Medical tourism risky business
June 11th, 2013
Omaha, NE — Stem cell tourism was the topic of a luncheon hosted by the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures June 11 at the Thompson Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Dr. David Crouse, president of the coalition, and Gary Susser, an advocate for responsible stem cell research, partnered to relate the dangers of medical tourism.
Susser, his wife Judy and their son Adam, who has cerebral palsy, was the spotlight of a â€œ60 Minutesâ€ investigation on that very issue.
There are anywhere from 60,000 to 750,000 medical tourists annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, unlicensed doctors promising cures will scam many out of thousands of dollars.
â€œMedical tourism preys on the hopes, fears and wants of parents and families who have children or others who are stricken with what may be thought of as incurable ailments or diseases,â€ Susser said.
Last year, Susser and his family helped expose Dan Ecklund and his facility, Tech Labs of Ecuador.
Ecklund arranged plans to administer four stem cell transplants, which each costs $5,000, to the then eleven-year-old Adam. It turned out that Ecklundâ€™s license had been revoked and the stem cells he had shipped to the United States were dead.
â€œTheyâ€™re nothing but snake oil salesmen telling you as we were told that if we did purchase these stem cells over the internet and we paid the doctor cash to administer them that thereâ€™s a 75 percent chance that our sonâ€™s cerebral palsy could be cured,â€ Susser said.
Crouse said people should be wary of overseas clinics promising miraculous results.
â€œMy recommendation to individuals is that they go someplace that they feel comfortable asking those questions,â€ Crouse said. â€œ Often that will be a university medical center.â€
Crouse will be speaking about the irresponsible use of stem cells for profit during the Omaha Science CafÃ© at the Slowdown tonight at 7 p.m.
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