In April 2006, my son had a motorcycle accident which resulted in a C-6 C-7 incomplete spinal cord injury. He is paralyzed from the chest down. At this time, the Bush administration closed all doors to research and clinical trials in the field of stem cells and I thought that the future looked dismal. I searched the internet for overseas stem cell therapies that held promise to possibly improve my son's disability.
I came upon the Medra.com website and watched and read the patient/parent testimonials of children and adults whose disabilities and diseases claimed to improve dramatically from Dr. William C Rader's fetal stem cell injections. One such SCI patient, Ricci Kilgore, a paraolympic gold medalist claimed that prior to the stem cells, she was unable to walk and the Doctors gave her no hope of ever to walk again. After receiving the stem cells, she is now walking with braces. I also watched a video in which she appeared before the Texas state congress, testifying to the miraculous improvements from the stem cells. ( I know now that her story is a lie and I have documented proof to the contrary).
In addition, a parent John Brower, also on the Medra infomercial, claimed that his son Jake was brain dead, after contracting a fungal infection in the brain. The doctors had no hope that he would ever recover, and advised that the Brower's pull the plug on his life support machine. He was even given last rites as the website indicates. Needless to say, Jake had lost all verbal, cognitive and motor skills. However, after receiving the stem cells, Jake aka Brian's parents claim that he regained his eyesight, his ability to talk, think clearly and walk with assistance ( As is the Ricci Kilgore story, Jakes miracle story is a lie and I have documented proof to the contrary).
Although at the time, the infomercial peaked my interest, I was still very skeptical. I needed more information and wanted to talk to patients/parents who had both negative and positive experiences. I continued to search the internet and found a fetal stem cell Topix forum. After reading the posts of patients who affirmed that Rader's stem cell injection worked, I posted asking for information both positive and negative about Rader's results with SCI patients. I was immediately contacted by the Lisa Brower, mother of Jake aka Brian. We talked for 4 hours about her son's so called miraculous recovery and the magnificent Dr. Rader. During one of our conversations, she told me that Dr. Rader was at risk of being shut down by the pro-lifers, media and pharmeceutical companies and since the stem cell injection was not FDA approved, me and my son would have to travel to the Dominican Republic to Dr. Rader's clinic. Also ,she emphatically told me on several occasions that she was just a mom and in no way an employee of Medra and was not getting paid to network her experience. (I found out much later, that Lisa Brower is one of Medra's sales reps and her husband John is Rader's patient relations manager. Both have been hired by Medra to recruit patients)
After our conversations, I had built up a trust with Lisa who directed me to contact Dr. Rader. During our brief conversation, I asked Rader how many of his SCI patients had improved and how many did not. He told me that all of his SCI patients had improved. (Of course this is a lie, since Ricci Kilgore is the only SCI patient to come forward with her outright lie) I also asked Rader to give me contact information of SCI patients that he had given the injections to but he was not willing to do this. He claimed that he had to protect the privacy of his patients.
Although red flags were blazing and my gut told me that this could be a risky scam, my son and I decided to go for the injection. We thought that if we didn't, we might regret our decision for the rest of our lives.
I was required to wire $30,000 to an offshore bank in the Bahamas, prior to the injection. (I must have lost all my sensibilities). The only other thing that was required was to fill out a medical history form for my son. There was no pre-exam required.
I booked our trip with a travel agent who was very familiar with Medra and the accomadations that my son needed. We arrived in Dominican Republic and were picked up in a van by a Medra employee who took us to the suggested La Romana vacation resort. That day, we met about 10 people who were there to get the stem cell injection. They had varying diseases and disabilities. We all became friendly and ate dinner together that night. I collected their contact information in order to keep in touch with them in the coming months to check on their improvements.
The following day, I was contacted by a Medra employee and given a scheduled time for my son's procedure. We were picked up and taken by an unmarked inaccessible handicap van by 2 Dominicans, without any identifying verification that they were connected to Medra, driving past ramshackle huts and marijuana plantations, to a vacation resort cookie cutter house in a deserted complex, which was under construction. We were led to believe that we were going to a clinic and would be seeing Rader. Rader was not there. Instead, we were greeted by Raders' wife, Debra,who has no medical license. At this point, I am not sure if Rader has a medical license
We were escorted into one of the bedrooms. A supposed Dominican pediatric nurse came into the room and set up an IV into my sons arm, which supposedly was used to flush the stem cells through the blood. She took a drop of his blood and put it on a slide to supposedly check his blood type for the proper stem cells. After she left, we saw her through the window walk to the house next door. Within 5 minutes she walked out of the house with a white cooler. She entered our room with a syringe of supposed stem cells. She injected my son's abdomen in 3 sites and the remaining concoction was inserted into the IV line. The process took about 5 seconds to administer. The IV drip was obviously just a prop to make the procedure look legit and to prolong the process. Right before receiving the stem cells, I was asked to sign a release form that stated that I would not to go to the media or special interest groups that may be damaging to Rader. I was in shock and said I would not sign such a form, since I intended to tell of our experience. Within 5 minutes, Rader called me to assure me that he wanted me to tell of my experience (and this is exactly what I'm doing). He just didn't want the pro-lifers to come down on him. About 45 minutes later, the so called procedure was finished, with about 1/16 of the IV bag depleted. We were given no paperwork, instructions or Chain of custody to document the authenticity of the stem cells. Just Good-bye and have a nice time. Once we returned to the resort, we discussed the procedure with the rest of Rader's patients that we met and they all agreed that the whole process looked shady.
After the 6 months suggested waiting period for the stem cells to take effect, my son had no improvements whatsoever, so I began contacting the people I had met. None have had any improvement whatsoever to this date. Five including my son were SCI patients.
I returned to the Fetal stem cell Topix board and aired my complaint. My son was immediately called by John Brower, who tried to bribe him with a free stem cell procedure and an all expense paid trip back to the DR, with the stipulation that the complaint be removed from the Topix board. He refused and stopped answering the persistent phone calls from John Brower. I know 2 other people in our group that were offered the same deal and both accepted. These people still have not had any improvement after the second injection.
Furthermore, a friend of mine wrote a negative response about Medra on the Topix board. She was called by John Brower from a anonymous phone number, threatening her several times to recant her post. A police officer on the Topix board was also threatened by Brower.
At this time we know that Medra is operating in the Dominican Republic and Tijuana. The location in the DR has changed many times, as has the cost for the stem cells and the payment method. It is very probable that their operation has expanded to other locations and may have other names.
In order to get a clearer idea of how Medra operates, please google Fetal stem cells Topix and it will take you right to the forum. The board gets very informative and shocking from page 17 on..
If you or anyone you know is thinking about getting an offshore stem cell treatment please beware. By no means have any dealings with Medra. If you have had any experience with Medra and would like to share, please come forward. An investigation is underway by the FBI, IRS and media venues to expose these crooks.