When the local doctor who had been treating Vicky Hilborn told her that her rare cancer had spread throughout her body, including her brain, she and her husband refused to accept a death sentence. Within days, Keith Hilborn was on the phone with an "oncology information specialist" at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Hilborn had seen CTCA's website touting survival rates better than national averages. His call secured Vicky an appointment at the for-profit, privately held company's Philadelphia affiliate, Eastern Regional Medical Center. There, the oncologist who examined Vicky told the couple he had treated other cases of histiocytic sarcoma, the cancer of immune-system cells that she had.
"He said, ‘We'll have you back on your feet in no time,'" Keith recalled.
Vicky's cancer treatment was forestalled by an infection and other complications that kept her at Eastern Regional for three weeks. In July 2009, when she got back home, things changed. Despite Keith's calls, he said, CTCA did not schedule another appointment. As his wife got sicker, Keith, a former deputy sheriff in western Pennsylvania, was reduced to begging.
TVNL Comment: An interesting aside: Richard Stephenson, the founder of this large for-profit cancer center, is a reclusive millionare. He is also one of the primary funding sources for Freedom Works, a right-wing Tea Party organization that played a major role in the 2012 elections. CTCA has been exposed for making a huge "profit from offering ineffective therapies to cancer patients."