A Secret Grave 127: Before There Was Yelp


When I searched for Victor online, his name popped up in quite a few places – practices he’d worked with, clinics he’d run, letters of acclaim, lawsuits. I could find no photos of him, but that wasn’t surprising. One testimonial read like this:

I visited Dr. Victor Goodlove in his Austin clinic on the recommendation of a friend. What a trip! If you go see him, don’t go looking for a regular doctor. This guy uses bright laser lights and something called a “Scenar” that looks like a TV remote and gets rid of inflammation in the body. I consulted him because I had a bad case of shingles. I was really in pain with sores on my back and chest. After one treatment with Dr. Goodlove, the pain deteriorated and within a week all signs of the rash were gone.

That letter appeared in a community newspaper in August 2004, written by a Milton Schwartz whom I should probably contact.

Here’s a bad review of Victor:

I suffer from asthma and a friend suggested I consult Dr. Victor Goodlove. I don’t like to say someone’s a phony, but I think he’s full of shit with the lights he shines up and down your body and all sorts of mumbo jumbo. He gave me herbs to open my chest and help my breathing, but they didn’t help one bit. In fact, the attacks seemed to get worse and last longer.

There were more good reviews than bad. The real trouble lay with the lawsuits. There were four of them in all, and one of them was particularly disturbing because it involved a death. I will focus on that one (the others were garden variety complaints regarding adverse reactions to medication, worsening thyroid disease, insomnia, diabetes – meh! In the world of lawsuits these were nothing, bupkis).

The person who died was a woman named Sarah Ann Grinnell from Plano, Texas. She was forty-two years old at the time of her death in 2000 from a heart attack. Victor was treating her for obesity. She weighed two hundred and five pounds at the beginning of her treatment and was down to one hundred and eighty when she expired.


weight loss

Sarah Ann Grinnell (Weight Loss, Jennifer Morrow, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)


The claim against Victor was that he put Sarah Ann on a radical weight loss regime without proper medical supervision. There had been no examination of her overall health, particularly heart health, before he administered herbs – some of which had questionable ingredients. To all appearances, other than being overweight, Sarah Ann had been in excellent condition when she first consulted Victor. She worked as a data processor for the Texas Comptroller and led a very sedentary lifestyle though she liked to hike with her dog on weekends. She tried a million diets, none successful, until she met Victor who recommended nuts, fruits, vegetables, low fat meats, Ezekiel bread, and lots of water. And herbs – Victor’s own special blend of supplements in the form of capsules containing god only knows what.


herbs weight loss

Ephedra viridis in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, Stan Shebs, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License


Sarah Ann’s lawyers claimed forty-two-year-olds don’t usually drop dead of heart attacks, and that ephedra, grown by Victor in his garden and used in his medications, was the chief culprit. Ephedra, also known as Ma Huang, contains alkaloids banned by the FDA in 2004 due to adverse side effects, such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, muscle disorders, seizures, strokes, irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness, and death. Whoops. Sarah Ann began treatment with Victor in January 2000 and died eight months later. I myself began treatment with Victor in January 2005. I can’t believe that up till now I’d never heard of her.


To be continued…


Cover photo ~ http://inwardsolutions.com/how-and-why-you-should-add-testimonials-to-your-website/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *