Anti-vaxxer admits giving diabetic dangerous dose

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Anti-vaxxer Christopher Savage administered alternative medicine to a diabetic resulting in him being rushed to hospital earlier this year. Photo/Warren Buckland.
Anti-vaxxer Christopher Savage administered alternative medicine to a diabetic resulting in him being rushed to hospital earlier this year. Photo/Warren Buckland.

An anti-vaxxer who administered alternative medicine to a diabetic resulting in him being rushed to hospital has admitted to a charge of criminal nuisance, but another charge of assaulting a person with a needle has been withdrawn.

Australian, Christopher William Savage, 53, appeared at Hastings District Court this morning where he entered a guilty plea to the charge before Judge Tony Adeane.
The maximum penalty for this type of offence is one year imprisonment.

Savage arrived in New Zealand in April this year, the summary of facts states he is "widely known as being an anti-vaccine campaigner and a supporter of alternative medicines for treatment of illnesses".

He holds no medical qualifications or registrations in New Zealand and is not permitted to conduct medical procedures.

The victim in this matter suffers from several health issues and Savage claimed he could offer alternative medicine to cure them.

The procedures included putting the victim on a biomat and giving him magnesium orally. Savage also emptied out all unhealthy foods from the victim's pantry and replaced them with his own selection for the victim to eat.

"The victim was somewhat reluctant to undertake the measure imposed on him by the defendant, but continued to do so for a period of time," the summary states.

Savage stopped the diabetic's regular insulin injections, which were a requirement to ensure his good health.

He believed the injections would no longer be needed while his alternative treatment regime was undertaken.

The diabetic became ill from not having his insulin like he needed, "at this point, on two separate occasions, the defendant has inserted a needle into the victim's arm and administered an unknown liquid, intravenously".

The summary states the victim, in his ill state, was in no position to stop Savage, and was worried about the effects of the medicine.

He described the needle being inserted into the vain as "very painful as the defendant pats his arm trying to find the vein".

The diabetic's son activated a medic alert device through St John after the second occasion Savage injected medicine into his diabetic father, who was then rushed to hospital.

Savage left Hawke's Bay just after the diabetic was admitted to hospital and he spent his time travelling throughout New Zealand.

When interviewed, he told police the diabetic was aware he did not have medical qualifications or registrations in New Zealand and he was a consenting patient.

In March, Hawke's Bay District Health Board issued a public warning urging people not to accept medical services, treatment or advice from Savage.

Earlier this month, it emerged that Savage had created a website, hosted in Iceland, which advertised biomats, touting them as a cure for cancer.

Savage's defence counsel Matthew Phelps told Judge Adeane it was his client's first time before the courts and he had previously served for the Australian police force for 20 years.

He began to explain his client's position, saying he had recently developed an interest in alternative medicine.

The judge interrupted, telling Mr Phelps to "save his powder," for when his client was sentenced.

Savage was arrested when he returned to New Zealand earlier this year, and on leaving again has no intention of returning, Mr Phelps said.

Medical Council of New Zealand website states doctors practising medicine here must be registered and hold a current practising certificate.

It is illegal to practise here without one. A practising certificate confirms doctors are competent, fit and authorised to practise medicine within the scope of practice and conditions given on the certificate.

Savage will return to court on Wednesday to be sentenced.

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