Friday, May 13, 2016

Oasis of Hope in Tijuana, Mexico: Scamming Desperate Cancer Patients with Quackery

People who get cancer are often very desperate.  They are in a very difficult situation.  Furthermore, medical science does not make promises it cannot keep.  Our currently limited state of medical knowledge means that significant numbers of people with cancer will die from the disease.  While, by the grace of God and through the practice of scientific medicine in accordance with the Dominion Mandate of Genesis 1, rates of death from cancer are gradually declining, it is still a horrible disease.  (By the way, you can invest in Eventide's Healthcare and Life Sciences Mutual Fund if you want to own companies that are developing cures for horrible diseases like cancer and also, probably, earn a great rate of return!)  Sadly, there are people who are willing to prey on and take advantage of those who are in desperate need with cancer.  Instead of showing genuine compassion to them, praying for them, and comforting them with the Scriptures, they take advantage of their physical need to rip them off, take their money away, and lower both their length and quality of life with false promises of cures.  There are many clinics in Tijuana, Mexico run by quacks and scam artists that prey on cancer patients.  The clinics are across the U. S. border so that they are free from the legal consequences they would fall under for scamming people in the U. S. A.  People with cancer would do well to seek reliable information on cancer, learn how to detect the lies and misinformation spread by cancer quacks, and get reliable information  on unconventional therapies from organizations such as the American Cancer Society.  When evaluating cure-claims by advocates of unconventional or alternative medicine, one should ask if the "treatment" is based on pagan or New Age ideas at war with Scripture, such as Reiki, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Reflexology, Iridology, Acupuncture, Macrobiotics, Naturopathy, Rolfing, Applied Kinesiology, Neuro-Emotional Techniques, and the vast majority of Chiropractic.  The following questions from the National Cancer Institute are also very worthwhile:

Many proponents of unconventional methods of cancer treatment make claims that are not or cannot be scientifically confirmed. They commonly present a treatment that has a very high degree of activity against cancers that are considered incurable; a treatment with few, if any, side effects; a treatment whose nature and exact contents are kept secret for fear of sabotage by the medical establishment. However, practitioners of unconventional treatments are held to the same research standards as those of any scientist: that a discovery be evaluated scientifically and reported in a timely and thorough fashion in the scientific literature so that others may learn of, evaluate, and critique the research results.

When scientific research shows that a new treatment method has promise, the method is evaluated in clinical trials with cancer patients. These studies are designed to answer scientific questions and to find out whether the new treatment is safe for patients and effective against the disease. The NCI booklet "What Are Clinical Trials All About?" provides further information about such studies. Patients interested in investigational treatment should ask their physicians to determine whether they are eligible for a clinical trial.
Patients and their families may wish to consider the following questions when making decisions about cancer treatment:
  • Has the treatment been evaluated in clinical trials? A reference librarian can help patients interested in a particular treatment find out whether it has been reported in reputable scientific journals
  • Do the practitioners of an approach claim that the medical community is trying to keep their cure from the public? No one genuinely committed to finding better ways to treat a disease would knowingly keep an effective treatment a secret or try to suppress such a treatment
  • Does the treatment rely on nutritional or diet therapy as its main focus? At this time, there is no known dietary cure for cancer. In other words, there is no evidence that diet alone can get rid of cancerous cells in the body
  • Do those who endorse the treatment claim that it is harmless and painless and that it produces no unpleasant side effects? Because treatments for cancer must be very powerful, they frequently have unpleasant side effects
  • Does the treatment have a "secret formula" that only a small group of practitioners can use? Scientists who believe they have developed an effective treatment routinely publish their results in reputable journals so they can be evaluated by other researchers.
The use of unconventional methods may result in the loss of valuable time and the opportunity to receive potentially effective therapy and consequently reduce a patient's chances for cure or control of cancer. For this reason, NCI strongly urges cancer patients to remain in the care of qualified, board- certified physicians who use accepted methods of treatment or who are participating in scientifically designed clinical trials. (Board certification is one way a practitioner demonstrates that he or she has had training in treating patients with cancer.) Often, it is appropriate for patients to consider investigational therapy. For such patients, clinical trials are a treatment option.

Oasis of Hope in Tijuana, Mexico is a classic example of a clinic that scams desperate cancer patients with quack remedies in order to make vast sums of money.  It is currently run by Francisco Contreras, son of Ernesto Contreras, who started the business in 1963.  As of the date when this blog post was written, the Oasis of Hope website prominently displays the following tables:

NOTE: THE "STATISTICS" BELOW ARE FAKE, AS IS DEMONSTRATED IN THIS POST.


NOTE: THE "STATISTICS" BELOW ARE FAKE, AS IS DEMONSTRATED IN THIS POST.


NOTE: THE "STATISTICS" BELOW ARE FAKE, AS IS DEMONSTRATED IN THIS POST.



NOTE: THE "STATISTICS" BELOW ARE FAKE, AS IS DEMONSTRATED IN THIS POST.


NOTE: THE "STATISTICS" BELOW ARE FAKE, AS IS DEMONSTRATED IN THIS POST.

Oasis of Hope even claims to have "better survival rates than any other cancer treatment center in the world."  Sounds good, no?  Too good?  Do you notice anything suspicious about the statistics above?  What questions would you ask about them?  (Think it through--think about the warning from the National Cancer Institute above--and then go to the next paragraph.)




The first thing one ought to notice is that there is no way to verify the statistics.  There is no way to know whether each claimed cure represents one person who happened to live a long time or an average of 1,000 people's lifespans.  There is no way to know whether or not the statistics are entirely made up and represent nothing at all.  I consequently wrote to the Oasis of Hope business and asked the following questions:

In terms of the cancer survival statistics on your website, please let me know precisely how your follow-up system is organized.  How and how often do you communicate with patients after they leave?  What percent of patients let you know how they are doing?  Is the stage of cancer independently verified and the outcomes independently verified, or does your clinic assess the stage of cancer and conclude the outcomes without any independent verification? 

What was Oasis of Hope's reply?  "[R]egarding your inquries about how we calculate our cure statistics and our follow up department processes, . . . that . . . is not public information[.]"  Instead of explaining why anyone should believe their statistics of "cures" are not fake, I was asked to fill out a survey and get the process going of having Mr. Contreras evaluate me.  I asked a second time:

I do not understand why Oasis of Hope would not make the facts underlying the charts on [its] website available so that people could validate that the material is legitimate.  I could in no way justify recommending that anyone trust [his] life to your institution without any way to verify that the cure rate tables published and promoted on your website are real.  I do not understand why your follw up procedures would need to remain hidden if they are quality and reputable ones.  I can't imagine going to a hospital that advertised that they had the best rates of cancer-cures of any place . . . but then kept hidden and secret the evidence upon which they made those claims rather than submitting them to the rigorous analysis and validation that justifiable claims can undergo.

They never provided any evidence in response to repeated inquiries.  Never.  Why?  Because what they do does not cure cancer.  Their home page claims to be carrying on "the healing legacy of Dr. Ernesto Contreras, Sr."  However, an evaluation of the senior Contreras found most patients unaware of the stage of cancer they had, medical records unavailable for review, and an average survival time of only 7 months (pg. 463, Herb-drug interactions in Oncology, Barry R. Cassileth, K. Simon Yeung; accessible free online at Google Books). The conclusion that "Contreras therapy is ineffective in treating late-stage cancer recipients" was reached. Furthermore, "By 1974, Dr. Contreras stated that he was seeing 100-120 new patients per month, with many more patients returning to obtain additional Laetrile. . . . [His] statistics may not be reliable. In 1979, he claimed to have treated 26,000 cancer cases in 16 years. Yet when asked by the FDA to provide his most dramatic examples of success, Contreras submitted only 12 case histories. Six of the patients had died of cancer, one had used conventional cancer therapy, one had died of another disease after the cancer had been removed surgically, one still had cancer, and the other three could not be located" (source).  The Cancer Journal for Clinicians reviewed the Contreras program and concluded that there was no evidence at all that it worked (source).  Cancer centers nationally also warn that his therapies don't work (e. g., source #1 and source #2.)  If the clinic really has the rates of cure it advertises on its website, why don’t they get someone independent to verify them? Contreras would get a Nobel Prize if he really developed cures in the way he claimed. The clinic does not get independent verification because it cannot, and the people that run the place know it.  Any objective validation of what they do demonstrates that what they do does not work. So why do they continue?  Are they sincere, but deluded?  No--they are money hungry, ripping people off to enrich themselves.  Consider the following testimony by someone who is totally convinced that what they does works and has gone to the Oasis of Hope business for several years:

I have paid over 300 thousand dollars US so far. The 25,000 [initial payment] is just an introductory. If you have a severe case, you will pay a lot of money. I am fortunate to have some money from my aerospace company I founded, but my honest opinion is that this hospital will help you the most and get you better if you have a lot of money. They are in a figurative sense, milking me of my money but, I really have no other choice, while it is costing me a lot of money, they are keeping me alive. So I am grateful for that. They do ozone iv, uv iv, perftec, vitamin c iv, laetrile iv, vit k iv and nurtracuticals. [Quack stuff that does not cure cancer.] Also they do light chemo too [which only makes cancer more resistant and does not cure it.] . . . . At Oasis, they will keep me alive until I run out of money i guess. The treatment is very expenisive [sic] at Oasis. The rates for medicines, surgeries are more expensive than in England. For example, an antibiotic in England cost me about say $30 US. The same at Oasis, they charged me $250 US. To remove a cyst in England I was quoted about $500 US. I paid almost $3000 US at the Oasis of Hope Hospital. That is a much higher rate. A bone scan in England cost me about $400 US through a private company, at Oasis I paid . . . $1000 US. . . .

The owner is Dr. Contreras Jr,, He is a very intelligent guy, first, his intelligence is in the form of being a clever businessman first. He really presents himself as a religious man, but I will say that after 3.5 years of getting acquainted with him, the man's first priority is money.

He uses religion to hide his somewhat money hungry side. He lives in San Diego in a large estate, just across the border. He also has a large property with maids and expensive furniture and antiques in Tijuana and a house in Vienna, as well as many houses throughout resort cities in Mexico and Europe. Most who work with him, think he is very humble person, who lives a meager lifestyle and is deeply involved in religion. Yet, he lives the life of a wealthy aristocrat. He keeps a very low profile on monetary matters. He does very little there in terms of actual medical practice at Oasis, mainly he just checks on the business and make sure thing are in order. He comes in a few times a week to check up on things. He does meet once a week with his team of doctors and he does evaluate some patients.

But, his role is mostly a PR role and he mostly does question and answer interviews in the Oasis cafeteria and on the third floor in their meeting room. He is very charismatic guy, dressed in expensive Armani suits with slightly grayed hair and skin that has been treated and pampered with facials.

His nephew is named Daniel Kennedy and he is the CEO. I met him many times too. He also presents himself as a religious guy, with a degree in divinity.

He would also tell me stories about how he was working on a doctorate in psychology and that was his passion. He by training has an MBA and is the main person that took Oasis of Hope Hospital . . . to a more business run place with the first priority of making money first then helping.

Having talk to Daniel Kennedy many times, the financial side to Daniel Kennedy came out numerous times.

Actually under the leadership of Daniel Kennedy, Oasis Hospital shifted its business plan . . . to charging far more expensive rates, well more than I would pay in the UK. Daniel Kennedy changed the pricing scheme to address the psychological impression that people have on price. His idea was to charge more money, as this would be associated with having better medical care.

Daniel Kennedy also developed a revenue sharing model that allows doctors to acquire a commission of all charges incurred. So, doctors that perform extra tests and extra scans and procedures will get a percentage of these profits. This is perhaps the wors[t] thing that happened to Oasis of Hope Hospital.

Daniel Kennedy's revenue based sharing has allowed the Oasis of hope hospital to substantially increase their profits. Patients may get extra tests and procedures in the process, depending on the doctor.

His fondness of wealth and business came out. Daniel Kennedy has expensive taste and he talked to me several times because they know I am successful, he talked to me about opening a clinic in England. He talked about the amount of money that could be made there if the proper people were involved. But, he did not mention about the people that could be helped.

He is a business guy who since his involvement with his uncle, has turned Oasis to a money making machine. Oasis profited over $20 million dollars US after expenses in 2006. That is how they can afford to be in Playas de Tijuana, basically on the beach in Tijuana, the most affluent part of Tijuana. It is actually across the street from the beach. There is an arena on the beach where they do bull fighting and other sports.

Considering the low gross domestic product per citizen in Mexico, $10,000 US is considered a good salary salary in Mexico. The low cost of labor, makes Dr. Contreras Jr. and Daniel Kennedy his nephew, very wealthy men.

Oasis Hospital by the way, does not engage in revenue sharing with other employees, from the lower tier rank and file. They earn the bare minimum, which is the a livable wage, but slightly above the poverty line there. As of today, I don't know their current financials now. But, I would assume that it is in the millions, that is profit too.

Dr. Contreras is a very wealthy man, most do not know this because he presents himself as a devout Christian. He hides this financial side of him through religion and charisma. But, if he indeed were pious, then try walking into his clinic with a little money and sick[.] [S]ervice will be refused.

Hence the dominant customer base are folks like myself from the UK. I don't want to say that Dr. Contreras Jr. is not religious, because he is, but money is his first priority above everything, then comes religion, kind of contradictory to the Christian faith. The money side to Dr. Contreras Jr. takes precedence over health care. . . . I guess this is the price to stay alive. I would rather spend $300,000 and be alive, then not be alive. I really thank Oasis for helping me, but don't go there thinking that you will only spend the bare minimum if you are very sick. Be prepared to pay a lot of money. . . . I figure that I will need to spend a total of 700,000 . . . to stay alive.


Consider these are the words from one who is so convinced that they are right that he is willing to trust them with his life and with $700,000.  Sadly, it is obvious that they are unprincipled con-artists who will milk needy people with cancer for all that they have.  If you have terminal cancer, do not go with quacks and con-men.  It is not true that "even if it doesn't cure me, it can't hurt," because every dollar you give such people funds more of their con-business and so contributes to the death of people who could have been cured by conventional medical science.  If you do not have terminal cancer, do not go with them.  If you do, expect your cancer to become terminal.  Furthermore, watch out for quack remedies that are not so immediately fatal as the Oasis of Hope.  The reason people are willing to trust their lives to such con-artists is that they have already bought into lower-level lies and misinformation by advocates of alternative medical misinformation.  Get educated, and evaluate such things Biblically and rationally.  Protect your family, your church, your community, and yourself from unconventional cancer "cures" promoted by thieves that come to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10).

If you, or someone you know, has cancer and is considering Oasis of Hope or any other unconventional treatment, consider the following questions:

1.) Does the remedy have clear, properly tested and verified cure statistics?
2.) In creating these statistics, did they verify what stage of cancer a person had (e. g., I, 2A, 3B, etc.), and that the persons supposedly cured actually did have cancer?
3.) Did they follow up on their patients to verify that they were actually cured, or was follow up spotty or nonexistent?  Do they follow up on 100% of those they treat, or do they only publicize people who happen to still be alive while ignoring the rest?
4.) Do they utilize unsubstantiated testimonials about cures instead of objective testing?
5.) Have there been double-blind, placebo-controlled tests of the remedy, or only poorly designed tests, or no tests at all?
6.) Are their statistics independently verified, or are they only self-promulgated with no independent verification?
7.) Does the therapy require the rejection of basic laws of science or involve supposing New Age ideas?

If multiple double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, that were independently verified, have proven that the particular unconventional treatment you are considering works better than chemotherapy (and chemotherapy, when employed by science-based medicine, does work) for the particular type of cancer you or a loved one has, then perhaps it is worth taking a look at it.  After all, that is the sort of testing that real medicine undergoes--and passes.  However, if the particular unconventional remedy you are looking into cannot pass this sort of science-based test (and the reason unconventional therapies are not conventional, but alternative or unconventional, is because they cannot pass science-based tests--if they could, they would become conventional), by rejecting the Biblically-based scientific method for unconventional "medicine" that does not work you are violating the sixth commandment by rebelliously refusing to preserve life.  Start planning for a funeral, because the "medicine" you are going to spend vast sums to adopt will not work any better than a placebo.  You are the simple person who believes every word instead of the prudent man who looks well to his going (Proverbs 14:15), and you will pay for your foolishness with your life.

Sadly, I spent the time looking into the (falsely named) Oasis of Hope because of someone who I knew who had cancer and was going to go there.  This person had been a True Believer in unconventional medicine for some time--despite the evidence that it is unbiblical and unscientific--and so, in the time of extreme trial, the person went with what had already been believed in for lesser difficulties.  (When you reach for the homeopathic nostrum to cure your common cold, you are preparing the way for an early death, for in a future serious medicinal situation you are likely to opt for a quack placebo treatment instead of real medicine.) The person decided to go there despite the fact that the Oasis refused to give the evidence for their "cure" statistics.  The Oasis at one point told me that they only disclose the basis for their "cure" statistics to those who attend their clinic, but when this person went there and spent vast sums of money on the Oasis's false hope, Contreras and his fellow wealthy con-artists still refused to explain how they derived their "cure" rates.  After two trips to the Oasis and huge amounts of money wasted, the person died of cancer a few months later--the person lived no longer than if no treatments of any kind had been pursued at all, and almost surely less time than if real medicine had been employed, because placebos do not cure cancer.  The only major difference between doing absolutely nothing and going to the Oasis of Hope was that Contreras had the family's money instead of the person's heirs.

The Oasis of Hope is a scam, ripping off desperate and needy cancer patients with quackery.  It should be renamed--perhaps Oasis of Lies--perhaps Oasis of Bankrupcy--perhaps Oasis of Quackery--or, best, the Oasis of Death.

On a final note--while the Oasis of Hope offers a false hope, the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son who has risen from the dead, offers real, certain, and eternal hope.  Find out how you can be 100% sure that you are delivered from the penalty and power of your sin and will have eternal life by clicking here.


7 comments:

Lance Ketchum said...

A lot of people will not read your whole article and will skim it. When they see "Oasis of Hope website prominently displays the following tables:" they will not connect that these statistics are part of a scam. They will not connect the dots. I suggest you make an alteration to the post to insure that people understand that Oasis is about what you are warning.

KJB1611 said...

That's a good idea--I'll plan on doing it reasonably soon when I have a chance to edit the post.

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting read and a sad state of affairs. I got very interested in the Greece Method and the Oasis of Hope due to the fact that my managing partner of the firm I work for spouse arrived there two days ago. It was a shock when she was diagnosised with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer at such a young age. After several months of pumping some serum into her body, things have not improved so the next step was to fly out to Tijuana for more "intense" procedures. Knowing her as I do, she is a proponent of unconventional medication procedures, even though her father was an MD. When I had an issue with Carpal Tunnel, she recommended exercise to me, I had already scheduled surgery. She wasn't a proponent of surgery and seemed a little ticked off I went that direction.."So unnecessary!". Having survived a Pituitary Brain Tumor, Atrial Fibrillation Ablation and a Testicular Tumor... all being treated by conventional methods, I don't share the fear of medical procedures. It's a tragically sad how very intelligent God fearing individuals can be so easily manipulated into something as bogus as Oasis. I just can't find a way to talk to them about this, it's their choice. These folks are truly false prophets. Everything I have read or researched about this screams scam. I know they must of done some research as well, but their blind faith has led them here. So very, very sad indeed. All I can hope is that perhaps she will find some peace and maybe comfort moving forward.

Aaron said...

Great article Mr. Brandenburg. By chance, have you found and clinics in outside of the united states that are not a scam?

KJB1611 said...

Dear Aaron,

Thanks for the comment.

There are so many clinics offering so many things that it is not possible to comment on them all. The fact that they are all operating across the border because they would get shut down in the USA is tell-tale, though, that they are fradulent.

I investigated the Oasis of Hope because someone (who is now no longer alive because what they did failed to work) went there to get cancer treatment who I know. I have not looked into any of the other ones, and don't really have time to do it.

If you apply the sort of questions asked in this post to any other unconventional medical clinic in Mexico, it is about 99%+ that you will come up with the same result.

Thanks again.

DEBRA said...

Hi my name is Debra Harper my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer feb 1,2007 in our home town Denton,TX MY HUSBAND FOUND ABOUT OASIS HOSPITAL SO WE FLEW OVER THERE FEB 17TH IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE 3 TRIPS AND HE WOULD BE CURED 50.000 WE DIDNT MAKE THE 3 RD TRIP HE PASSED AWAY MAY 10TH 2007, I WAS WITH HIM THE WHOLE TIME THE ONLY THING I COULDN'T BE THERE WITH HIM IS WHEN THEY SAID THEY WERE CLEANING HIS BLOOD WELL THEY CLEANED IT BEFORE WE LEFT AND WHEN WE GOT TO DENTON,TX HE HAD TO HAVE A BLOOD TRANSFUSION 5 PINTS OF BLOOD THEY HAD TO OF TOOK HIS BLOOD CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT HE WOULD HAVE LIVED LONGER IF WE WOULD OF STAYED HOME THE PEOPLE THAT WERE WALKING AROUND IN 2007 SAYING THEY HAD BEEN CURED THEY ARE STILL THERE TODAY TALKING TO PEOPLE AND THEY GAVE HIM WAY TO MUCH RADIATION THEY FRIED HIM THEY SAID HE HAD 1 TUMOR IN HIS HEAD OUR HOSPITAL IN DENTON SAID HE HAD MULTIPLES,AND WHEN THE DOCTOR TOLD US HE NEEDED A TRANSFUSION MY HUSBAND WAS WORRIED ABOUT WHOSE BLOOD HE WOULD GET CAUSE HE BELIEVED THEY CLEANED IT, BUT NO THEY TOOK IT, ITS SO SAD I MISS HIM SO MUCH HE WAS 62 YEARS OLD AND THEY KILLED HIM TO BAD I CANT DO ANY THING ABOUT IT ,I HAVE ALL THE PROVE BUT DOESN'T HELP AT ALL, HOPE IF SOMEONE IS THINKING ABOUT GOING YOU READ MY STORY FIRST SEVERAL PEOPLE DIED WHILE I WAS THERE, THEY ARE A JOKE MY EMAIL IS DEBBIE1401@AOL.COM THANKS FOR LISTENING ITS THE TRUTH

Anonymous said...

So glad I came across this article, THIEVES! Wish there was a way to spread the word and shut them down!
-Texas