This story came across the wires a couple of days ago. Apparently Ty Warner who made billions as the owner of the company that made Beenie Babies stopped to ask directions from a woman who was attempting to raise $20,000 for medical treatment. He later came back and gave her a check for the full amount. This is clearly a very generous act. Unfortunately the woman is going over seas for an unproven stem cell treatment. The term “Stem Cells’ is the latest con game being played by shady doctors over seas and occasionally here at home.
The field holds great hope but very few treatments are actually tested and proven at this point and there have been some significant disappointments and dangers. It does however make a perfect tool for scammers. Treatment often involves injection of blood cells into the blood stream which in itself is not very complicated. There is much more to it than that but that is the only part that the patient sees. The really important stuff happens behind the scenes in how the cells are grown and treated but patients have no idea if the doctor providing treatment has any idea what he is doing in the lab. All they see is a doctor putting in an IV and infusion something draped in promises. Its easy enough for anyone with no scruples to set up an office, put on a suit, and weave a web of hope to these desperate patients.
The woman in this story is going “overseas” for stem cell treatment of chronic kidney disease. I’d never heard of any such treatment that had reached the stage where it could be offered as a legitimate option, but i researched it a bit and all thats been done so far are some rat studies. It would be one thing if she were being enrolled in a legitimate clinical trial but if that were the case she should not have to raise $20,000 since such trials are usually free of charge to the patient.
This poor woman is going to a scam artist for unproven and possibly dangerous therapy all aided and abetted by the altruism of a stranger. I guess its true that no good deed goes unpunished.