Hope or Hype: The Obsession with Medical Advances and the High Cost of False Promises

By Richard A. Deyo; Donald L. Patrick | Go to book overview

16

Weight Loss Technology
ing Pounds from Your Waistline or Your Wallet?

Lose 30 Pounds in Just 30 Days.
Lose Weight While You Sleep.
Scientific Breakthrough… Medical Miracle.
Lose All the Weight You Can for Just $39.99.

—Claims that the FTC suggests are misleading1

IN 2003, a twenty-three-year-old Baltimore Orioles pitcher, Steve Bechler, arrived at baseball camp in Florida weighing 249 pounds, noticeably heavy to his manager and teammates, even at his height (6 feet 2 inches). On a Sunday morning, a sunny day with temperatures in the low 80s and humidity around 70 percent, Bechler came for a regularly scheduled workout. After about 60 percent of the light running workout was completed, he became faint and collapsed near the outfield fence. He was rushed to the training room, where he received treatment for about twenty minutes until emergency personnel arrived. His body temperature temporarily reached 108 degrees, and heat was blamed for his loss of consciousness. At the hospital, Bechler's condition declined, and he was placed on a respirator. From that point on, medical staff fought a losing battle to stabilize him, and he died, according to a team physician, from "multi-organ failure due to heatstroke."2,3

The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Bechler found ephedra in his system and concluded that the toxicity of ephedra had

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