The Doctor Whose “All-Curing” Diet Starved Her Patients to Death

When expert advice can lead you to disaster.

The Maverick Files
6 min readApr 19, 2021


Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The most dangerous type of advice is bad or wrong advice that comes from a position of authority. You tend to trust the person’s “expertise” and follow it blindly, never doubting it in the least.

You go in for heart surgery because your doctor tells you your arteries are blocked — there’s no way you’re going to verify that yourself, apart from possibly seeking a “second opinion” from yet another doctor.

Hence, trust becomes the single most important factor in your relationship with your doctor, probably even more than that with your partner!

But hardly any of us goes and does a background check on our doctors and digs up their degrees and verify their authenticity. If they’re “licensed” by the government or appropriate authorities, we trust the due diligence.

However, all that and more went all wrong in the case of a certain Linda Hazzard, whose “treatments” were responsible for at least 15 deaths, in the early 20th century.

A doctor without a medical degree

Linda was born in Minnesota on December 18, 1867, and was one of eight children. She never got any medical degree but used a loophole in Washington State at the time to get a license to practice medicine.

The loophole allowed some practitioners of traditional medicine to be “grandfathered in” without having actual medical degrees.

A grandfather clause (or grandfather policy or grandfathering) is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases.

The obsession with fasting as a “one-size-fits-all” cure

She was a huge champion of “fasting” as an answer to almost all illnesses. She believed that most, if not all, diseases were caused due to toxins that accumulate in the body, and fasting could help a person get rid of these toxins and hence the underlying condition.

She was so sure of her approach — she even wrote three books about fasting which she claimed was a science-backed…



The Maverick Files

Thinker, finance professional, loving husband, a doting dad, fitness enthusiast! MBA in Finance & Marketing and Comp. Science Engineer.