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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
Caps for Charity
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 03, 2008
Another case of the Collecting Junk for Charity hoax. Aleta Brace of Parkersburg, West Virginia collected 20,000 bottle caps, believing that the caps could be redeemed for money which would aid cancer patients. And she wasn't alone. Churches, schools, businesses, and individuals throughout West Virginia have been collecting the bottle caps all summer. The caps would all have gone to waste, but now the Aveda skin care company has announced it'll take the caps and recycle them into new caps for its products.
Fake Patients
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 08, 2008
The Associated Press reports that the FBI has started cracking down on a widespread insurance scam in which hospitals fill up their beds with homeless people posing as patients, and then charge government programs for the costs. Hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties submitted phony Medicare and Medi-Cal bills for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homeless patients — including drug addicts and the mentally ill — recruited from downtown's Skid Row, state and federal authorities allege. While treating minor problems that did not require hospitalization, such as dehydration, exhaustion or yeast infections, the hospitals allegedly kept homeless patients…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Scams Comments (2)
An Unfortunate Accident
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 13, 2008
This news clipping has been doing the rounds: Is it true? It does have urban-legend qualities to it, but a search of LexisNexis reveals that it was widely reported in April 2002. English-language papers credited the story to the Danish newspaper BT. The surgeon was identified as Jorn Kristensen. The Sun had this line: Surgeon Jorn Kristensen said of the chain reaction: "No-one considered the possibility." So, given the specific details, I'm going to say that it appears to be true my hunch is that it's true, but I'll list…
Categories: Gross, Health/Medicine Comments (20)
A Degloving Injury
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 20, 2008
Warning: Don't look at these pictures if you're squeamish. Picture 1, Picture 2. They're the latest stomach-turners circulating around the internet. You've been warned! But if you think you can handle it, the pictures are interesting from an anatomical perspective. They show a "degloved" finger. A woman, while drunk, snagged her ring on a spiked fence, thereby peeling the skin off her finger. Her friends had the presence of mind to put the 'finger glove' in a glass of water and take her to a hospital. The images are strange, but real. They come from a recent article in The Internet Journal of Orthopedic…
Categories: Gross, Health/Medicine Comments (8)
Woman discovers husband isn’t a doctor
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 03, 2008
Tammi Parteet was worried since she hadn't heard from her husband. So she decided to call him at Piedmont Hospital, where he worked as a doctor. WSBTV.com relates what happened next: She called him on his Piedmont cell phone, the one he told her was for emergencies. A staff member picked up. "I said, 'I'm trying to locate my husband, Dr. Perteet.' And she said, 'Dr. who? We don't have a Dr. Perteet.' And she says, 'Are you talking about the guy that had this cell phone?' And I said 'yes.' And she says, 'Oh, he was arrested last…
FairDeal Homeopathy
Posted by The Curator on Sat May 10, 2008
FairDeal Homeopathy promises it won't lie to its customers. They only guarantee that their remedies are "as effective as all other homeopathic remedies." They also won't promise that their products can help you if you're ill. Although they do note that if you believe in their remedies they might help, because of the placebo effect. But they caution that if you're "actually ill" you shouldn't expect their products to cure you. "Homeopathy of any sort," they note, "is not a medical treatment, neither is it a substitute for evidence-based medicine and proper medical opinion." On the testimonials page you find comments from "Miss Emily…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Websites Comments (10)
Who authors drug studies?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 17, 2008
A disturbing article in the most recent issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) suggests that the practice of ghostwriting medical studies is widespread. How it works is that a big drug company writes a study touting the merits of its latest drug. Then the company hands off the study to a prestigious researcher who agrees to be listed as the author. This adds a veneer of scientific credibility to what is basically corporate propaganda. The dupes in this entire process are the patients who are convinced to shell out big bucks for medicine that's either worthless or actually harmful (such as Vioxx). The drug companies, of course, claim this…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (15)
Malawi Ousts Fake AIDS Healers
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 09, 2008
Lawmakers in Malawi have decided to crack dawn on quacks peddling phony cures for AIDS. The "cures" generally involve having sex with a virgin, an albino, or a disabled person. The legislation is only in draft form right now, but if passed it will require traditional healers to register with the health ministry. I'll have to ask my sister what she knows about this, since she's been in Malawi for the past four years working on promoting AIDS education. That's why I visited Malawi last year. I had a great time there. I would definitely encourage anyone to visit, but if you plan on driving around the country, make sure you have a…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (9)
Viagra-Inspired Food
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 05, 2008
Trifter.com has collected examples of foods that have either been made to look like Viagra, or have been renamed after it. The list includes Viagra Gelato, Viagra ice cream, Viagra spam mousse, Viagra cake, and Viagra musubi. The Viagra spam mousse seems particularly appropriate, since the drug is such a favorite topic of spammers.
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine Comments (2)
Obay
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 22, 2008
Recently strange ads for a drug called "Obay" began appearing around Toronto. The ads were pretty obviously satirical, but who was responsible for them? The Church of Scientology was an early suspect, since they're well known for their anti-psychiatry stance. But it turned out they had nothing to do with the ad campaign. The Torontoist tracked down the real culprit. It's an advocacy group called Colleges Ontario, which represents twenty-four colleges in Ontario. The Torontoist writes: Rob Savage, Colleges Ontario's Director of Communications, called Torontoist moments ago to confirm that Colleges Ontario is indeed…
Woman claims to be 120
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 18, 2008
Mariam Amash, who lives in the village of Jisr a-Zarka in Israel, claims that she is 120 years old. Her claim recently surfaced when she applied for a new Israeli identity card. She might be telling the truth. Apparently she has a birth certificate issued by Turkish authorities, who ruled Jisr a-Zarka back in 1888 when Amash says she was born. She also has eleven children, the eldest one being in her late 80s. So assuming that her children aren't lying about their ages, Amash would have to be at least over 100 years old. If Amash really is 120, that would make her the…
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (2)
Real-Life Kidney Thieves
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jan 29, 2008
A kidney transplant ring has been busted in India. Hundreds of poor people were forced into having their kidneys removed. ABC News reports that victims were promised a job, then taken to a private house and forced at gunpoint to sell their kidneys. One victim's story sounds just like the kidney-transplant urban legend: "I was approached by a stranger for a job. When I accepted, I was taken to a room with gunmen," Mohammed Salim told India's local NDTV television channel. "They tested my blood, gave me an injection and I lost consciousness. When…
Huffing Hand Sanitizer
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jan 28, 2008
A 14-year-old student at Killian Middle School in Lewisville picked up a bottle of hand sanitizer from the desk of his reading teacher, rubbed the gel on his hands, and then smelled it. According to the teacher, he "inhaled heavily." The student said he sniffed it because it "smelled good." But the school authorities claimed he sniffed it because he was trying to get high. They gave him an in-school suspension, and then proceeded to file criminal charges against him. WFAA.com reports: Joni Eddy, assistant police chief in Lewisville, said Friday that hand sanitizer has become…
Prank Call Leads to Electric Shock Treatment
Posted by The Curator on Tue Dec 18, 2007
Prank phone calls and electric-shock gadgets are perennial favorites of pranksters. So I guess what happened at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center was just a novel combination of the two: Call up and order electric-shock treatment for someone. It's actually kind of scary to think that it's that easy to order treatment for a patient. Boston Herald reports: State officials are investigating complaints that staff at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center gave three people — including two teens — unnecessary electric shock treatments after receiving a prank phone call from someone pretending to be from the office of the school’s founder.
Categories: Health/Medicine, Pranks Comments (2)
Quick Links: Nov. 27, 2007
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 27, 2007
Ocean's 11 Conman "It was one of the most audacious jewel thefts in history. In the middle of a crowded room, the famed Star of the Empress Sisi was stolen from its high-security case and replaced with a replica." (Thanks, Joe) Turkey Mystery Turkeys mysteriously show up in a town, and then wander away. "After entertaining residents of Harborview Drive on Thanksgiving morning, 15 turkeys departed - in single file - about 1 p.m. Thursday and have not been seen since, residents said Friday." FEMA not the only agency to hold fake press conferences Apparently Immigration and Customs Enforcement does it too. (Thanks, Gary)…
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