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Why do People Prey on the Sick?
I suppose since the beginning of time, there have been people who are ill and there have been people who prey on the ill. Think of the old wagons rolling through rural America hundreds of years ago, selling their cures for everything that might ail you. It appears that most of the time the “so called cures” were nothing but water or alcohol. I’d like to think that things have changed in the year 2012, but the reality is that this still exists to the same extent and perhaps even to a greater extent. The FDA cannot or will not stop these perpetrators.
With the onset of the internet, we see constant advertisements for this cure or that cure, for this way to stop an illness or that way to stop an illness and the sad fact is that most of these ads are just schemes to make money. They go after people who are desperate. Too many times, the medical establishment has failed us by not providing these cures, but the reality is that they do the best they can and the majority of illnesses have no cures. Most doctors attempt to ameliorate the symptoms.
If you stop for a second and think of all the illnesses you know, you’ll see that very few cures exist. The body is a complicated piece of machinery and there is much more that we don’t know than we do know.
People with fibromyalgia are especially prone to these hucksters as people with fibro are pretty desperate because it does take such a toll on their lives and families. I’ve actually seen ads and web pages advertising new techniques that can be a solution for Fibro, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Stroke Victims, Parkinson’s disease and 5 or 6 other neurological illnesses. If you took high school biology, it’s easy to see through these ads as the mechanisms of these illnesses are so totally different that it is impossible to have a magic bullet that cures or helps all of these illnesses.
I’ve also been a victim of these unscrupulous hucksters. It is not new news that I run a very successful fibromyalgia center. However, I’ve had companies design web sites, using my name and address pretending to be me. Their goal is to intercept calls which are meant for my office and then try to sell these peoples name to me for very expensive prices. This is a case where these people are not going after the ill patients, but trying to extort from the doctors, and these types of scams are not limited to doctors. They target dentists, accountants and every other type of professional. The internet makes it easy, and there is not a lot we can do to stop it.
The company that targets me uses a toll free phone number and therefore can be distinguished from my office in that I do not. My phone number is and always has been 650-558-1010.
Another way that others prey on the ill is by some of the tactics used by large pharmaceutical companies. Almost every week we read of a pharmaceutical company sued by the federal government for misleading advertising or for selling medications which do not do what they are said to do. Preying on the ill has become a big business.
Getting back to the title, why do people prey on the ill, the truth is that I do not have a good explanation. I suppose it is mostly greed, lack of conscience, not caring about fellow man/woman and who knows what else?
The definition of a sociopath is person, having a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience. Has it come to a point where we are living in a society which is becoming more and more sociopathic? I don’t know, but it sure appears to be the case.