Naturopathic Doctor By Day, Transplant Ethics Advocate By Night
[Photo Caption: Dr. Dana Churchill, Southern California representative for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, speaking May 27, 2012 in Los Angeles.]
Dana Churchill, N.M.D. is a naturopathic doctor practicing in Pasadena, California. He works four or five days every week to help patients with anything from chronic illness, to energy and anti-aging. Dr. Churchill also uses his culinary arts training to concoct herbal smoothies and craft fitness & nutrition plans.
When his work at the clinic is done, Dr. Churchill puts in 80 to 90 hours a week raising awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Dr. Churchill works as the West Coast Delegate for Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH), a network of physicians who speak out about the Chinese communist regime’s unethical harvesting of organs from living prisoners of conscience, most of whom are Falun Gong practitioners.
“It’s such a massive issue,” Dr. Churchill said in a phone interview. “It’s important to do whatever I can to get the word out and make sure people do something good from their hearts for Falun Gong.”
Forced organ harvesting, first reported in 2005, has been called “murder on demand.” However, due to fear of economic repercussions, media outlets have avoided the issue. Doctors and other members of the medical community are learning about it through the work of organizations like DAFOH.
Dr. Churchill found out about about organ harvesting when he read an in-depth article in Epoch Times. He remembers the “horror and disbelief” he felt when he first encountered the issue. The mental image of an unwilling donor being tied down to a hospital bed, burned into his mind’s eye—he imagined the person awake and terrified, with doctors not telling him that he was about to be cut into, or that his organs would be removed without anesthesia.
“I couldn’t even think about it,” he said. “It took me a week or two to realize that [the perpetrators] are so evil. There’s nothing more evil and I knew I have to do everything I can to stop it.”
Understandably, forced organ harvesting is a difficult issue to think about, and its gravity can feel debilitating. Yet Dr. Churchill and other DAFOH doctors push on—it’s part of their responsibilities as healers.
According to Dr. Churchill:
People need to know that if they go to China for organ transplant, they could end up murdering somebody, or they might not make it back because the surgeons aren’t that good—and if they make it back, followup care would be compromised because they don’t necessarily tell you all the drugs you’re on.
Dr. Churchill has hosted four forums on the topic for members of the transplant community. Key speakers included David Matas and David Kilgour, investigators who published evidence in 2006 of forced organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners; and Ethan Gutmann, award-winning China analyst and human-rights investigator.
In Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, and San Francisco, these speakers detailed the facts and implications of what is happening in hospitals all over China. Doctors, researchers, and pharmaceutical reps. in attendance learned—most for the very first time—that such atrocities are being perpetrated by their colleagues overseas. Many doctors joined DAFOH after these forums and helped to organize more advocacy efforts.
In response, Dr. Churchill noted:
When you touch somebody’s heart, no matter what position they’re in, in society, they’re going to help in ways they can. Like people say, if you see something horrible but you don’t do your part to stop it, you’re part of the problem. There’s no sugar-coating it. It’s a horrible thing and people don’t want to hear about it, but they have to.
DAFOH is a 2016 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, for its efforts to protect ethical standards in the transplant industry.
Now, Dr. Churchill says he and the other doctors at DAFOH are looking for major universities to host more forums and screenings of the film Hard to Believe.