There are, unfortunately, many more kinds of pseudo-scientific health care woo floating around out there than just Gwyneth Paltrow’s specific form of bullshit. Charlatans come in all shapes and sizes; here are some good tips on how to spot these assholes. Excerpt:
The latest in a sadly recurrent theme of people posing as doctors when they have no such background or training is that of a Florida man who donned a white coat in advertisements that proclaimed he could cure diseases. He declared he could “treat hernias, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthrosis, renal failure, vision problems, and a host of other health issues.” After the reality was uncovered by investigators that he never held a medical license in the state and he was subsequently arrested, he maintained “he did not believe he needed a license to practice medicine. He said he was a lab technician in Cuba and got his certificate for Iridology, herbology, and nutrition when he moved to Florida.
Here’s what this asshole did:
In this particular scenario, the accused did the following:
“arranged to meet a patient at a home…and, when the patient arrived, he was asked to fill out papers and pay $160…then checked the patient’s blood pressure and then put a band around his head and asked him to hold a metal rod connected to a machine on a table that began making beeping noises once it was turned on. Deputies say he told the patient he was testing his heart, brain, intestinal system, bones, nerves, and “everything else.” After the “test” was complete… told the patient he had diabetes, osteoporosis, and that he was not getting enough oxygen to his brain, among other ailments. He said that for only $2,000, he could cure the patient’s diabetes by using a treatment that would include injecting the patient with “his own blood.”…told them [deputies] he draws the patient’s blood, then injects the same blood he just withdrew because he says it “combats” the blood cells and boosts the immune system…Deputies say he also told the patient he cured the homeowner of his diabetes and called him on the phone to get his testimony.”
Now, as I’ve said many times in these virtual pages, there comes a point where fools and their money deserve to be parted; but I don’t think this is necessarily it. I will say that the way to combat this sort of horseshit is not regulation but education; promoting articles like the one linked here far and wide, to reduce the number of the ill-informed for people like this Cuban lab tech to prey on.
Which is, of course, one of the reasons I linked it here.
It’s a little baffling that anyone would go to a health care provider and not at least glance at the diplomas on the wall. Granted, I suppose it’s possible to fake those certificates. But falling for a line of woo from some asshole whose claim to competency is flat-out stating that he was a “laboratory tech in Cuba”? That’s a whole ‘nother level of stupid.
I’m fortunate in having had the same primary physician for almost thirty years now. He knows me, I know him, he knows how much he can pester me about my cigar smoking or my weight, I know when it’s time for me to shut up and listen to him. We’ve known each other a long time and understand each other.
I understand that few people nowadays have that kind of long-term relationship with a physician, and that’s too bad. But it’s also too bad that anybody falls for snake-oil salesmen – whether they be lab techs from Cuba of air-headed actresses from Hollywood.