SGU listener Ward McCreerty of Southern California has recently made me aware of a scam called FireBurnDoctor.com (FDB). A cursory Google search has revealed that FBD has been on radar of the skeptics for about a year now, but before I went to find out which of my favorite intrepid skeptics or skeptical organizations out there in Webland has taken the lead on this bunk, I delved into the fantasy of FBD alone and unafraid.
FREE INSTANT BURN RECOVERY blazes the headline of their homepage. Call an 818 number (Los Angeles CA.) within the first 30 minutes of exposure. No pain, grafting, scarring, or risk. There is an all-caps appeal to MOTHERS! (but not Fathers?) to call of your child is burned by fire, laser, explosion, or scalding water. Perhaps best of all, you don’t even need to “call” – you can text and email in your burn emergency assuming those means are more accessible in this time of excruciating pain, panic, and injury. Be sure to include the victim’s correct name, date of birth, and place of birth. OR (in caps) simply text or email a picture of the victim with no addition information required.
Next comes their link to their very own public service announcement. I have to give FBD credit for this one: it is very effective, yet equally transparent, to usurp the public’s perception of PSA’s. That’s takes some chutzpah. It is also a red flag that a storm of pseudoscience is brewing. According to FBD, their “PSA”:
“… contains vital information on the Burn Eradication Project that saves lives and stops the terrible pain, suffering and disfigurement from burns, using a state-of-the-art process that bypasses the deleterious effects of burns at a phenomenal rate, for FREE, from a distance, with no risk, drastically reducing the need for expensive medical procedures.”
I know you have gotten the gist of what is going on here by now, but go ahead and keep perusing their website. Reag their sections called News, Protocol, and their 20 or so pages of testimonials. According to FBD lead-enthusiast Allison McDermott, their “state of the art process” uses “a remote technology based on ancient science.” According to the JREF’s quick blog post about this “technology” back in December 2009:
“She (McDermott) explains that FireBurnDoctor uses a burn victim’s name, age, and location to “locate that person in the sea of consciousness” and override the “self-destruct” signal emitted by his or her brain when a burn occurs, thereby activating the body’s power to heal itself.”
So basically what we have here is new-age gobbledygook without a trace of science or evidence, presented in the form of a scam against gullible people that are suffering from immediate physical pain – all the while re-enforcing the victim’s compromised ability to separate fact from fiction. I wish I could say I am shocked, but this is pretty much par for the course by the bad-guys in this “Demon Haunted World.” Also, note the “old age” tip-of-the-hat to the classic astrological reading by having to provide a name, DOB, and POB. Classy.
The measurement of a person’s pain is one of the most highly subjective criteria known to medical science. Besides the obvious physical factors, there are emotional and cognitive components to pain that effects how a person perceives the pain they are experiencing. Pain is influenced by people’s thought processes and attitudes. These are all things that need to be kept in mind when people describe their levels of pain, and there is nothing suggesting FBD understands this critical component within the testimonials they flaunt or the explanations they offer.
I watched the PSA video and although I was not surprised, I did become upset. They use images of horribly burnt victims, including children, to pull at the heart strings of the viewer. This is the worst kind of manipulation and propaganda that cranks utilize to sell their point. They can’t sell their “product” without images of horror imprinted into the minds of “MOTHERS!” everywhere. It is shameless at best and evil at worst.
One can only watch the “PSA” and wonder – how could they possibly have even remotely (pun intended) helped people that have suffered terrible burns? It is one thing to not recognize the placebo effect when it is in action, or underestimating the body’s natural ability to repair itself, but these images are of life-altering burns to people’s faces and bodies that would take months (if ever) to recover. The answer seems to lie (pun intended) in the testimonials themselves.
In just about every case, the burn has occurred to some part of the hand. The majority of the described burns are to the hand, and they are of the first or second degree of severity. Certainly the people in these testimonials, before they called or emailed or faxed or texted their info, took some basic first-aid measures such as running their hand under cool water and applying gauze or a bandage. Just these steps alone can begin the natural healing process to “minor burns”. But there are ZERO testimonials about people being burned in the face, the eyes, the genitals, or other highly sensitive areas of the body. No one was burned by acid or a chemical. The majority of burns came from spills of common liquids or foods. What about the lasers and explosives that the homepage warns against? No one had to escape a burning building or vehicle. So when FBD uses such graphic pictures depicting burns that, apparently, none of their testimonials allude to, it puts this company’s level of nefariousness up towards the top of the scale.
I will be filing a complaint with the FDA (to start) about this company. A year of this company being right under our noses is long enough. For others interested in reporting them to the government, visit Consumer Fraud Reporting. They are a free online service that warns consumers about specific types of financial and health scams via the internet and provide a means to report scams and fraud. It’s a good place to start if you want to help FBD stop peddling their nonsense.