Is clinic giving patients false hope? - WSMV News 4

Is clinic giving patients false hope?

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Local doctors and patients are coming forward with new claims after a Channel 4 I-Team investigation about two pastors who claim their chambers could help with all kinds of problems from hair loss to depression.

A Middle Tennessee doctor told the Channel 4 I-Team one of these pastors even told her patient they could cure cancer.

The pastors, Dale and Gale Hammond, don't have medical licenses in Tennessee.

Now there are new allegations they are charging thousands of dollars for treatments that some claim are just giving desperate people false hope.

Hendersonville physician Dawn Linn wanted to speak with the Channel 4 I-Team as soon as she saw the hidden camera investigation into the hyperbaric clinic run by the Hammond brothers.

"It's important to me that people know the truth," said Linn.

Linn said she became concerned when she got a call last spring from Dale Hammond about one of her elderly patients who has Leukemia.

"When I originally talked to him on the phone I couldn't get him to tell me what kind of doctor he was," said Linn. "I asked him repeatedly ‘What kind of physician are you?' ‘What kind of doctor are you?' and there are only two licensed physicians in the United States, a MD and a DO."

The Hammond brothers admit they are neither medical doctors nor doctors of osteopathy. We found they don't hold any medical licenses in Tennessee. Yet, they still introduce themselves as doctors.

"I'm Dr. Gale," said Gale Hammond when approached by our hidden camera, "Doctors of Herbology, yeah," said Dale Hammond on hidden camera.

Linn said Dale Hammond told her his hyperbaric oxygen therapy could help treat her patient's Leukemia.

"I told him I wasn't going to offer a prescription. I wasn't going to offer my consent for this and he wasn't very thrilled with that," said Linn. "I couldn't find any kind of website or information on the therapies he was offering. That was concerning to me.

"I figured if you have a treatment out there for something as big as cancer you would want to share it with the world. It was Dale Hammond who called me and exclaimed he didn't have time for websites he was too busy saving lives."

The Channel 4 I-Team introduced Dale Hammond and his twin brother, Gale, when we went undercover to what they call their clinic. We discovered they not only sing the praises of the gospel but also the praises of their homemade supplements and their hyperbaric chambers.

"We do hyperbaric oxygen therapy here," said Gale Hammond on hidden camera.

We watched as patients went into their portable chambers in a building right next to their church where they are pastors. On hidden camera we asked them about hair loss, even depression. The Hammonds told us their hyperbaric chambers could help.

Problem is hyperbaric experts we talked to say that's not true.

"Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not a panacea, it is not a golden wand," said Tom Workman, Director of Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs for the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society. "You will frequently find claims for off-label use that just as you said for everything all the way up to hair loss. I can assure you that's certainly not the case."

People who told us they had been patients of the Hammonds have come forward. They wouldn't go on camera saying they were embarrassed because they told us they spent thousands of dollars on chamber treatments and supplements and didn't get better.

Now they feel taken advantage of. Linn said the Hammond brothers also offered her patient a cure and sold him treatments.

"He understood it that they could help him as far as his cancer and actually cure his cancer and they offered cancer treatments," said Linn.

Channel 4 News has tried to talk with the Hammonds, but they have refused to do an on-camera interview.

After Linn contacted Channel 4, the I-Team, Gale Hammond told us on the phone they are not offering treatment for cancer patients and referred us to their attorney, Steve North.

North sent the Channel 4 I-Team a statement answering questions about the Hammonds.

"They have never told anyone, nor do they believe, that they can cure cancer, nor have they ever advised anyone to discontinue any medical treatment or avoid any medical consultation," said North in the statement. "So far as the Hammonds know, no client or physician has ever claimed that the Hammonds have caused any client harm."

Linn said the Hammonds gave her patient false hope and she doesn't want anyone else to have to go through that.

"It's just not fair to tell that to someone who is reaching out for some kind of help," said Linn.

The Hammonds' attorney added that because of the Channel 4 I-Team investigation, their fire insurance has been canceled.

If you've been treated by the Hammonds, contact Kimberly Curth.

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