A North Carolina woman is taking the Lung Institute to task, alleging the medical institute falsely advertises the effectiveness of its stem-cell therapies, swindling patients out of thousands of dollars for essentially bogus treatments.
The Lung Institute operates medical office through the country that provide “stem cell” therapy treatment for various lung diseases, including COPD, emphysema and interstitial lung disease. The company, through its advertising, promotes procedures that promise to “heal degenerating organs.”
However, plaintiff Tammy Rivero, who suffers from diagnosed lung disease, says she and other patients were duped by the marketing claims made by the Lung Institute. Instead, the Lung Institute class action lawsuit says the company is just a front for a marketing company, and not really a medical institute at all. Additionally, the lawsuit challenges the procedures the Lung Institute promotes, saying they are not even credible by FDA standards.
“The Defendant intentionally circumvents FDA regulations by injecting patients’ own ‘stem cells’ back into their bodies…and not a single piece of medical literature supports the efficacy of any of the Defendant’s ‘stem cell’ procedures,” the Lung Institute class action lawsuit reads.
Among the Lung Institute treatment claims Rivero is challenging is that patients will be able to get “off oxygen” within a few weeks and will see huge improvements in its stem-cell and supportive therapies.
These therapies range in cost from $5,000 to $12,000, and that doesn’t include subsequent “supportive” therapies which can patients upwards of an additional $500 per month. Each patient is responsible for paying the whole cost of the treatments, as the Lung Institute does not accept health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
According to the complaint, the Lung Institute urges prospective patients who cannot afford the cost of treatment to raise the funds through “bake sales, Kickstarter campaigns, cash-out home refinancing, and other fundraising activities.
Rivero details her own experience in court documents, stating that when she was evaluated by the Lung Institute in April 2014 and was informed she would be a candidate for stem cell therapy, she paid $7,500 to undergo the procedure and was encouraged to take out a home equity loan to pay for the treatment.
However, subsequent to the procedure, Rivero did not notice any improvement in her symptoms. To add insult to injury, she was informed that in order to “keep her stem cells working” that she needed to pay an additional $70 per month for shots to “reboost” them. Rivero reminded the Lung Institute that they told her she would only need to pay $7,500. Because she could not afford the additional charges, Rivero claims the Lung Institute then blamed her for the procedure not working.
Rivero says her case is unfortunately similar to hundreds, if not thousands of patients across the country who were deceived by the claims made by the Lung Institute. She is seeking to represent a putative nationwide class of patients who have received the Lung Institute’s stem-cell therapy since 2013.
Rivero and the proposed Class are represented by Ben A. Vinson Jr. of Vinson Law LLC
The Lung Institute Class Action Lawsuit is Tammy Rivero, et al. v. Lung Institute LLC, Case No. 8:17-cv-03113-SDM-MAP, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.