Riffle

Reality-Based Community Service

Monday, March 21, 2005


Dr. Hammesfahr, Clown or Quack?

David Brock's Media Matters has written about some issues with William M. Hammesfahr, the MD who claims that Terry Schiavo's condition is "not that bad." He's also been disciplined by the Florida Board of Medicine. [It seems it's pretty hard to get disciplined in Florida, but that's pure hearsay. ] Hammesfahr was retained by Terry Schaivo's parents, the Schindlers, ito evaluate her in 2002. And here's a great post about his faux Nobel Prize "nomination."

Quackwatch.org keeps an eye out for questionable medical therapies. Lo and behold, they have a piece up, apparently from 2000, about Dr Hammesfahr's therapy. The analysis is not laudatory. It's also written by a Assistant Professor of Neurology at Yale University School of Medicine, no less.

It concludes: "The theoretical basis for Hammesfahr's vasodilation treatment for stroke clashes with current knowledge about stroke physiology. In fact, the prevailing current belief is that such treatments should worsen stroke outcome, not improve it. I believe that vasodilation treatment for stroke patients should be done only as part of an approved peer-reviewed protocol that includes informed consent about the treatment's experimental status and possible risks. Because of the potential risk, I doubt that an institutional review board would permit such a study unless animal studies can demonstrate that the treatment is safe and potentially useful."

Hammesfahr is listed on Quackwatch.org's Promoters of Questionable Methods page.

Also, look over Dr. Hammesfahr's own website. It's got a few things that remind one of quackery. One is that his treatment doesn't just work for one disorder, it works for many.
In 2000, this work resulted in approval for the first patent in history granted for the treatment of neurological diseases including coma, stroke, brain injury, cerebral palsy, hypoxic injuries and other neurovascular disorders with medications that restore blood flow to the brain. It was extended to treat successfully disabilities including ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Tourette's and Autism as well as behaviorally and emotionally disturbed children, seizures and severe migraines. [emphasis added]
It's a floor wax and a dessert topping for damaged brains!

Another hint of the questionable nature of his therapy is the section purportedly giving supporting evidence for success. His site has two pages of what he calls "reviewed results." One of these pages consists of five letters (written by three different individuals) touting his treatment. The first four letters have -- to say the least -- methodology that's difficult to divine.

Letters three (2 pages long, from 2001) and four (one page long, from 1999) on that page are written by a psychologist named Alexander T Gimon. These letters, despite their indecipherable methodology, claim to report results of Dr. Hammesfahr's treatment, tout his "successes" and claim he "discovered" that strokes could be treated with cardiac drugs. By coincidence, Alexander T Gimon appears as coauthor on a paper with Hammesfahr from 1996-7 at a purported peer-reviewed medical journal named L ifelines. (More about Lifelines below.)

The last letter on this page , relating a visit made to Hammesfahr's office, hardly even rises to the level of anecdotal. It's from a professor (a podiatrist and osteopath, not an M.D.) at Nova Southwestern University's Department of Family Medicine. Nova Southwestern doesn't offer a Doctor of Medicine degree. (Nova trains osteopaths, pharmacists, optometrists, allied health practitioners, dentists, and "biomedical scientists." The terminal degree at Nova's College of Medical Sciences is a Masters in Biomedical Science.)

Hammesfahr's "peer-reviewed" page consists of links to ten items he's submitted to a medical journal called Lifelines at Medforum.com. Lifelines doesn't appear to have a very rigorous review process, but I'd be interested in what others may know about the site. It also has a strange dating: for the Hammesfahr/Gimon paper I mentioned above, the copyright is 1996-7, but there is a note that it was revised in 2002. I'm not sure how a scientific journal can proceed when you can revise papers six years after they've been published with no indications of the changes.

Lifelines claims to be "one of the longest lived Peer Reviewed Medical Journals in existence." Huh? That comment is just bafflingly ludicrous, even as a flackish statement.

It appears that Lifelines is the only journal in which Dr. Hammesfahr has published. He has no writings indexed at the National Library of Medicine's PubMed, though others with his surname are listed there. However, he has been on Fox News.

-------

Update: A bit more on Lifelines, the dubious medical journal which is the only place Hammesfahr has published.
  • Dr. Hammesfahr is on the Editorial Board of Lifelines.
  • Another Hammesfahr, Dr. J.F. Hammesfahr, is also on the Editorial Board.
  • Alexander T. Gimon, the psychologist mentioned above who wrote the "evaluation" letters on Hammesfahr's web page and who coauthored a paper with Hammesfahr, is also on the Editorial Board.
  • Every member of the Editorial Board is from Florida (many from Tampa or St. Petersburg area), with the exception of J.F. Hammesfahr, who practices in the neighboring state of Georgia.
  • One member of the editorial board, Donald D. Adkins, an EEG Tech, lists on his C.V. that he is employed by William Hammesfahr.


And to go from the ridiculous to the abjectly hucksterish, the site that hosts Lifelines is medforum.com. Here's a screenshot of the registry information for this domain:
The image “http://condi.topcities.com/ham/reg.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
600 Druid Rd. E in Clearwater is also the office address listed in the c.v. of Dr. William Hammesfahr, M.D. The phone number and fax number listed for the adminstrative contact are those of Hammesfahr's office.

This looks like a vanity medical faux-journal that Dr. Hammesfahr is running out of his own office.

Finally, to get a whiff of the type of MD we're dealing with here, look at his Lifelines journal article titled To a new understanding of personnality,behavior and neurological disease [sic].

Yes, that title is howlingly grandiose, especially considering the mispelling. But look at the list of disorders he claims to treat with vasodilators. From the footnotes (we like how he calls it a "partial listing"):
What follows is a partial listing of diseases that have been successfully treated:

In the Psychiatric/Psychological arena:

Depression, Impulsive Rage Disturbances, Irritability, Emotional Lability, Psychosis, Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder and its variants, Memory Loss, Tourette's Syndrome, Transient Global Amnesia

In the Neurological/Physical arena:

Stroke, Grand Mal Epilepsy, Absence or Petit Mal Epilepsy, Psychomotor Epilepsy, Headache, Closed Head Injury, Post Concussion Syndrome, Vertigo, Ataxia, Tinnitis, Aphasia, Apraxias, Visual Loss, Visual Blurring, Blindness, Stuttering, Vasospasm after Sub-Arachnoid Hemmorhage, Vasospasm after Intracranial surgery not associated with trauma or Sub-Arachnoid Hemmorhage, disturbances of Word substitution and Word Finding, Dyslexia, Photophobia, Hyperaccusis, Tremor, Multiple Sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis-Like Syndrome, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency, Vertigo, Cerebral Palsey, Vertebrogenic Syndrome, Syncope, Multi-Infarct Dementia, "Alzheimer's" Syndrome, Whiplash Induced Headaches, Headaches in general, TMJ Headaches6 Steroid Induced Migraines, Steroid Induced Psychosis, Fibromyalgia, Prinz-Metal Angina, Neuro-cognitive changes associated with electrical and lightning injuries.

That's quite a list! And yet he can't get published in a medical journal that isn't connected with his own office.

When you see a list like that, coming from one MD and with no published research to back it up other than in his own so-called "journal," I offer a clue: don't believe it.

Here's a piece from the Saint Petersburg Times about Hammesfahr's controversial treatment. Note the abundance of anecdote and lack of scientific testing of his therapy.

The piece concludes:

Hammesfahr says he hasn't done the rigorous clinical studies because he's too busy treating patients and because he feels it would be unethical to withhold the treatment from some patients in order to study them.

But Novella said that is not a good enough reason.

"That is the absolute standard response of all snake oil salesmen - 'I'm too busy curing my patients to study my treatment,' " Novella said. "If his treatment does work, then it's still unethical because he's depriving all of the hundreds of thousands of patients that would benefit from it if we knew that it worked."


Nowadays, of course, rather than taking the time to test his therapies he's out grabbing facetime on cable news channels. It's possible that enhancing his name recognition could enhance his revenue, while actually scientifically testing his therapies could do who knows what.

----
UPDATE: I've summarized this post and added more information in the next post.


counter statistics

25 Comments:

At Wednesday, March 23, 2005 at 3:34:00 AM EST, Blogger gaw3 said...

Wow! Great post.
I have been trying to steer clear of that family's ordeal, but it's really impossible to sit on one's hands with guys like Dr. H flying around.
I took some comfort in the ABC poll that most Americans see through the politics.

 
At Wednesday, March 23, 2005 at 5:58:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see the claim on his website where he says he was admitted directly into medical school from high school? I about lost my lunch, reading that.

 
At Wednesday, March 23, 2005 at 9:45:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riffle - I came over from eschaton. Good research on this assclown Hammesfahr.

OT, but I wanted to let you know that at first I got the impression that your page was mostly blank, as the only words I could see (and they were light gray on white) were the hyperlinks in your text. I had to highlight the text in order to see it.

As a website admin, I know I sometimes get weary of all the nit-picking by web-surfers who don't understand that their own personal problem with viewing some sites is that they refuse to give up their old ass obsolete browsers.

So, I hope I'm not coming off like "one of those".

(Mac OSX, Safari Browser)

 
At Thursday, March 24, 2005 at 10:14:00 AM EST, Anonymous Godotbert said...

Riffle,

Linked over from reading Washington Monthly. Great piece. Nice job running down the details and exposing the lies and self promotion of the good doctor. Will check your stuff regularly.

 
At Monday, April 11, 2005 at 10:54:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The formal complaint against Dr. H is worth reading:
http://www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/FinalOrders/03-17-03/DOH-03-0182.pdf

Note that the psychologist and physical therapist that provide the references are part of this operation....

 
At Friday, April 15, 2005 at 4:58:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that a billing issue from 1999 continues to resurface and cause Dr. Hammesfahr issues. My son has been under his care for 8 months now and has made tremendous progress. He has gone from a special education class to a mainstream environment and was discharged from physical therapy as a result for Dr. Hammesfahr. During our visit to his office there were numerous people from so many different countries seeking his care. Conventional doctors did not give us much hope for our son, Dr. Hammesfahr did and he delivered on everything. Unless you are in the situation I guess it is very easy to play "arm chair quarterback". Don't judge what you have not experienced.

 
At Sunday, April 17, 2005 at 2:05:00 AM EDT, Blogger riffle said...

Anonymous wrote: "Don't judge what you have not experienced."

I have experienced Dr. William
Hammesfahr. He has attempted to, but cannot, publish in a real medical journal. He resorted to running a faux medical journal out of his office address where he publishes what are pretty close to mere press releases.

Dr. Hammesfahr claims he can cure dozens of etiologically unrelated neurological problems with largely similar treatments, but can't support that by demonstrating it in a scientifically valid way.

He seems to believe that his treatment can help millions, but he's not spreading his therapy by writing it up for true scientific investigation. Instead, he seeks licensing fees (i.e. money) from doctors if they are unwise enough to adopt his untested therapy.

I don't need much more than that to reject Dr. Hammesfahr as a money-grubbing MD who promises a lot and can't deliver scientifically.

I hope Dr. Hammesfahr hasn't impeded the progress your child may have made under a treatment with more sound footing.

 
At Tuesday, April 19, 2005 at 10:29:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Impeded Progress Comment"

We appreciate your feined concern regarding our child. Apparently results are not a factor in your judgement of treatment or you did not read my comment completely. If the only way that one can receive credibility in the "medical community" of which we believe you must be a member, then it is your loss. Dr. Hammesfahr has excelerated our child's abilities beyond any of the therapist's expectation that he works with. He believes in collaboration. We would humbly submit to you that everyone who works with our child is unbelievably impressed with his progress to date. Did we give up all conventional medicine? No, but the return we are receiving in phenomenal after starting Dr. Hammesfahrs protocols. Our son was once considered a prime candidate for eye surgery, as of November this is not the case. He also received brain scans. The initial scan showed poor results, the follow up exam was considered "remarkable" due to the vast improvements. Further, no one has mentioned the court cases Dr. Hammesfahr won.

Doctors are so competitive it is truly disheartening that when one gifted individual finds a different way to "wire the computer" everyone is so insecure that they rely on attacking billing practices to make themselves feel better.

There are physicians that we would consider dangerous. One in particular tried to prescribe medication to our son and thank God we had read and new better. Why don't you spend your time finding doctors who prescribe medications without understanding their ramifications before you attack a billing error. This particular doctor wanted to charge us research fees for individualized care. How can a doctor require fees for research when he doesn't understand the medications he is prescribing? That to me is criminal and would deserve intervention. Unfortunately, our state does not investigate this type of billing issue.

Finally, if I invented an X-ray device that revolutionized the field, would it be regarding as greedy to charge for the technology? I don't think so.

Dr. Hammesfahr has helped so many people and his charges for the amount of time he spends with his patients is a mere pittance in comparison to some of the so called in network "specialists" we saw locally. In fact, we were able to finally get our insurance to cover his charges.

If you have had experience with Dr. Hammesfahr, you must not have been a patient. If you were a physician trying to learn the protocols, then obviously you were trying to capitilize in your own way on his achievement.

 
At Friday, April 22, 2005 at 9:29:00 PM EDT, Blogger riffle said...

I realize that having Dr. Hammesfahr's methodological inadequacies laid bare is something he and his partisans may be uncomfortable with. Unfortunately, none of your arguments address Hammesfahr's deficiencies pointed out in my original post or subsequent writings. He is apparently unable to conduct research that will pass review at a legitimate medical journal. He makes wild claims for his therapies without valid statistical support. Unable to get his research published in bona fide medical journals, he sets up a "journal" out of his office address and publishes what are pretty close to press releases. While he can't get published in a real journal, he proudly displays on his website an article from the National Enquirer.

These are not the actions of someone who can establish the efficacy of his therapy by empirical means.

Instead, he has people such as the poster above reveal anecdotally that there has been improvement in a case while Hammesfahr was in the vicinity. Sorry, but that proves nothing.

There are many untested therapies in the world. Some practitioners urge people to drink urine -- and some people swear by it anecdotally, even claiming it has cured them or their children. Some practitioners urge ear candling, and some people profess that ear candling has cured them or their children.

There's practically no therapy, seemingly crazy or seemingly "scientific," that sosmeone doesn't swear by. However, the only way to assess whether a therapy works is to have it investigated scientifically.

The fact that Hammesfahr apparently can't do that doesn't mean that his therapies are the equivalent of drinking urine. However, without true investigation, I'd advise not swallowing what he's offering.

 
At Monday, April 25, 2005 at 11:43:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You just don't get it. Our son has improved tremendously. Apparently real life experience and real results don't qualify. I base my judgement on results, not publications.

 
At Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 4:12:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it's still unethical because he's depriving all of the hundreds of thousands of patients that would benefit from it if we knew that it worked."


.......... rubbish. Physicians
are responsible for their own patients, not the "hundreds of thousands of patients that would
benefit if we knew".

 
At Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 4:23:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I realize that having Dr. Hammesfahr's methodological inadequacies laid bare is something he and his partisans may be uncomfortable with."

......... this is not about his
"methodological inadequacies".

"Unfortunately, none of your arguments address Hammesfahr's deficiencies pointed out in my original post or subsequent writings."

.............. Nor were they
intended to.

"He is apparently unable to conduct research that will pass review at a legitimate medical journal."

.............. Unable? Perhaps. Unwilling is more likely. In either case: So what?

"He makes wild claims for his therapies without valid statistical support."

............... THey didn't seem
wild to me, after reading several
of his papers. They made sense. If it is true, as he suggests, that chronic cerebral ischemia is common, it is not hard to believe that it could mimic a wide array of different so-called "diseases".

"Unable to get his research published in bona fide medical journals,"

........ Unable, or unwilling? Who knows.
But more important: does it really
matter? Creative people with truly
revolutionary ideas seldom have either the skills or the patience to conduct trials and undertake ornate methodologies suggicient to impress skeptics.

"he sets up a "journal" out of his office address and publishes what are pretty close to press releases."

............. So now he is supposed to apologize for communicating his findings at all? Have you heard of the FIrst Amendment?

"While he can't get published in a real journal,"

........ We don't know that, do we? But
that does not stop our ham-handed
hatchet-job guy (what's his name?
"piffle"?) from asserting so.

Ug.

Much more to share, but no time.
And not worth the time, anyway.

 
At Tuesday, April 26, 2005 at 4:25:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Suggicient"! haha. My experience with this new keyboard is still insuggicient.

 
At Wednesday, April 27, 2005 at 3:45:00 AM EDT, Blogger riffle said...

Riffle wrote:
"Unable to get his research published in bona fide medical journals,"


Anonymous, a Hammesfahr fan responded:
"........ Unable, or unwilling? Who knows.
But more important: does it really
matter? Creative people with truly
revolutionary ideas seldom have either the skills or the patience to conduct trials and undertake ornate methodologies suggicient to impress skeptics."

The St. Petersburg Times story notes that "His articles have been turned down by well-known medical journals."

"Turned down" means that he attempted to submit articles to real medical journals and couldn't pass peer review at a legitimate journal.

If he's unable to do it himself (and looking over what he claims are "papers," it appears he would be intellecually incapable of that even if his research proved worthwhile), there are many people who could help him set up methodologically sound research programs. There are universities and medical schools in Florida. Grad students work cheap.

I stand by my post. Hammesfahr makes wild and unsupported claims about his "therapy." He attempted to publish in a real medical journal and was unable to. He makes these claims which are seen by desperate people who are unable to assess whether his therapy is scientifically supported. Part of his means for convincing these people of the scientific support for his therapy is a laughably "peer-reviewed" medical journal he set up at his own office address. He doesn't make it abundantly apparent that medforum.com is largely his own outfit, leading people to probably presume that it is independently assessing his therapies with no conflict of interest.

At a minimum I find that the behavior of a ethically challenged human being.

The mere fact that some people claim he's helped them means very little indeed. Urine therapy boasts many supporters. Scientologists swear by the healing powers of L.Ron Hubbard. Many people claim to be helped by ridiculous things like psychic surgery.

What do all those have in common with Hammesfahr's therapy? They are unsupported by research published in medical journals. The practitioners tell us about the people they claim to have helped, but we don't hear as much about other patients, or about how well the bulk of patients are doing years after therapy has ceased.

The only way to do that is via real peer-review in established medical journals, and Dr. Hammesfahr has tried and failed to produce that. Instead, we hear about the patients Dr. Hamemsfahr wants to tell us about.

I'm not about to take Dr. Hammesfahr's word on that. But if you're prefer to believe him and the National Enquirer over the New England Journal of Medicine, Neurology, Lancet, or other true medical journals, that's your choice.

 
At Thursday, April 28, 2005 at 12:14:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered asking Dr. Hammesfahr for treatment for your OCD?

 
At Thursday, April 28, 2005 at 1:52:00 PM EDT, Blogger riffle said...

I see that Dr. Hammesfahr's fan (perhaps this person who who repeatedly returns to post anonymously to this thread is Dr. William M. Hammesfahr himself ?) can't argue the facts anymore and has to resort to lame 2nd-grade name-calling.

Such is the towering intellect of Hammesfahr: defenders are reduced to "neener-neener" so quickly.

Did I say "intellect?" We'll have that publicly tested soon. Dr. William Hammesfahr, in his wisdom and with little examination, claimed that Teresa Schiavo's condition was "not that bad."

Soon the poor woman's autopsy results will be released and we'll see how far off Dr. Hammesfahr can be about a matter of public record.

 
At Friday, April 29, 2005 at 7:39:00 PM EDT, Blogger xanadu said...

Formally anonymous. While we are flattered that you believe us to be Dr. Hammesfahr, that is not the case. Our son continues to show amazing improvement under his care. We are all entitled to our opinions, our fear is that people will not seek his care when they could have the same results we have experienced. If you or someone you know was under his care and had detrimental results, we would be interested to know. So far that has not been demonstrated in your strings. To perseverate on the fact that he hasn't been published and ignor the results is juvenile. Our son is getting well, that is the only thing that matters.

 
At Tuesday, March 7, 2006 at 6:15:00 PM EST, Blogger Gators88 said...

I am a patient of the Dr. Hammesfahr and I can definitely state without reservation that he is a lifesaver. I had a massive stroke 4 years ago at the age of 35. Four year later, I am the President of a public company. Under his guidance, I learned to speak again. Dr. Hammesfahr developed an alternative treatment and pioneers always have a bunch of protesters, critics and naysayers. I experienced his work and I am living proof that his protocol

 
At Monday, September 4, 2006 at 1:07:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a patient of Hammesfahr's and had absolutely no results and I followed his protocol religiously. They expect almost immediate results but after several months with no results then they began telling me that my recovery would take much longer. He is a fraud.

 
At Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 2:13:00 PM EDT, Blogger Pam Laber said...

My mother had a stroke 12/03/06. She had tPA administered and had a brain bleed. On 12/04/06 she had a craniotomy performed to evacuate the clot.

The bone flap from the craniotomy became infected and purulent drainage oozed from her head continuously. She had a feeding tube placed of which the doctors told us that she would not ever swallow again. She was completely paralyzed on her left side. She remained confused, demented and sometimes combative. She had diarrhea 24 hours a day from the tube feedings which left huge pressure ulcers on her bottom.

She was in a facility for physical therapy for months but her mental status made her unable to participate properly. We consulted the neurosurgeon and an infection control doctor who placed her on several rounds of antibiotics and stated that they could not cure the infection.

We traveled from Ohio to Florida on 6/04/07 to see Dr. Hammesfahr. I was accompanied by my 81 year old father, my 78 year old mother, in a wheelchair and my 77 year old aunt who had a stroke 10 years ago and is also paralyzed on the left side and is also in a wheelchair.

Dr. Hammesfahr treated both my mother and aunt. By the end of the week both my mother and my aunt had weak movements in their left arm and left leg. My aunt had garbled speech and this had improved to where her speech was faster and was understandable. My mother is eating solid foods and is able to swallow pills. We have an appointment to remove her feeding tube.

The biggest problem since we have been home is finding a surgeon to repair her infected bone flap. Other MD's are so worried about repairing other doctor's work that they would rather her keep the infection until it reaches her brain. This infection has continued now for 6 months. Once we have the infected bone flap removed then we hope to be able to see more progress. We are still satisfied with the small changes that we continue to see everyday.

Maybe if there were other doctors that were more worried about curing people then lawsuits and what other people think of their treatments or being sued or ridiculed then we would have more cures for more diseases. It may be alright with you when the doctor tells you that your mother will spend the rest of her life bedridden, unable to eat and unable to recognize you and there is nothing more to do for her. It was not alright with me because my mother deserves better.

Thank you Dr. Hammesfahr for your faith in God and the strength to continue to give treatment and hope to stroke survivors! I believe in you and your mission statement, "God Leaves No One Behind"!

 
At Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 7:08:00 PM EDT, Blogger Pam Laber said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Sunday, June 17, 2007 at 7:14:00 PM EDT, Blogger Pam Laber said...

You seem to know a lot about medicine?! What are your credentials?

You refer a lot to Dr. Stephen Novella. You state that he is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at Yale University. You have never met Dr. Hammesfahr nor anybody treated by him but you base your opinion on him by a doctor that has no other claim to fame except that he is an Assistant Professor and he spends most of his time slandering other physicians who are productive and successful.

I am neither a physician nor an expert but Dr. Novella's 5 reasons for being skeptical only furthers my disappointment in the healthcare system in the United States.

Being a physician does not give Dr. Novella the right to critique another physician just because they differ in the practice of medicine. He does not set the standards of practice nor does having an article in a medical journal make you right or wrong. Certainly any moron can start their own website and say anything they want about anybody they want. Just because they have M.D. after their name doesn't make them any more of a judge than anyone else.

Dr. Novella also states on his website that Medicare regards vasodilation therapy for stroke rehabilitation or other brain damage as "investigational" and therefore does not cover the cost. My mother was treated by Dr. Hammesfahr on 06/04/07 and Medicare paid for her treatment in full.

If Dr. Novella is giving this kind of misinformation then what else is he misinformed about?

 
At Sunday, July 15, 2007 at 7:46:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother had a stroke in 1999 that paralyzed her right arm and leg. A few months later, we took her to "Dr." Hammesfahr's office from California. We should have known better to bite at such a fantastic claim that she could be completely healed, but we were desperate and still in denial over my mother's condition.

Of course it didn't work, and we made sure that my mother drank all the water she was supposed to drink, took all the meds, etc. But when we signed the contract for "treatment", we had to initial several times that his instructions had to be "followed to the letter". And of course, nothing was guaranteed.

This quack charged us $5,000 for his three-week "treatment". That didn't include her before-and-after "evaluation" by a physical therapist, and another therapist who evaluated her memory, mental acuity, etc. I think that there was one more "expert" we had to take her to, but I don't remember now.

The good "doctor" insisted that medications be purchased at one particular pharmacy only - his staff chewed out another family for daring to buy the meds at Wal-Mart. The reason the staff gave for this requirement is that the pharmacy needed to know all the meds my mother was taking. Well, hell, isn't that the "doctor's" job??

And guess what - at the end of the three-week period, the "therapists" declared that my mother had made great progress. Yeah, right - she hadn't made any progress at all, and we said so to the "therapists". They said nothing in response - what could they say? Mom had been living with us since her stroke. If she had made any progress, we would certainly have noticed it.

Between the $5K to that quack, money to the "therapists", the pharmacy, plane tickets, hotel, food, rental car, etc., we ended up dropping $10K on this worthless "breakthrough". Worse than that was getting my mother's - and our - hopes up, then being bitterly disappointed.

I wasn't surprised that when I heard one doctor in Florida was defending the religious wack jobs in the Terri Schiavo case, it was Hammesfart. Of course, the holy rollers in my office didn't believe me when I told them about him...not even when I showed them my credit card receipt. Well, sheep just believe what they're told to believe, I guess.

I am sickened to hear that Medicare is picking up the cost of his scam. Well, he's buddy-buddy with the president's brother, and Congress at the time was controlled by the president's party, I guess it wasn't too hard to get the taxpayers to pick up the cost of his scam.

He should have his medical license revoked, fraud charges (among others) ought to be filed against him, and he should do some serious time in prison. How that bastard sleeps at night after preying on desperate people all day is beyond me.

It's been seven years since we took my mother there, but finding this blog brought all the anger back to the surface.

 
At Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 1:53:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I contacted Dr. Hammesfahr a couple of years ago to help my Grandmother who had dementia. He wanted an MRI, TCD, a list of her medications, past physician reports, and a video of her so he could assess her condition. I had all of this put together and then sent to him.

He reviewed them and said he could help her and then he never followed up with us or her doctor. I called his office again and he again said he could help her and then never followed up once again. Also, that second time I spoke with him he quickly told me, "I can help him" yet it was my Grandmother he was talking about...made me wonder if he had even looked at her file before he told me this. Unbelievable!

Finally, after a couple of months went by, I got fed up with him. When I tried to get the imaging studies and video back it was a huge hassle. I dealt with his receptionist, I think her name was Melody. She told me that Dr. H had decided not to treat my Grandmother, yet he never bothered to tell me or her doctor. Again, unbelievable. When I tried to get the films and video back she said she would send them, and then never did. I called again. She said she could not find them but never bothered to tell me. She was very rude and made contradictory remarks almost seeming to be trying to cover up for the doctor and his ineptness. Not sure if she was the problem or if she was lying trying to cover for him. The bottom line is that the whole process of dealing with them was very strange and unprofessional. Dealing with this practise was a waste of time for us. Finally, my wife called their office and pleaded with their receptionist to find the films and the video of my Grandmother and to please send them back. They finaly sent back the films, but not the video, which at this point was much more valuable to us. How sad.

Dave - Chicago
Davemail2@aol.com

 
At Monday, March 24, 2008 at 2:02:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey to all of you who had something negative to say about Dr. Hammesfahr. His therapy has been approved by medicare and medicaid!! His therapy works!! He has been put through the ringer by ignorent people and other Dr.'s. He ignored all of you and he stuck by his guns and proved you all wrong. Maybe if there were more Dr.'s that would think outside the box like Dr. H, then we would have more break throughs in medicine. Outside of the box Dr.'s is what has brought medicine to where it is today. So to all of you who said he was a clown and a quack, get ready for Dr. H's therapy going main stream. And watch and see how many lives he touches.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home