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 “60 Minutes” 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.
“Medical 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,” 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 It turned out that Ecklund’s license had been revoked and the stem cells he had shipped to the United States were dead.
“They’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 there’s a 75 percent chance that our son’s cerebral palsy could be cured,” Susser said.
Crouse said people should be wary of overseas clinics promising miraculous results.
“My recommendation to individuals is that they go someplace that they feel comfortable asking those questions,” Crouse said. “ Often that will be a university medical center.”
Crouse will be speaking about the irresponsible use of stem cells for profit during the Omaha Science Café at the Slowdown tonight at 7 p.m.
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