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:






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.


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...


Anonymous said...

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

jsabbey said...

How come when I search on the internet, I do not find much other that these Tijuana, Mexico clinics websites.
I do not find any current United States news media press related information about them either.
Why aren't more cancer patients blogging about these Tijuana, Mexico clinics and there experiences on the internet.
Is it because they have died? Are they helping any cancer patients at all?

KJB1611 said...

Dear JS Abbey,

The Tijuana, Mexico clinics are certainly helping--they are helping themselves to these dear needy people's money, and helping the cancer patients to an early grave. They are not across the border and away from US jurisdiction because they are so wonderful, but so that they can run scams and avoid prosecution.

They are like a "bank" that is not based in the USA but that claims to be legitimate while being based on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere and away from the jurisdiction of the USA. Such a "bank" asks for one's money while promising higher interest rates, and everything sounds great until one realizes whatever money one has sent over is not coming back--except with these Tijuana "clinics" it isn't just money that isn't coming back, but loved ones that aren't coming back.

Anonymous said...

My name is Jennifer Spark. My father died in November because he was brainwashed by the quacks at new hope unlimited. They convinced my dad, who was end stage lung cancer :that they could "help my mom" too, who has COPD, and promised they could get her off oxygen. They performed a invasive medical procedure on my dad, and sent him on his way to die on a cheap hotel room floor, after shelling out thousands of dollars to these people. Information on these cases are very hard to come by, and are quickly covered up because these criminals do not want people to find out they capitalize on dying and desperate people. Please; if you have any info about new hope unlimited, and are not afraid to stand up and fight. Please contact me. I can't let this go. My heart will not allow it.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it - Medicine in America today is probably the biggest scam there is out there. I read your article, and I believe that we should reach out and look for new cures. In terms of cure vs. milking you for all your money, what do you think the US system does? A doctor or a hospital or a specialist essentially has the same agenda as this center in Mexico - to get you on sustained medication so that you become an income stream. By the way, a for doctors getting kickbacks for additional procedures, what do you think the US system does with Pharmaceuticals? I think your perception of "cure" is completely skewed. It really comes down to longevity and quality of life. You diminish the power of human perception and the mind's ability to promote wellness.
So this place is a scam because they can't validate their statistics. OK, I can understand your point. But what it really comes down to is an individual's freedom of choice. I have a close friend who recently made the choice to try this in lieu of the absolute degradation that the body goes through with Chemo. We don't have a lot of choices when we are in this situation, but the statistics are pretty clear from the US side. There is no cure for cancer, just a slow agonizing delay in the inevitable. It's in the way that you approach the situation that makes the difference. The TRUTH is that everyone dies, eventually, regardless of their faith. If one believes that that alternative form of treatment will help them then I say go for it. But do so with the knowledge of understanding that you as an individual have few probable, hopeful options. As a transplant patient myself, one really has to weigh the benefit of survival against quality of life.

KJB1611 said...

I'm sorry, but your baseless accusations against scientific medicine, about kickbacks, etc. are simply false, and very expensive placebos don't help with quality of life.

Kevin said...

You could not be more wrong. There are millions of US patients who have been cured of cancer with surgery, chemo and radiation. As a physician in the US system which you so glibly disparage, I see this every day with my patients. While many of these treatments are not always pleasant, the data is there. There are thousands of medical studies done by independent groups which confirm this. Conversely, I would challenge you to produce one double-blinded, peer-reviewed study supporting the practices of these clinics in Mexico. Physicians do not receive kickbacks. In fact, kickbacks are illegal. I actually would prefer that all of my patients were healthy enough that the did not require medication, but unfortunately this is not the case. I can assure you that I receive no additional compensation for prescribing medication. While US medicine is not perfect, it does not serve patients well to point them toward unproven and often harmful treatments that can endanger their lives.

Anonymous said...


my brother of 27 yrs of age and my family just came back form the Oasis of hope. We also went with hope of good news and maybe a new way of fighting this cancer. all we got was a dirty room with vomit in the bathroom from last patient and out 30k. we were there 2 days when one of the nurses told us very quietly that the hospital did not have antibiotics for my brother and that she would really recommend we go back to the USA for treatment. She told us they were all fakes and that most of the people who went there died shorty after being there. She said that is why they ask for $ up front as they know these vitamins are not going to do anything but give you false hope. my brother was not getting any attention from any Dr. or any nurses. There were other patients at the front desk asking and yelling for their loved ones to be looked at. This place is a promise of fake hope and fake advertisements.

Anonymous said...

Andrea Arce
Admissions Officer
Oasis of Hope Hospital

Let me start by saying that I am highly disappointed in the lack of professionalism from everyone at Oasis of Hope.
My family and I went there with our hopes very high in your organization, only to find that all your Oasis claims and advertises is false.
Let’s start with the cleanliness of the facility: The bathroom of the room we were given for my brother was dirty. The floors were not mopped and sheets on the bed were never changed. The bathroom had what I was later told vomit from the last patient whom had stayed there.
The “medical staff” this so called medical staff, that 24 hr nurses you added to the program we signed up for was non- existing. The time we were there we had to go to the front desk to ask when the nurse was going to come see my brother. The staff there must really not like working there as they were very rude and did their job with such disgust.
Dr.Francisco we met and saw 1 time after meeting him. When we would ask for the Dr. to come and tell us what the process would look like they would always send in a nurse to let us know he was no available or like at the end they sent in a person whom later I find out was not an actual Dr.
Dr. Contreras is exactly what I have read about him. HE IS A BUSINESS MAN, a great SALESMAN. He may be a good Dr. But I never saw that. I only saw him once when we asked for him when we arrived and when we were asking for our discharge papers. He never was able to answer what he was going to be doing for my brother to treat him. He just kept saying that he knew what had to be done and that he would send the program to us soon with the nurse.
It was due thanks to a nurse whom told us that this Oasis of hope had no antibiotics for my brothers infection, this is a day later after the Dr. Francisco said they would get him on antibiotics immediately. She also said that this hospital would not do much, other than stuff them with vitamins. She let us know that most people there don’t last very long and most die soon after they get there. This is what really scared us. Thanks to her we were made aware of the false information your Oasis had offered.
It is very sad that you work for a company whom you know are fakes, they represent nothing but death to the patients they are stealing from. After being at the Oasis I have seen why people are asked to pay upfront. YOU all don’t have any remedy for any of these people they are all there to die. They go there with hope of a longer life and you all just take the money and wait for them to die. You and your whole organization should be in jail.
I believe in a higher being and I know he will make you all pay for all that you are doing to all these people who are so desperate to find hope of life. You and your organization bring nothing but death to their feet for $30,000 and some vitamins. It’s at this moment that I really hope there is a hell for people like you and you organization at Oasis. I pray that the universe one day puts you, someone you love and every corrupt person at the Oasis in the same position we are in.

You are all the bottom feeders of Humanity.

Anonymous said...

KJB, I really have no idea where this naive trust in the medical-industrial complex is coming from and your absolute refusal to admit that not everything is on the up and up with them. Granted, there are scams all over the place and not every purveyor of alternative therapies is necessarily legitimate either. But this gung-ho attitude of believing in the American medical system and your seemingly refusal to even question them is sad.

Kevin said...

The fact that you use the word "complex" to describe an industry with thousands of companies and millions of doctors demonstrate that you are a little too bent toward conspiracy theories for your own good. It would take a mighty conspiracy to unite all these disparate entities behind one common goal of deceiving the American public. Of course there are bad apples in every industry. Let's say, for example, that you came across a fraudulent pastor, and we all know they are out there. Would you label Christianity as a whole fraudulent as a result?

Trust in modern medicine is not naïve. It is based on hundreds of thousands of studies that you can look up for yourself! Sometimes they are wrong, but going toward completely unproven, unstudied alternative therapies is not the answer.

Dave Mallinak said...


I think you make some good points here about Oasis of Hope, and I was frankly uncomfortable with the path our mutual friend was taking in pursuit of a cure. As far as it goes, you have done a thorough job exposing that place for what it is.

I cannot, however, put the kind of faith you do in modern science. For one thing, in far too many ways, modern science and the medical community is itself in rebellion against God. For crying out loud, they believe you can make a woman with a scalpel. Many of the gender-benders and shape-shifters have an MD from a reputable university. I think that point is over-emphasized on your part.

Having spent a lot of time in doctor's offices over the past few years in an effort to help my wife find relief from the constant pain she experiences, I can tell you that the quackery is not limited to the alternative side. A Ph.D. at the University of Utah told my wife to take Tylenol and Ibuprofen in unseemly doses, and that would make her feel better. When that didn't work, he prescribed Lyrica, then increased the dose until it was nearly lethal. Another doctor at the headache clinic at the same University, where they practice "conventional" medicine, took her off the Lyrica in near record time, almost killing my wife. Johns Hopkins University accepted my wife as a patient - they who are on the "cutting edge," one of the foremost medical clinics dealing with diseases like the one my wife has. We went through their application process, which included phone interviews and too many written biographies and descriptions of the illness. We were told that it would take months for her to be accepted and that chances were they wouldn't see her. So when they accepted her as a patient, we bought our tickets and flew to Baltimore. Within 10 minutes of the appointment, the doctor who had no doubt completed many hours of medical training and was subject to much peer review told us that there was nothing they could do for us and how in the world were we paying for this anyway?

People are frustrated with American healthcare. Should they be? We probably have the best healthcare in the world. But so much of it is clogged up with politics and quackery, even in the "science" side. I do not blame people for looking into alternative medicine. They should do their homework. There are many claims, and it can be difficult to sort through all of it. But to say that we should stick with the medical establishment is to say too much.

This particular comment is, in my opinion, overstated bloviation...

"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."

I can appreciate that you have strong feelings about this. But that is too much.

Dave Mallinak

KJB1611 said...

Dear Bro Mallinak,

Thanks for the comment. I'm sorry to hear about your disappointment in what you heard back concerning your dearly-beloved wife.

God commanded the entire human race to subdue the earth and have dominion over it in Genesis 1, and the Dominion Mandate includes study of the world and careful testing to see what the laws are that He put in place. The scientific method is a necessary consequence of Genesis 1. I trust that you can see that validating what is true by repeatable, double-blind testing has nothing to do with whether or not a particular person with an M. D. is righteous or unrighteous, whether a particular hospital makes it easy or hard to see patients, and so on. None of those things relate to how a particular therapy must be validated as conforming to God's natural laws that are testable and verifiable. It is a great blessing that we do not need to place our faith in whether men are righteous or unrighteous, or a particular hospital has great or horrible customer service, but we can act rationally based on what God said to do in Genesis 1 instead.

When you state that people "should do their homework," if you are not referring to repeatable and verifiable testing, what are you referring to? If that is what you are referring to, why the objection to my statement? How else has God told us to figure out what works in the world that He designed? If an unconventional treatment actually does have verifiable and repeatable benefits, won't it become conventional? If we can't verify that it works by actual testing, why would we treat disease with it when we would not fly in an airplane that has not had its design tested so that we know that it actually flies?


Dave Mallinak said...

As I took my "dearly beloved" wife to visit doctors, we were dismayed by the number of times the doctors would spend the entire visit looking up her disease on the internet with hardly even a glance in our direction. They would be looking at articles we had already read, and we would point out what was in the article because they were skimming it as they talked to us. One doctor cursed repeatedly, "you are scaring the bleep out of me," he said. Another cried and said he wished he could help us, but that we had to do something.

When we went to the "alternative" doctor - a licensed D.O., by the way, he was actually educated about our disease, and told us things we didn't know, information not available on WebMD or the CDC website.

What we have learned is that it isn't necessarily a matter of there being no research or practice of the scientific method on the alternative side. There certainly is some of that. The problem is that science sometimes ignores the research, not because of a fault in the research, but because of who did the research. In my wife's case, insurance companies have actively sought to supress or even shut down research that counters their standards. The research is there, but insurance companies also have lobbying power. The tide is turning because of a dramatic increase in the disease, and because some powerful political figures have contracted the disease and changed laws so that doctors can treat it according to the research instead of ignoring it as so many do.

KJB1611 said...

Could you please explain how (all, competing?) insurance companies have police powers to shut down valid research, and why it is in their financial interest to insure sick people who cost them money instead of healthy people who pay premium s but don't cost them anything because they arencured of disease?

Could you also explain what specifically is the type of scientifically valid research hundreds of competing insurance companies conspire together to reject, and how they keep the conspiracy going?


KJB1611 said...

Please excuse typos above from some mobile phone issues, thanks.

Dave Mallinak said...

I'm surprised by that question. Lawyers make a lot of money fighting with insurance companies who don't want to pay for things. Are you thinking that the insurance companies operate out of a pure desire to help their customers?

There are diseases that are rare or unusual, and the research simply isn't there. My father, for instance, died with a rare blood disorder. At the time, the protocols called for the spleen to be removed. Today doctors tell me that was probably the wrong move and more than likely killed my dad. But when people are sick, they can't always wait for the kind of research that you demand. In my wife's case, two significant factors affect the science. First, the disease is not widespread enough to warrant funding for research. Secondly, there has been a significant political battle between two opposing forces within the medical community about the nature of the disease that have affected the treatment options. The treatment options are available, and the science is there, but insurance companies have sided with one side over the other, not because of science, but because one treatment is more expensive than the other.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Bro Mallinak,

Thanks for the question. There are large numbers of insurance companies with people in them with all sorts of conflicting motives. One very common motive is to drive their competition out of business, and if they cover a treatment that cures people while their competitors don't, that would seem like a good way to attract customers long-term--or at least something that one more more of the hundreds of insurance companies would want to do. Thus, I would still like a clear explanation of how (all, competing?) insurance companies have police powers to shut down valid research, and why it is in their financial interest to insure sick people who cost them money instead of healthy people who pay premiums but don't cost them anything because they are cured of disease.

Isn't it true that the price for new treatments for many diseases make treatment more expensive, and new treatments for many other diseases reduce cost, and yet insurance companies still cover the new treatments that go both ways? Why is the disease you are speaking of the exception?

Could you also explain what specifically is the type of scientifically valid research hundreds of competing insurance companies conspire together to reject, and how they keep the conspiracy going?

I don't understand how you put these statements together:

1.) "the research simply isn't there."
2.) "the science is there"
3.) (Previous comment) "The research is there"

How do you know the science is there if the research isn't there? Or is it there?

I would like to know how insurance companies, non-profit medical colleges, researchers around the country, etc., with conflicting motives and interests can possibly get together to successfully suppress research (and, if they have successfully done this, how you were able to still discover that it is there.)

Thank you.

Dave Mallinak said...

Not well written, but contains some of the information you are looking for.

I was at a wrestling tournament when I typed my responses. I tried checking the grammar, but it was noisy and a lot of interruption, thus the incoherence.


KJB1611 said...

Dear Bro Mallinak,

Thanks for the links. I do not have time to get into a discussion of whether chronic Lyme disease is what the medical consensus claims or whether thousands of doctors, insurance companies, colleges, researchers, etc. are all part of a conspiracy to suppress the existence of the disease. I am skeptical of the conspiracy thesis for reasons such as those discussed here:

While I recognize that this can be a very emotionally charged issue for many, the fact that blood tests evidence that people who claim to have chronic Lyme do not have antibodies for Lyme disease (or only residual antibodies from the previous existence of the undisputed normal Lyme disease), the fact that the treatment protocol advocated by chronic Lyme partisans does not seem to work better than a placebo, and other similar factors would appear to be much more likely explanations for insurance companies not covering the alleged disease than a conspiracy between hundreds of competitors who want to drive each other out of business, as well as non-profit researchers, medical colleges, etc.

However, as I mentioned above, I do not have time to discuss this matter at the moment, although I would be interested, as I have time, in reading your responses to the questions I asked if you wish to reply to them.

I am quite satisfied, though, that if alleged chronic Lyme is the reason for my alleged "overstated bloviation" and chronic Lyme is the proof of medical conspiracy theories, that my statement is quite able to stand, and I could in good conscience repeat my overstated bloviation again, as, to my mind, the conspiracy theories appear to be what is overstated, not the scientific consensus.

I trust that neither of us will take personally or view disagreement here as an attack on one or the other's integrity, compassion, etc.

Thanks for your comments.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I haven't said much under this post in this comment thread. In general, I think Thomas combats a problem among professing Christians, including independent and unaffiliated Baptists, who seem to be even a more common prey to quackery. For that reason, I'm thankful for Thomas, who exposes himself to a lot criticism and hatred because of what he writes. I'm guessing I'm lumped into the hatred as well since this is my blog, or at least anywhere from dislike to strong dislike.

With the above being said, I read Pastor Mallinak's comments and I know his situation. What he writes makes sense to me and fits into the weaknesses or blindspots in free market economics as it relates to health care especially. We also live in a sin cursed world and the curse of sin shows up everywhere. Generally, the free market is more friendly, I believe, to straining out the problems than any other economic system. However, when it comes to research and development, how insurance companies reinvest their money back into their company, they think about shareholders. Resources have gone toward what will bring in the most profit. Rare diseases or inflictions don't get the attention. I don't know enough to understand the effect of this, but I see Pastor Mallinak and his wife experiencing this firsthand.

Resources have not been allotted to something that won't bring as much profit to insurance companies. Lyme disease had not been on their radar in the earlier times, I could see. People could not get answers from the medical community. Doctors in the mainstream, especially out West, could sound like quackery as it relates to this disease, because they don't have the research. Without the help available, folks have to go to what might be called alternative medicine, something they have had to research themselves and experiment with themselves, even out of sheer helplessness.

If I had a loved one with the disease, I'm especially thinking a wife or a child, and there was nothing mainstream being offered to help, I would say that it looks like I'm going to have to do the research myself. The insurance companies aren't putting the resources toward it, because it wouldn't be worth the investment, because too few people had the disease. So what do you do? You go outside the mainstream, because that's the only place to go. Could something be found out there? Maybe. Maybe is better than, no. You explore options when you care.

The exploration of options is not the validation of alternative medicine or forms of quackery. It's also to say that there are weaknesses in the system. I've seen it myself close hand.

With everything above being said, I still think Thomas's writing has been worth the service to point out a major problem. Both Thomas and Pastor Mallinak's points are good to think about.

Anonymous said...

I don't quite understand this site. It seems to be mainly a religious site that talks about spiritual issues. There seems to be this health issue that once in awhile crops up and sometimes I wonder if I am at a spiritual blog or some type of Web MD site.

Regardless, here's a third option for you: you are all wrong. I am a Calvinist, and as such I don't believe in insurance, conventional medicine or alternative medicine. You simply are all wrong. What we do has no affect on our health: eating right, exercising, getting vaccinated, not getting vaccinated, etc. Nothing in life matters because it's all predetermined anyway, and we have no power to think that by eating right or going to the doctor we can change anything. None of us have any choice in anything we do, healthwise or in anything else. To think that we have a choice or free will go to the doctor is the height of arrogance. I was fated to write this blog post, for example. I did not "choose" to do so. It's sad to watch people who think any "decision" they make can have any affect in anything in their lives.

Jonathan Speer said...


Thanks for your warnings about medical scams in several of your articles. I have seen people in desperate situations make emotional leaps where logic and true science should have prevailed and they have paid for it both financially and physically.

You do seem overly incredulous when it comes to the sorts of problems that exist in our current medical system in the US. In light of this apparent incredulity, I would like to ask your opinion on why there are insignificant numbers of creationists teaching in classrooms if deference to markets and science is all it takes to thwart a "conspiracy theory" that would keep them out of such positions?

The Bible uses the term "science, falsely so-called" to describe a potential for "knowledge" that isn't really knowledge but is camouflaged as knowledge. I believe that this exists. In the past, I have thought things to be true that turned out to be 180° opposite to the truth. Scientist have come to conclusions based on insufficient research only to be proven wrong after all the numbers come in. In fact, that is the constant state of a good deal of knowledge in the research world. Information is constantly being clarified and corrected. That new information should lead to the changing of conclusions, solutions, and applications that result from continued research. (I am not saying that truth is in constant motion, but our understanding of the knowledge that leads to knowing that truth can be limited by our own humanity at least.)

The problem is that many times, the conclusions and results aren't updated with the new knowledge. Any man, scientist or not, can become doggedly attached to his own previous conclusions due to pride if nothing else. It takes humility to admit that previous conclusions, and especially actions based on those conclusions, may have been wrong. The longer one acts under the wrong impression, the more difficult it is to admit a fallacy.

Unfortunately, there is also the potential for this pride to influence well-meaning practitioners for generations. Take for example the research of Ancel Keys into the correlation between dietary cholesterol and heart disease. There are indications that his research was tainted by bias both in the hypothesis stage (forgivable) and the conclusion stage (unforgivable) of his research. His research began the low fat/high carb dietary recommendations and are the basis for the prolific Food Pyramid. Recommendations of the AHA and the ADA are still based upon assertions from his research. Adherence to these recommendations is a requirement for the maintenance of many doctors' license to practice medicine.

Particulars aside, I hope that the brief explanation above will help you see how seemingly valid research and seemingly free markets can indeed be part of a conspiracy.

I think that Dave has taken a proper and balanced approach in this discussion because he rejects obvious quackery and proven scams, while remaining open to different opinions on matters where there has been significant muddying of waters or a dearth of broad research.

You have done well in documenting quackery and scams, but I believe you go too far in trusting too much under the umbrella of "modern medicine" and seem to be unable to see how easily bad science can be codified and broadly practiced even when evidence exist that current practices themselves are potentially deadly.

I believe that the result of Christianity's influence on Western Civilization combined with the previous advances of liberty in the US have led to some of the best medical understandings and practices in world. For the most part, modern medicine is helpful and not hurtful, but there are some major blind spots especially involving nutrition and certain diseases/conditions. We should be thankful for the blessings of modern medicine but we should also be thankful for the broad availability of knowledge and alternatives when modern medicine seems to have insufficient or incoherent answers.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I appreciate your post and I think you are sincere.

Although,I do put up my antenna and am very leery whenever someone starts to mention "nutrition" as you did in your post. If nutrition and the American diet were anything to be concerned about, I think doctors would be trained on this. Anyone who focuses on nutrition, in my book at least, has relegated themselves to the sidelines as a conspiracy theorist: "there are some major blind spots especially involving nutrition and certain diseases/conditions." It's just not that big of a deal. Proper medication and getting the correct dosages is more important.

While I do think you are sincere and I appreciate your input, I couldn't let your comments go by unchallenged.

Jonathan Speer said...

Dear Anonymous (10:54 AM)

Gotcha. ;-)

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

I don't know what point you are trying to prove, but it isn't working.

If you took a few minutes to look at what doctors learn, you would find out that they do study nutrition. Perhaps that would be a better use of your time than posting anonymous comments.

If you are the same anonymous as the one above, while I am not a Calvinist for reasons I lay out at, you are misrepresenting Calvinism just like you are misrepresenting doctors.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

Thanks for the comment--good points to think about.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for the kind words.

Creationists are excluded from secular colleges for very different reasons from why unconventional remedies are rejected my medical science. Scientific medicine deals with repeatable experimental data, while both creation and evolution deal with origins science and neither hypothesis is directly testable by experimental data (although creation is far superior for many Biblical and scientific reasons). Furthermore, to exclude creationists from secular colleges does not require anything close to the number of assumptions involved to support the idea that conspiracies are suppressing medical treatments. (If the treatments are expensive, the conspiracy is drug companies suppressing cheaper treatments; if they are cheap, it is insurance companies suppressing the better though more expensive unconventional ones; how the medical colleges, hundreds of thousands of doctors, non-profit organizations, governments around the world, etc. all get in on the conspiracy is typically left out.)

Certainly there is "so-called" knowledge that is not really knowledge (of course, in 1 Tim 6:20, the word "science" is simply "knowledge," gnosis). And, of course, anyone can be stubborn and not want to admit something; Einstein did not want to admit that there were black holes and that a "steady state" model with no beginning for the universe were contrary to his own theories. And, of course, new data needs to be employed as we continue to seek to subdue the earth and have dominion over it.

I do not have time to comment on the specific example that you gave, although I think that "all fat in any amount is bad" to "all fat in any amount is good" is an oversimplification on both sides, and it is not true that people who think real data require adjustments in the food pyramid (which actually has recently been adjusted) are going to lose their medical licenses; that would, at least, be very surprising to the doctor and professor teaching the very interesting class on nutrition I have been listening to from The Great Courses (

Finally, I have never said that one needs to place a blind faith in what a medical doctor says. I believe that since so much of unconventional medicine is based on blind faith in people, its advocates like to assume that medical science has the same basis. I am arguing that Genesis teaches that there is a particular method--the scientific method--through which we subdue the earth and have dominion, and that is how we get knowledge in the scientific realm, and also that, over time, although the road has twists and turns, knowledge in medicine is improving and there is no Grand Conspiracy to suppress the cures for disease, just as in engineering airplanes have been getting better designs over time and there is no conspiracy to suppress good airplane designs.

Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

One cannot deny that there are grand conspiracies concerning airplanes. Does anyone really still believe that a commercial jet airplane caused both of the World Trade Centers to collapse? That in and of itself is impossible, for so many reasons. I don't mean to bring 9/11 into this, but simply use it as a point that there are grand conspiracies that are at least attempted to be foisted upon the world. Granted, I don't think anyone still believes the official story, but the government would still to this day claim with a straight face that jet airplanes brought down the towers. To deny that "grand conspiracies" do not exist is not a factual statement.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Anonymous,

Yes, commercial jet airplanes caused the World Trade Center (there was only one Center, not a plurality of "World Trade Centers," and there were two airplanes, not one airplane, sorry) to collapse.

I'm not going to let this post get derailed on 9/11 conspiracy theories, though.

Dave Mallinak said...

I had a lot to say following Thomas' most recent response to me. Rather than leave a blog-post length comment, I decided to write it on my blog and link to it here. Feel free to continue the discussion as you see fit.


Jonathan Speer said...

You seem to be responding to someone else in the context of a response to me, so let me clarify my points:

Regarding the creationism aspect of my comment, I was only using it as an example of how cultural bias, if nothing else, can cause truths, derived by means of practicing true science, to be suppressed. (I am not under the impression that there is a quarterly meeting of some secret cabal that determines the ways in which science or medicine would be undermined for their nefarious goals to be met, so charges of “conspiracy theorist” are irrelevant here.) Do you agree that it is possible for truth to be sufficiently suppressed, even in medicine, so that trust in the “mainstream” could be justifiably undermined, similar to how the Christian’s trust in most scientist’s conclusions regarding geology is untenable?

Again, my Keys example was only given to demonstrate how controversial and even faulty understandings can be codified and practiced broadly, so the details of one’s standing regarding fat intake is irrelevant to the discussion. Do you agree that there have been and could currently be instances of the broad use of practices based upon poorly acquired information?

I am glad that you do not advocate for blind faith in what medical doctors say. I guess I’m realizing that you have a particular axe to grind with particular unconventional or alternative medical practices for particular diseases. It would be good to remember that nearly all of what is now considered “conventional” was once untested and unproven and not standard. I would encourage you to be a little less broad in your characterization of those operating outside of conventional medicine and more willing to accept that there have been terrible abandonments of the scientific method within conventional medicine. If your allegiance is to truth and the scientific method, then I see no other choice.

Personally, due to my circumstances, it has been more my concern to be aware of poor standard practices in modern medicine than to seek alternatives. However, I do not find any biblical reason to paint those who have exhausted mainstream medicine without being helped and are seeking unconventional alternative remedies as being sinful. When Jesus raised the bar on the 6th commandment in the NT, he clarified that the essence of murder was hatred and anger. This is hardly the case with those at the boundaries of human knowledge on a particular disease who continue to seek the well-being of their loved ones. Maybe you could clarify your position to indicate more of a tolerance for those with rare, under-studied diseases seeking to be the guinea pigs themselves in unconventional trials in order to hopefully find relief in some form. Maybe that is your position, and I have only misread your intent.

Thanks again for your in-depth study and your passion for warning against scams and quacks.

Anonymous said...

Brother Mallinak,

I want to say thank you for writing what you did about this on your blog. May the Lord give you, your wife and kids grace as you face this. Of course, I have no more answers than you and other sufferers with Lyme's and its effects have, but I respect your choices, empathize with your trials, and ask the Lord to strengthen you for what He has for you.

E. T. Chapman

KJB1611 said...

Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for the comment.

I don't think that the geology example is the same thing because there, again, we are talking about origins science, not experimental science. If we want to find out if a rock has certain chemical properties such as whether it will dissolve in salt water, etc., both creationists and evolutionists would come to the same conclusions based on the same experimental data, even if they describe very differently the origin of the rock in past time, something that cannot be repeated experimentally (we don't have 4.5 billion years to do an experiment and can't ask God to make another universe).

It is almost certain that mainstream science is wrong in various areas and will continue to change based on new information as it comes in. It is also certainly possible that various people will attempt to resist change for various reasons, but as more and more properly derived data come in, this will become more and more difficult to maintain. And, yes, of course almost all, or, indeed, all modern scientific medicine was once non-standard. We couldn't do EKGs or MRIs or brain surgeries or use vaccines to prevent polio until we discovered them and proved that they worked. Before that time they were non-standard. Once they were introduced and proven to work they became standard.

Where mainstream science and experimental data that we currently have are wrong we have no way of knowing that this is the case, and it is rational to act based on the best evidence that we currently have, even though it is almost certain that some of it is wrong. It was rational to act based on Newton until Einstein proved him wrong, even though Newton's statement about gravity was actually incorrect (but very close except in extreme conditions) the whole time. It is not rational to leap from the fact that there are things we don't know yet to unproven and untested quack remedies.

KJB1611 said...

The fundamental difference between at least the overwhelming majority of unconventional remedies and scientific medicine is that the former is not based on genuinely verifiable data but on other things such as personal testimonies ("I did this and I felt better afterwards," a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy), mystical revelations (homeopathy, etc.) and things other than the scientific method. Furthermore, do partisans for these remedies tend to admit that their remedy is a fake when it fails experimental testing, or do they come up with explanations for why it fails the scientific tests and continue to promote it? If an unconventional remedy actually works, it will be able to be tested, pass the tests, and will become conventional, because there are too many people involved to successfully suppress what works and what successfully passes tests in the long-term. In the short term, perhaps, but in the long-term this is very difficult.

I agree with you about trying to find out what is in the boundaries of human knowledge not being sinful, but I think I would place very few unconventional remedies there. I would agree with being willing to be a guinea pig in real clinical trials in remedies that have a real chance of working. But is this where the large majority of unconventional remedies are? For example, a search for "chronic Lyme" on Pub Med yields 1,192 results. Is this alleged disease really at the boundaries of human knowledge, or does the knowledge we actually have make it highly dubious? Furthermore, political pressure from unconventional medicine advocates have led to the federal government funding clinical trials of unconventional remedies that have cost taxpayers several billion dollars (, and this funding continues every year at a high rate. Do they really just not have enough money to do tests of their remedies, or do they just not work?

The Westminster Larger Catechism gives a good definition of what is involved in the 6th commandment:

Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?

A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves[721] and others[722] by resisting all thoughts and purposes,[723] subduing all passions,[724] and avoiding all occasions,[725] temptations,[726] and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any;[727] by just defence thereof against violence,[728] patient bearing of the hand of God,[729] quietness of mind,[730] cheerfulness of spirit;[731] a sober use of meat,[732] drink,[733] physic,[734] sleep,[735] labour,[736] and recreations;[737] by charitable thoughts,[738] love,[739] compassion,[740] meekness, gentleness, kindness;[741] peaceable,[742] mild and courteous speeches and behaviour;[743] forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil;[744] comforting and succouring the distressed and protecting and defending the innocent.[745]

Q. 136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves,[746] or of others,[747] except in case of public justice,[748] lawful war,[749] or necessary defence;[750] the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life;[751] sinful anger,[752] hatred,[753] envy,[754] desire of revenge;[755] all excessive passions,[756] distracting cares;[757] immoderate use of meat, drink,[758] labor,[759] and recreations;[760] provoking words,[761] oppression,[762] quarreling,[763] striking, wounding,[764] and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.[765]

Finally, I think that if you agree that we need to follow the scientific method we are going to both be on the right track, so I will probably refrain from further comment; feel free to add in whatever you wish, though. Thanks.

Dave Mallinak said...

Whether the long-term damage caused by Lyme disease is chronic or post-Lyme, both sides of the debate acknowkedge that a certain percentage of Lyme patients suffer long-term damage. I frankly don't care what name it is given. We have yet to give an adequate explanation for this condition, and conventional medicine currently makes no attempt to fix the problem other than to prescribe dangerous, mind-altering drugs that only serve to dull the pain.This in part because the medical community considers this to be a thing in people's heads rather than an actual medical problem.

I think the Westminster standards quoted above would in fact justify further attempts to relieve the suffering of those in affliction where conventional medicine is failing them.

Kevin said...

Are you suggesting that modern medicine has a solution for "chronic lyme disease" and has chosen to cover it up or not implement it? If this is your argument, what evidence do you have for this? Isn't it a more likely explanation that modern medicine doesn't fully understand why some patients experience these symptoms chronically, not for want of effort and research? We don't fully understand how to eradicate cancer, HIV, or many other maladies either, but this has nothing to do with lack of effort or desire. Human ability is limited and will always be so. Alternative medicine has shown no ability to cure "chronic lyme disease." When it is subjected to double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, it does no better than placebo. Practitioners who peddle such "cures" are offering nothing more than a false hope.

Dave Mallinak said...

There is no known cure for those who suffer long-term damage caused by Lyme disease. My complaint is partly against conventional medicine and partly against insurance companies. Conventional medicine actually claims to have the cure for Lyme. IDSA doctors tell us that after a 3 week treatment of antibiotics, a Lyme patient is cured. The bacteria that causes Lyme is dead, with nothing more than the presence of residual antibodies. Accordingly, these doctors will recommend a regiment of pain medication and various forms of meditation and counseling to teach a patient to handle their pain better.

Conventional insurance sides with IDSA, and only offers coverage for that approach to the disease. They routinely deny coverage for long-term antibiotic treatment, and doctors who do not follow the protocols established by the IDSA risk losing their license if an insurance company discovers that they have not been following "best practices" and decides to sue.

In our case, we are grateful to belong to Samaritan Ministries, who have given us freedom to pursue treatment. Though there is no known cure, we must continue to combat the disease. When we do not, my wife's condition worsens. Looking for a treatment that "works" might not be very scientific, but in this case, I think it is all we have.

As far as cancer, while it may be true that medicine cannot fully eradicate this disease, there are a variety of treatment options available, and many have been cured or successfully brought their cancer into remission. Patients are not sent home with a bottle of Tylenol to manage the pain. Even in terminal cases, quite often the patient dies fighting the disease. They at least have that option, while Lyme patients are told that there is no problem - it is an "alleged" disease (an insulting adjective for those who suffer).

Kevin said...

But that is precisely my point. Insurance companies do not cover treatments, conventional or otherwise, that have not been shown to be beneficial. Long-term antibiotics have not been shown to be better that placebo in multiple trials and have risk of serious side effects. See the NIH's summary of the matter:

Unfortunately, conventional medicine does not always have the answers and this seems to be such a case. Sometimes, frustrated patients feel the need to "do something" which often leads to many dangerous treatments without proven scientific benefit. I am sorry you and your wife are going through this and I pray she finds recovery at some point.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Bro Mallinak,

I don't have time to get into a discussion of this with you, but I wanted to make clear that I am by no means denying that Lyme disease can result in long term neurological damage. I would also love it if neurological damage had a known cure; it would be great if my mother's rheumatoid arthritis could be cured. I also am all for limiting pain meds if necessary--I'm not saying it is comparable at all, but when I broke a bone a while back I didn't take any pain meds even though they gave me some.

I only posted this comment to clarify that by calling chronic Lyme an alleged disease, I am questioning the claim by its advocates that Lyme bacteria are still present in the body; I am not questioning the reality of permanent neurological damage any more than I would question if someone was made lame by polio that such a person had a permanent negative effect from polio. Such a person would not have chronic polio--the polio would have been cured, but it would have left its mark on its unfortunate victim in the meantime. Giving a person made lame by polio anti-polio treatments would not do anything to help the person further. If Lyme bacteria are not actually there, then giving high-dose antibiotics for something that is not there does not repair neurological damage. I hope you have evaluated whether or not such antibiotics make a person more likely to suffer from antibiotic resistant diseases / a "super-bug" in the future and other potentially dangerous side effects and so would actually harm, not help someone who is already suffering from neurological damage that cannot be cured by antibiotics. The antibiotics only make sense if Lyme is still there hiding somewhere, not killed. Otherwise it makes more sense to use the money to give the suffering person joy (a nice trip on the "bucket list," a very comfy pillow that helps reduce pain, home improvements that help the person have things easier, etc.) instead of using that money loading the person up with antibiotics.

I only posted this to clarify that I was not attempting in any way to insult you or trivialize your wife's suffering in any way by referring to "alleged" chronic Lyme; I only mean what I would mean if people started speaking about "chronic polio."

My your wife and you find special comfort from the God who knows what is best for you and showed His love for you at the infinite cost of His dear Son.


Dave Mallinak said...

Kevin and Thomas,

There are actually quite a few diseases that have no cure, and yet receive on-going treatments which insurance will cover. Diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis are two that come to mind immediately. Though I have no medical training, my understanding is that the treatments are designed to relieve suffering and improve quality of life. That is what I am trying to do for my wife. The truth is, conventional medicine offers one form of relief that works for a small percentage of those who suffer long-term damage from Lyme disease. Many who suffer chronically from Lyme are not helped by narcotics or opiates, or by Lyrica.

You don't want to debate the possibility that the Lyme bacteria may still be alive in some patients. That is fine. ILADS says that the Lyme is still alive, IDSA says it isn't. I suppose that a person must decide which one is correct. As for me, I try to be reasonably sure that a treatment will be helpful to my wife and will offer some hope of actually relieving her pain and improving her quality of life.

Thank you for the interaction on this topic. I hope that by commenting, I have helped some to consider a different perspective on these things.

Kevin said...

I'll make this my final comment, as I don't want to belabor the issue and people can make up their own minds. I am a physician, although I do not specialize in infectious disease, so I do have a fair amount of real world experience in this area. I don't think your comparison of "chronic lyme disease" to diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis is a fair one. Diabetes and RA are strictly defined clinically and have treatment protocols that are based on thousands of double-blinded, placebo controlled trials. While these diseases usually are not curable, their treatments have been proven by these trials to improve symptoms and prolong life. These trials are what guide treatment algorithms because they have strong data behind them. It has never been established by clinical trials that "chronic lyme diease" actually exists, if you use a definition that the patient has a chronic Borrelia Burgdorferi infection- i.e. active spirochetes in their system. Many patients report chronic post-Lyme symptoms, but this is an entirely different issue and has not been linked to a chronic infection. As I said before, no high quality studies have found benefit to long-term antibiotics.

I must say that in the medical community ILADS is not thought highly of. They are basically a lobbying group that pushes a certain point of view, not supported by clinical evidence, that is at odds with the NIH, American Academy of Neurology, Infections Diseases Society of America, the CDC and others. This is not a flip a coin choice between the IDSA or ILADS. ILADS represents the perspective of a tiny percentage of the medical community in this country. Unfortunately, the medical community has a long history of pushing unproven treatments that do more harm than good, which is why for several decades the medical community has only advocated for evidence-based treatments that have strong data behind them. Chronic lyme disease and long-term antibiotics, unfortunately, do not.
Have a good night.