Man is Scammed for Unsuccessful Stem Cell Transplant for Lung Disease

New research is showing that patients sometimes use crowdfund websites to pay for fake stem cell transplants and other dubious medical procedures, according to a story from

Crowdfunding websites are sites where strangers can donate to a person’s cause or medical expenses and include sites like GoFundMe and YouCaring. Researchers found 408 pleas for stem cell treatments for 1.5 million dollars from over 13,000 donors on these sites.

The Journal of the American Medical Association found that for-profit clinics use expensive and experimental stem cell treatments for different health issues like chronic lung disease, Parkinson’s, MS and even arthritis. They market these experimental treatments as a cure for hurting and desperate patients who may turn to GoFundMe to fund these expensive treatments.

These clinics may even urge patients to use crowdfunding sites and social media to plea for money for the treatments.

Researchers do not blame the individuals asking for funds because they are trapped and want to believe these treatments will help them. One such example is Pete Canfield. He has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was interested in a clinic that could provide a stem cell transplant that was marketed as being able to help him feel better.

Although the process of the stem cell transplant never made sense to him, he was desperate and claims he is no scientist so he put his faith in the treatment and raised over $1,000 on GoFundMe, mostly through friends and family. For the remaining $9,000 he maxed out his credit cards.

Pete was able to get the cell stem transplant and his blood was taken from his arm and re-injected into the same arm. He was told the stem cells would automatically go back to the organs that needed help the most.

After the treatment, Pete was very unhappy with the results, claiming that his health has actually deteriorated and he is now on oxygen almost 24/7. He doesn’t believe the stem cell transplant did anything to improve his physical health and although he was recommended to do another treatment, he declined, stating that he does not have the time or funds to waste on another pointless treatment.

GoFundMe says it removes campaigns that do not meet service terms but it does allow people to raise money for experimental treatments.

Stem cells can reproduce or regenerate tissue. While they are considered a potential way to treat many diseases, they are only approved in a few medical procedures, including stem cells from donor bone marrow to treat leukemia and other blood diseases.

Some questions when considering stem cell transplants are considering the possible benefits and risks. It is also important to consider any scientific evidence that supports the effectiveness of the treatment for your condition. Finding and obtaining effective treatment can be especially challenging for rare disease patients, and phony stem cell transplants can easily sound like a way out, but it is critical for patients to get as informed as possible about the disease and consult with respectable medical experts and caregivers before going forward with any treatment.

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