WASHINGTON—A two-year investigation conducted in five major cities has exposed a widespread campaign by the formidable Rest and Fluids industry to infiltrate thousands of doctors' offices and dictate how they treat minor illnesses.
The investigation—the full details of which will be disclosed in this newspaper over the coming months—documented thousands of instances in which sick patients were repeatedly instructed, often verbatim, to "lie down and drink plenty of liquids." This treatment, recommended a staggering 4 out of 5 times on average, was in each case prescribed by a physician known to have recently enjoyed a golf vacation courtesy of Big Rest and Fluids.
"You have no idea how deep this goes," said Dr. X, a physician who wished to remain anonymous. "They've got everyone, from the pediatricians and family doctors, right on down to the school nurses. We've had the cure for the common cold for nearly 40 years, but it's still 'rest and fluids, rest and fluids.' Why? Because these guys are getting paid through the nose, that's why."
"The complimentary king-sized beds, the downy soft comforters, the absolutely ravishing women," Dr. X continued. "It's a sick, sick world."
The American Rest and Fluids industry first rose to prominence during the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918, when there existed only meager competition from quarantines and prayer. After gaining influence during the '20s and '30s, mainly through mob connections and a few corrupt U.S. senators, R&F; was again buoyed in 1947 following the introduction of employee sick days.
What began as a small-scale racket has today grown into a multinational organization, with billions of dollars devoted each year to pushing its pro-napping, broth-focused agenda.
"At this point, it may be impossible to unseat the power Rest and Fluids has over the American health system," patients rights activist Oren Michem said. "With their promises of free La-Z-Boy chairs and high-priced hotel rooms, it's no wonder they've cornered the cold market. Sure, they never come out and ask, 'Can Rest and Fluids count on your loyalty?' But the intention is obvious."
"It took my son nearly a week to stop sneezing and coughing," Michem added. "Who's to say a regimen of strenuous exercise and fasting wouldn't have helped him more?"
To date, no doctors have been willing to testify against these so-called Rest and Fluids "fat cats" for fear it would destroy their careers. In fact, a number of physicians have already been blackballed for prescribing echinacea and other over-the-counter remedies.
Worse yet, some fear violent retribution for not toeing the Rest and Fluids line. In 1997, four Chicago doctors who were known to prescribe cough syrup were found dead at the bottom of a pool of NyQuil. Officially, these deaths were blamed on the less-powerful Natural Causes industry, but many still believe the message delivered that day was clear.
Representatives of Rest and Fluids have refused to comment on the allegations.
"My clients have nothing to say about this or any other litigation involving R&F;," said Robert Marconi, one of the industry's legion of high-paid defense attorneys. "Rest and Fluids has done nothing wrong and will fight these charges for as long as it takes. They can't prove a thing!"
With a recent $12.3 million donation to several prominent Washington bureaucrats, Rest and Fluids will most likely continue its stranglehold for decades to come. That is, unless one young and energetic nurse-practitioner from Louisiana has his say.
This newspaper has recently learned that whistle-blower Nathan Bellows has collected a mountain of evidence outlining years of blackmail and corruption on the part of R&F.; Evidence, Bellows said, he plans to leak to 12 major media outlets later this week.
Bellows lives at 138 Juniper St., Apt. 3H, Folsom, LA, 70437. He goes jogging every morning around the nearby reservoir and is always alone.