Every year, J and I are required to take 30 hours of continuing education on medical issues impacting children. This past week, I attended a seminar for foster parents of medically fragile children. The foster parents and social workers from Mentor Maryland and other foster care agencies in and around Baltimore attended at a Chapel in Baltimore Co. MD.
If the organizers of the seminar wanted everyone’s attention from the beginning, they succeeded. The husband, wife and child were energetic from the get go with giant beach balls the audience was instructed to keep up in the air for two minutes. We were as engaged as a group of people attending for continuing education credits could be on a Saturday morning. Then, with the carrot half way in our mouths, the spiel began.
Did you know every medical condition can be resolved if only we ate more healthy? It turns out we should need no medication if we just ate the proper diet and exercised. Our problem is we do not get enough alkalines in our diet. It is OK though because they sell a system which will purify the water we drink to provide the needed alkalines and it will filter out everything else. The cure for what ails us is but a faucet screw-on attachment away. Of course, they will come to the house to determine how strong a filter is needed. I am sure the trip to test the water has nothing to do with determining how much they can charge.
I was chagrined to see all the nodding heads and general acceptance of the charade posing as a public service announcement. I had a little hope when one parent asked if the filter removed fluoride from the water. At least, I was not alone in having my BS monitor beeping loudly in my head. The answer given to the question was almost chilling. Fluoride in our water is poison. So naturally their system strips it out. From my last trip to American Samoa when there were dentists from the American Dental Association trying to convince their government to treat their drinking water with it, I knew this was a bogus concern. In fact, the CDC has called adding fluoride to drinking water one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th Century. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4850bx.htm
The presenters were not done though. They went on to claim doctors kept patients sick because they can only make money if the patients have to return. They repeated the refrain saying pharmaceutical companies are the same way. Ironically, they were telling the audience to beware the motives of those from whom they get their information…while trying to sell us a water purification system based on a hoax to cure all our ailments. The irony did not completely end there as they were making this sales pitch in Baltimore county which has very good water (amongst the cleanest in the U.S.) for a very small cost. When J and I lived there, I counted it as one of the five best deals I have ever encountered as we got great water and never managed to run up a $50 bill for any of the three month billing cycles. When the sales couple said, “bottled water might just come from a tap,” all I could think was to hope it came from a tap in this neighborhood.
I hated the presentation most for presenting false hope for parents of sick children. We care about our children, and yes, foster children are “our children.” We suffer as they suffer. So trying to separate us from our trust of doctors and the institutions we rely upon to help us is an assault upon the healthcare of the kids in an effort to swindle a few bucks. I wonder if they ever consider the harm they do with every family convinced their “specially filtered” water will cure their kid. As I started to think about what would drive a family to sink thousands into a water purifying system based on the hocus pokus being sold, I realized the targets of the sales were likely those whom doctors had not yet been able to help. As I looked around the hall and saw some parents nodding in agreement with the presentation, I felt little but disgust at what the sales couple would accomplish with every sale to a family in need of the most important healing ingredient, hope.
Whoever vetted these presenters did us no favors.
For more on the alkaline water scam either Google it or read this good summary: http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/09/25/alkaline-water-not-fountain-youth.