Critiquing: Families run out of hope, money after cancer treatments (USA TODAY NEWS, NATION, Liz Szabo, USA TODAY)

Liz Szabo
Michael Stravato
Jerry Mosemak
Robert Hanashiro

Before you write a Hack Piece
Check Your Facts Please


The 3rd, and thankfully final segment of USA TODAY’s “hit-piece” of irresponsible yellow journalism about Dr. Stanislaw R. Burzynski [1], contains the following:
“Patients stay in hotels while visiting him”
Pete Cohen made this movie about his and
Hannah Bradley’s trip to the Burzynski Clinic

It does NOT look like they stayed in a hotel [2]
The article continues:
“If children deteriorate, they often end up in the closest emergency room, said physician Jeanine Graf, director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, who says she has treated at least a dozen of Burzynski’s patients
In the 2nd segment of USA TODAY’s yellow journalism “hit-piece,” the reader was advised that Burzynski had treated [3]:
“ . . . more than 8,000 patients since 1977.”
Physician Jeanine Graf, “says she has treated at least a dozen of Burzynski’smore than 8,000 patients,”

This means that Dr. Graf has treated LESS THAN 0.15% of Burzynski’s patients
The article indicates that:
“Typically, Graf sees Burzynski’s patients after they have become unresponsive, unable to open their eyes or breathe on their own”

“Graf says she’s never seen Burzynski attending to them”
Why would she ?

Does she ride in the ambulance to and from the clinic ?

As the article makes clear:

“While Burzynski often meets patients on their first trip to the clinic, Jaffe said he is

“not the treating physician of the clinic’s patients”

“The doctors on Burzynski’s staff have admitting privileges at local hospitals and “attend to patients as needed,” Jaffe said”
And she continues:
“And describing her personal experience with Burzynski’s patients, Graf says,”

“I’ve never seen one survive long-term.”
Are we supposed to believe that pediatric physician Jeanine Graf keeps track of the “more than 8,000 patients” that the article claims Burzynski has treated ?
Continuing on, the article also claims:
“The unlucky ones end up broke, spending everything on medicine, airfare, hotel rooms and meals while in Houston, Graf says

“Burzynski’s attorney, Richard Jaffe, notes that all cancer care is expensive”

“I think the clinic’s policies are a lot more charitable than the big institutions,” Jaffe says”
6/25/2013 – Medical Bills Are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies [4]

“Bankruptcies resulting from unpaid medical bills will affect nearly 2 million people this year—making health care the No. 1 cause of such filings . . . according to new data”

“. . . estimates that households containing 1.7 million people will file for bankruptcy protection this year

“Even outside of bankruptcy, about 56 million adultsmore than 20 percent of the population between the ages of 19 and 64—will still struggle with health-care-related bills this year . . .”

“Despite the anticipated 2013 dip, such bankruptcies represent about three out of every five filings
2007 – How Many Americans Go Bankrupt Due to Medical Purposes Each Year? [5]

“2007, a Harvard study shows that at least 60% of bankruptcies are related to medical bills

“Even people with health insurance are filing bankruptcy”

“Insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pay, and out of pocket expenses cause medical bills to drown individuals and families in medical debt”

“Harvard also discovered that 75% of those filing bankruptcy for medical reasons had health insurance

“It is clear that having health insurance is no guarantee against carrying debt related to health care”
Burzynski has treated more than 8,000 patients since 1977

8,000 divided by 36 years equals an average of:

222 patients per year

Burzynski is obviously NOT the problem
Liz Szabo, Michael Stravato, Jerry Mosemak, and Robert Hanashiro

Don’t quit your day jobs

USA TODAY needs to generate readership somehow !!!
Sarcasm . . . deal with it
[1] – 11/15/2013
[2]Hannah’s Anectdote:

[3] – 11/16/2013 – Critiquing: Doctor accused of selling false hope to families (USA TODAY NEWS, NATION, Liz Szabo, USA TODAY):
[4] – 06/25/13 2:29 PM ET—By CNBC’s Dan Mangan @danpostman
[5] – 2007 – Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff


[16] – 1995 (4/20/1995) – Burzynski to Dr. Mario Sznol

This page is linked to:
Critiquing: Dr. Michael A. Friedman, Dr. Mark G. Malkin, Dr. Mario Sznol, Robert B. Lanman, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Public Health Service, Quality Assurance and Compliance Section, Regulatory Affairs Branch (RAB), Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP), Division of Cancer Treatment (DCT), National Cancer Center (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Stanislaw Burzynski: On the arrogance of ignorance about cancer and targeted therapies
[16] – 1995 (4/20/1995) – Burzynski to Dr. Mario Sznol
Mario Sznol, M.D., Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health

Dear Dr. Sznol,

Your letter of 4/3/1995

(copy attached)

does not provide adequate justification for the changes in the protocol for

“Phase II Study of Antineoplastons A10 and AS2-1 in Patients with Advanced
Recurrent Astrocytomas.”

Let me make perfectly clear that, as the discoverer and developer of antineoplastons and the individual with nearly 20 years clinical experience using them, it is my professional opinion that the drugs will not produce substantial benefit in such advanced patients

The current protocol has had success only in patients who have tumors not exceeding 5 cm in diameter and who do not have multiple tumors or leptomeningeal or systemic metastases

As the Senior Investigator of NCI requested, patients should have Karnofsky Performance Status of not lower than 70%

(letter attached)

As I have repeatedly informed you, it is exactly because of the current protocol’s failure to benefit advanced patients that we developed new and more aggressive protocols for such advanced tumors, for example, provides antineoplaston A10 in doses 3 times greater than that specified in the protocol currently being used

In order to make such dosing possible, we are using a much higher concentration of A10 — 300mg/mL instead of 80mg/mL

The dosing schedule being used for such advanced tumors is also quite different

Instead of injections of each antineoplaston every 30 minutes, patients receive a much greater amount every 4 hours

Pg. 2

The acceptance of very advanced brain tumor patients to the current protocol would be highly unethical because there is no realistic chance they will have a meaningful response

The list attached to your letter of 4/3/1995 (enclosed), proves my observation that patients who had tumors substantially larger than 5 cm do not respond well under the current protocol

There were only 2 such patients, with the largest tumor diameter corresponding to 5.5 and. 6.5 cm

Both had less than 50% decrease in the size of their tumors

According to the existing protocol, patients should have more than a 50% decrease in tumor size to be classified as responders

Please bear in mind that the point of this trial is not to prove once again that this protocol does not work in patients with very large tumors, multifocal tumors, and low Karnofsky scores

We have already established this fact

Moreover, the informed consent form as currently written falsely implies that the discoverer of antineoplastons believes such advanced patients may benefit substantially from the current protocol

In fact, I have specifically informed you on several occasions that I do not believe advanced patients will obtain substantial benefit

Please be forewarned that you may face legal liability resulting from these unethical misrepresentations

We are anxiously awaiting the complete data on the 1st 5 patients as promised in your letter of 4/3/1995

Based on the limited information received from Theradex on the 1st 7 cases, we have reason to believe that the protocol has been violated in every case

5 cases have been accepted in violation of inclusion criteria

Due to interruptions in the treatment schedule and the time necessary to escalate the dosage, one of these patients received less than 3 weeks of full dose treatment

Such duration of treatment was not sufficient to show the effectiveness of the therapy

Finally, 2 additional patients were removed from the study and said to have progression of disease when in fact no progression was documented

One of these patients, #4369975, underwent tumor resection 3 weeks after discontinuation of the treatment with antineoplastons

Microscopic examination of the tumor specimen confirmed absence of viable tumor cells

It is clear that what was classified as tumor progression corresponded to extensive necrosis or tumor death

What I thought was especially inexcusable and unethical is that the 30 year old patient #196370, who clearly did not have progression of the tumor, was removed from the study against the criteria for removal listed in the protocol

This patients died a few months later
I strongly believe that if the patient had continued the treatment under the protocol, his life would have been saved

Attached to this letter, you will find a list of

Pg. 3

violations of the protocol

Based on these violations, it is clear that the current investigators are unable to conduct this study under the current protocol

I hereby request that:

1) The National Cancer Institute immediately terminate the current investigators and appoint mew investigators at different medical institutions acceptable to Burzynski Research Institute

2) Patient accrual must cease until such investigators and institutions are appointed

Until you appoint the new investigators, I will provide free treatment and medical care under my supervision as long as necessary to the patients currently being treated under the protocol




Senator Joseph Biden
Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Diane Feinstein
Senator Tom Harkin
Senator Barbara Mikulski
Congressman Berkly Bedell
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi
Dr. Jan Buckner
Dr. Daniel Eskinazi
Dr. Michael Friedman
Dr. Jay Greenblatt
Mr. Richard Jaffe
Dr. Mark Malkin
Ms. Mary McCabe
Dr. Ralph Moss
Dr. David Parkinson
Ms. Dorothy Tisevich
Mr. Frank Wiewel

1995 (4/20/1995) – Burzynski to [14]
1995 (4/20/1995) – Burzynski to [15] (3 pgs.)
1995 (4/3/1995) – Dr. Mario Sznol to Burzynski