Oct. 24, 1907: Sanitarium Doctor Tells Patients to ‘Live on Love’ and Forget About Food


Note: This is an encore post from 2006.

Oct. 24, 1907
Los Angeles

Upon the suicide in February of Dr. H. Russell Burner, advocate of the “radium milk” cure, his sanitarium at 2033 E. 4th St. was taken over by Dr. F. S. Kurpiers, who is now in trouble with the Health Department.

Kurpiers didn’t have a medical license, so he obtained the certificate of Dr. C.H. King, a dying physician who wept as he told authorities that the only way he could support a few relatives was to rent out his license.

Rather than a “radium milk” cure, Kurpiers suggested that patients follow their instincts in when to eat—preferably never. Rachel Golder, a nurse at the sanitarium, quit because she never got to eat and relatives charged that one patient had become a bag of skin and bones under Kurpiers’ care.

Kurpiers explained his philosophy this way: “Only instinct knows what’s best for you. A child’s antipathy to bitter medicines is the unavailing protest of nature against science. When a learnedly-foolish mother gags the baby and pours deadly stuff down, then science rubs its fleshless claws, chuckles with ghoulish glee and glides away to line the coffin with divine dispensation.

“Baby always knows.”

The Board of Health suspended the sanitarium’s license, but it’s unclear what became of Kurpiers.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1907, Crime and Courts, Medicine and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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