The vast majority of Oasis Tijuana patients arrive as Stage 4, written off by the medical profession. They’ve been through chemo and radiation, maybe even multiple times, and are very ill. The vast majority of the patients are American but there are also Europeans, Canadians, Australians, and Japanese. Virtually no Latinos. (“We’re not prophets in our own land,” I was told.)
Why would you consider going across the border? First let’s address misconceptions leading to why you WOULDN’T. Gang activity in Tijuana is said to be at an all-time high, and Americans are fearful crossing the border. You can be picked up by Oasis in San Diego and driven to the hospital. The facility is so close, you could throw a rock and hit the border fence if you had a very good arm.
I told Gaston, our guide and Dr. Contreras’ son-in-law, that this would officially be the first place I’ve stayed that I didn’t go for a run. He said, pointing out the front door, “Why not? The beach is right there!” I told him what I’d heard, and he said, “We do not have those issues here. Tijuana is dependent on tourism, and you are in the heart of the tourist zone. It is safe here.”
The hospital is also protected by a gate. The facility is very clean and staffed by professionals. Whatever your conceptions may be of crossing the border, they may not be accurate.
Now for why you WOULD go to Mexico for treatment. Clinics there, of course, must practice only in modalities accepted by their FDA equivalent. But Mexico is far more lenient that the U.S.
I do not subscribe to the idea that the FDA acts in the interests of public health and protects us, anyway. That’s another topic entirely, but for instance, it’s the FDA that approved and continues to allow food chemical monosodium glutamate on the market, which can now be called by 12 other names to hide it in food labeling and which is a blight in our food supply causing a variety of neurological problems. FDA also approved the deadly neurotoxin aspartame and refuses to remove its endorsement, despite hundreds of thousands of health-related complaints. It approved fen-phen until related deaths mounted.
The FDA approved Avastin, a billion-dollar cancer drug that costs $10,000 a month—which is still being prescribed despite the fact that it doesn’t work and many people are dead of cardiac events it caused. The FDA finally pulled its approval, but only for breast cancer. Even as the head of the FDA pulled its approval, she practically begged the drug company to find some evidence so FDA could renew its approval!
The FDA approved Vioxx only after 50,000 Americans died from complications. The doctors who performed the clinical trials just dropped people out of the trials when they had heart attacks, to speed the approval process.
A number of former FDA executives are on record saying that what you THINK the FDA does, and what it actually does, may be two very different things.
My point is, whether or not the FDA approved something is close to irrelevant. Even if you ignore the egregious conflicts of interest the head of the FDA and her minions have, even if you believe it to be a clean organization operating only in the interests of public health rather than Big Pharma’s interests, it’s a massively overworked workforce that cannot keep up with requests and approvals.
(Only 15 percent of the chemicals in our manufacturing, air, water, and food have been through an FDA approval process. It’s an “innocent until proven guilty” system when it comes to chemicals—but that’s not so for cancer treatment. The Burzynski anti-neoplaston treatments have saved many children with inoperable glioblastomas, but the FDA lets children languish and die while Burzynski tries to fund multi-million dollar clinical trials.)
Oh, I’ve digressed! Tomorrow I tell you what treatments they use at Oasis of Hope Tijuana. (And later I’ll tell you what they use at Oasis of Hope Irvine, run by Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.)