resolved. By the time he was released from the hospital he had lost 60 lbs of fluid and lost nearly 20 more after going home. At just before 1:09, he relates having had elevated troponin levels, which he said were consistent with myocarditis and symptoms consistent with pericarditis. Ultimately, after his discharge from the ICU and hospital in January, Buttar blamed his illness on “secondary inoculation” by the COVID-19 vaccine shedding; indeed, he doubled down, claiming that the goal was to get half the population vaccinated, after which shedding would expose the rest of the population to the “toxin.” He concludes that he “thinks that’s what happened to me.”
Sadly, a far more likely explanation for Dr. Buttar’s illness is that he had developed congestive heart failure, most likely from chronic ischemia due to cardiovascular disease, and that’s what caused him to develop the edema and difficulty breathing. Alternatively, maybe he had a silent myocardial infarction (or one with only mild symptoms that he ignored) and developed progressive heart failure afteward. He might even have had COVID-19, which caused a case of myocarditis. Who knows? The story as related by him and his followers lacks sufficient detail to allow for more than educated speculation about what happened to him. Basically, being in the ICU with congestive heart failure, for whatever reason, tells me that (1) you are not healthy, regardless of how healthy you think you are, and (2) you are at high risk of sudden cardiac death, which is very likely what happened to Dr. Buttar. Again, we can’t know for sure. There are not enough details provided.
Unfortunately, because the “died suddenly” conspiracy theory demands that healthy people do not just “die suddenly” and that only the COVID-19 vaccine is causing people do “die suddenly” (even though there has been a small but consistent incidence of sudden arrhythmic deaths for a very long time, a phenomenon first described in the 1970s, when someone who is unvaccinated, particularly as famous an antivaxxer as Dr. Buttar, dies, antivaxxers cannot accept it. Indeed, Dr. Buttar himself couldn’t accept that he had just gotten sick. Instead, he had to find a way to blame vaccine “shedding” for his illness, because he was unvaccinated and couldn’t possibly have had congestive heart failure or a small stroke without the vaccine somehow having been involved. .Then, because the antivaccine movement is at its heart a conspiracy theory like all science denial, people like Stew Peters and Erin Johnson show up to bring in conspiracy theories about the CIA or big pharma hit squads having “poisoned” him—with the “toxin” from the vaccine, of course!
To conspiracy theorists like Dr. Buttar, the COVID-19 vaccine is the source of all evil in his conspiracy theory, the weapon by which “They” are poisoning everyone. Because he had kept himself “pure” by not getting the vaccine, he simply could not accept getting seriously ill for the same reasons that we all can become ill and had to blame it on the vaccine. If that wasn’t enough, then his fans had to find a way to turn his having “died suddenly” into an assassination. Again, this is not unexpected. Antivax is, at its heart, a conspiracy theory, and grief will bring out its more paranoid elements. Unfortunately for him and his family, it turns out that Dr. Buttar was just as much a victim of his own quackery as his patients have been over the last quarter century.