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Mediscams: How to Spot and Avoid Healthcare Scams, Medical Frauds, and Quackery from the Local Physician to the Major Healthcare Providers and Drug Manufacturers Hardcover – February 15, 2001

3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Maintaining a breathless pace as he relates one horror story after another, Whitlock (Scam School), an investigative reporter for Extra, Hard Copy and Inside Edition, sounds a warning to consumers about the $100-billion-a-year fraudulent medical businessAfrom bogus treatments to unlicensed practitioners, from those who perform unnecessary procedures to bottom-line-oriented managed-care systems that deny care because of cost. These scammers, he says, prey on those who are ill and vulnerable. Particularly interested in exposing fraudulent practices in plastic surgery and dentistry (an area not commonly thought of as being suspect), Whitlock had his teeth checked out by a reputable dental school and was assured that his mouth was in excellent shape. He then went undercover posting as a potential patient whose insurance would soon expire. He received six different estimates (ranging as high as $5,000) from dentists for "preventive dentistry." Whitlock also offers an indictment of profit-making nursing homes that hire unqualified attendants without checking into their background, which leads to serious abuse of the elderly in their care. (Whitlock went undercover again, posing as an inexperienced caretaker with a prison record, and was hired by an elderly-care facility.) Provocative, disturbing and, refreshingly, not sensationalist, this book offers a hard look inside the world of health care and offers specific tips that readers can use to safeguard their health. (Jan.) Forecast: According to Whitlock, 85% of Americans now have health insurance through managed-care organizationsAa huge potential market for this book that will be reached by a national media campaign, including a seven-city author tour. Simultaneous Audio Renaissance release.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Scams involving medicine aren't new: Whitlock sees many vitamin and food supplements as successors to patent medicines, infomercials as the new traveling medicine shows, and much on the Internet as modern old wives' tales. The biggest scam of all is managed care. Part of Whitlock's motivation for the book was his mother's experiences with her HMO, and they make brutal--but familiar--reading. Improvement will come only when patients are able to sue HMOs and force them to do what they have long claimed they are doing. In real life, HMOs' cost-cutting claims are false fronts for greed and control. Watchdog organizations and even Congress are beginning to see through these businesses that believe they are doing well by denying, rather than giving, service. Other "mediscams" include bogus doctors, impaired and incompetent M.D.s, and insurance companies that make false claims, especially about "medigap" and long-term-care policies. Whitlock offers practical advice for suspecting and spotting mediscams and for protecting the patient who is caught by one. William Beatty
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Renaissance Books; 1st edition (February 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580631800
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580631808
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,504,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Chuck Whitlock begins with a horrific tale about John Ronald "Butcher" Brown, whom he dubs "America's worst doctor." Dr. Brown comes to final light in 1998 after butchering an amputation job in a National City, California hotel room. The victim, 79-year-old Philip Bondy, was found dead with blood everywhere and his face "frozen in a twisted mask of pain." (p. 24) Turns out that Bondy was just a stand-in for his Jungian shrink, one Dr. Gregg Furth who first sought the operation for himself. It seems that both he and his patient suffered from "a fetish or paraphilia known as apotemnophilia." Whitlock explains: "The fetish is also referred to as a self-demand amputation, and involves primarily men who wish to have amputation of a lower extremity for psychological and sometimes sexual reasons. Dr. Furth stated he had been aware of wanting his own leg removed since his early childhood." (p. 29)
Whitlock, who has appeared on TV's Oprah, Regis and Kathie Lee, Hard Copy, Extra and Inside Edition, follows this with Chapter 2, "A Brief History of MediScams: From Snake Oil to Cancer Quackery." Then he returns to contemporary times and shares what he has found out about "Dangerous Doctors," managed care, nursing homes, "Dental MediScams," etc. He comes down heavily on incompetent and fake doctors and on the medical profession for not weeding them out. Seems that you have to be a combination of Dr. Dracula and the Son of Sam to get the profession to notice that you've gone astray. He also goes after bogus cures and questions the efficacy of some alternative medical approaches. There's a chapter on the placebo effect including some material about the so-called psychic healers of the Philippines. Chapter 12, which he subtitles, "Buying a Pig in a Poke" is on food supplements.
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By Kyle on November 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is an unusual combination of amazing stories and very, very practical advice. It is both entertaining while giving excellent warnings and tips on how to avoid being taken advantage of. Some of the information is both shocking and disturbing, but very sound advice. Anyone frustrated with their doctor or an HMO will find it especially enlightening. Some of the examples of quacks literally had me slack-jawed.
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Format: Hardcover
Whitlock examines both "traditional" and "alternative" medical practices with results that are hit and miss. He 'hits' the HMO debacle right on the head, and his discussion of his mother's experience with and subsequent death due to HMO 'mangled care' will certainly hit a resonant chord with many. Unfortunately, his bias towards 'traditional' medicine and the medical establishment is obvious in his discussion of everything from chiropractic care to therapeutic touch. Chiropractors are little more than cheats and charletans, according to Whitlock and his proof that therapeutic touch is bogus? - a ninth grade science fair project. I doubt that had a science fair project had positive results, it would have been cited as proof that an alternative modality works. If you are looking for a balanced, unbiased assessment of both traditional and alternative medical practices, this isn't the book for you.
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