Wichita Patient Of Tulsa Cancer Clinic Left In 'Financial Ruin'

Thursday, July 11th 2013, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

It's been 2 1/2 months since a Tulsa cancer clinic was raided by federal agents.

The federal Food and Drug Administration shut down Camelot Cancer Care in April, and now many former patients are wondering what they should do and what happened to their money.

We traveled to Wichita, Kansas to talk with a couple who is worried they lost nearly $20,000.

"I'm frustrated. I'm very disturbed that I didn't go off my instincts," said cancer patient Margaret Hilger.

Margaret has been battling non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma since 2011. The Wichita, Kansas resident made her first trip to Camelot Cancer Care in March 2013, one month before federal agents closed it down. The FDA said Camelot was using a drug that's banned in the United States because it can cause cyanide poisoning.

4/29/2013 Related Story: Documents Show Undercover Agent Visited Tulsa's Camelot Cancer Care

Margaret was looking for a natural cure for her cancer and was optimistic that Camelot could help. But when she met the clinic's owner, Maureen Long, and made a visit to its office in south Tulsa she was quite surprised.

"It was pretty plain-Jane. It didn't seem medical, at all," Margaret said.

But Margaret and her husband decided to go ahead.

They were told 20 days of treatment would cost $16,830, and half of that needed to come up front.

The Hilgers said, at first, Maureen Long told them not to worry about the money, that it would be taken care of, because Margaret needed to begin her therapy right away.

But Margaret's husband said he got the surprise of his life when he told Maureen Long he was having trouble coming up with the $8,000.

"I went to the clinic and I seen her and I took one of the worst tongue lashings I've ever had," Steve Hilger said. "Because the money wasn't there."

4/25/2013 Related Story: Owner Of Tulsa's Camelot Cancer Care Has Complicated Past

The Hilgers eventually borrowed the money from family and friends and paid the full amount.

Court records show the FDA has seized more than $125,000 from the Camelot Trust and are waiting on a judge's order of forfeiture.

Maureen Long declined to speak on camera, but she said it's the FDA who stole her patients' money, and if it were up to her she'd give that money back right away.

The Hilgers are hopeful, but they don't expect anything to happen.

The Hilgers said the experience has left them "literally broke" and in "financial ruin." They don't know if Long's treatment would have worked, but they say her behavior was extremely hard to take.

"One word: heartless. Just heartless," Margaret said.

Margaret Hilger said her cancer has gotten worse in the last few months.

The couple said Maureen Long has talked to them since being shut down. She wanted to know if they've talked to the FDA and she encouraged them to do another session of treatment.

4/26/2013 Related Story: Pennsylvania Couple In Limbo After Tulsa Cancer Clinic Shut Down