The Internet Health Consultants
I tend to be fairly critical of self-proclaimed experts that tend to treat Fluoroquinolone Toxicity over the phone and charge exorbitant consultation fees for their services. No, I am not becoming cynical nor have I sold out to mainstream medical methods, on the contrary. I equally spread my disdain for practitioners of all modes of medical treatment that have a questionable track record. I just want to make sure that everyone seeks the best medical care for their particular needs.
Dismal Track Record
In the past, I was foolhardy and patronized a few Internet health consultants and now after talking to lots of floxed folks spanning the last ten years, it is my humble and medically unqualified opinion that these practitioners have a very dismal track record when it comes to treating floxed individuals. I know that may opinion may ruffle some feathers, since there are some very vocal proponents of practitioners who fall into this niche, but I have compiled quite a list of opinions from many floxies who have actually doled out a lot of money to patronize these practitioners.
Whether they are engineers or lawyers turned health consultants, chiropractors turned genetic experts, dietitians turned nutri-genomic experts, the list reads like a menu at an all-night smorgasbord. Many of these individuals self-proclaim their talents on their various Facebook pages, blogs, or websites (Yes, I know everyone does it). They often make self-aggrandizing claims that tacitly implies their unique knowledge on certain aspects of health related issues.
I have noticed that many of these individuals, who engage in this style of health consultation, often will befriend certain visible people and even treat a few individuals pro-bono to, in my opinion, get the word out. After all, it is good for business. They are often categorized as ‘nice’ and ‘acknowledging’ of the Fluorquinolone (FQ) situation, but when one digs below the surface by interviewing many who have patronized these individuals, one will uncover an actual very dismal track record for successful treatment.
Now this dismal track record might reflect the complexities of what it takes to treat those suffering from FQ toxicity. Seriously, FQ toxicity is so complex that most mainstream medical practitioners balk at the notion much less have any knowledge about treating it. I have had researchers tell me personally that FQ toxicity exhibits patterns of damage much more complex than chemotherapy. So, why would some guy or gal a thousand miles away be able to treat me over the phone successfully? Obviously, there are some health conditions that can and do become good at spotting the obvious, but in those cases even an arm chair consultant can make a good call. Depending on how you look, many of these consultants DO have a good track record of pricey initial consultations to pricey follow up appointments.
Also, I believe that what defines treatment success from one of these health consultants is very subjective indeed. For instance, what I would describe as a complete failure in treatment, one of these health consultants might describe as a partial success. Unfortunately, and more often than not, I have seen a cash strapped floxies pay out $1000 or more in consulting fees and walk away no healthier than they were when they started out and many times more frustrated, confused, and definitely lighter in the pocketbook.
Now I want to throw in the caveat that if a person wants to pay these individuals for acknowledgement of their condition, more power to you. However, I consider the $350 to $550 or more per initial hour price tag and anywhere from $75 to $250 per half-hour follow up price tag a little steep. I have said before, for myself, if I want acknowledgement of my condition, I will pay a psychologist for that, and get a professional opinion that carries about as much weight in the medical world, but usually paying a lot less.
Am I being too hard on these Internet health consultants? Well actually maybe not hard enough, since I have a boatload of stories, that range from; charging for appointments that did not occur, forgetting about the patient’s medical condition, unresponsive to emails, lost emails, misplaced medical records, bad mouthing other health consultants, talking about non-related information during the consult and charging for the time, and the list goes on and on.
Again, I know that these same problems plague traditional medical providers as well. I just want people to know that this is definitely not the panacea that is often painted by some folks. Floxies have told me stories about pressuring tactics used such as “you do want to get well don’t you?”, when questioning the pricey cost of consultation. One of the biggest complaints was the feeling that the provider did not do their homework on follow up appointments and totally forget about the recommendations from previous consultation sessions.
One person relayed to me this conversation, provider: “Ok what did we talk about last time?”, patient: “You mean you don’t have it written down?”, provider “I’ve got a lot of patients so I want to make sure I have everything correct.”, patient, “You mean I paid $350 dollars and you cant remember what we talked about, don’t you take notes?”, at this point the patient hung up. And to add insult to injury, the patient received a bill for the phone consult!
In all fairness, like I implied before, some do seem to have good success with easy or more obvious cases. Again, I know that this definition is very subjective but in this instance I will describe ‘easy’ as a case where it involves changing noticeable health patterns via obvious suggestions in dietary or lifestyle modifications. However it seems that many floxed folks, which have very complex medical needs, are simply either dropped, dismissed, passed off to another health consultant, or milked for seemingly endless consults that seem to go nowhere.
I have many cautions but here are some of the red flags I would look for:
- He/she want you to sign or engage in a long term contract.
- He/she does not define clear cut goals or plans for your treatment.
- He/she does not respect your time.
- He/she seems unorganized or cannot remember previously given advice.
- He/she is unreachable or has to be pestered for contact.
- He/she has an office that is unresponsive, disorganized, or rude.
- He/she is interested in selling or pushes expensive products or services.
- The practitioner claiming to be able to heal you back to 100%.
The area of Health Consultants is a vast one. I do know for a fact that there are some genuinely legitimate well-meaning individuals that have a fairly good track record in the world of Internet health consulting. But, in my opinion, the good ones are greatly outweighed by those operating in the margins. If I were to patronize any of these individuals in the future, I would talk to several previous patients, and I would probably want to meet the practitioner in person and make sure that I get my money’s worth.
It’s a jungle out there folks, so be careful and if your money is tight, be real careful.
Agree? or Disagree? Weigh in and let me know what you think.