TAMPA, Fla. — TAMPA, Fla. — Four years after Tammy Rivero first began her legal fight against the Lung Institute, the 62-year-old has reason to claim victory, albeit a small one.
“I was excited. I want to relax and accomplish something for others,” she told us during a zoom interview from her home in North Carolina.
Rivero was responding to an order by a Hillsborough County Judge who recently certified her class action lawsuit against the Lung Institute, LLC in Tampa. The clinic offers stem cell therapy for incurable lung diseases and has, in the past, touted itself online as an “innovative leader of regenerative medicine.” The class action certification now opens the door for potentially hundreds of former patients who also believe they were misled about treatments they received at the clinic.
Several years ago, Rivero contacted the clinic in hopes of receiving treatment for several lung diseases. Rivero, who was a smoker, has been diagnosed with a number of lung diseases including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), black lungs and emphysema. She traveled down to Tampa for three days in 2014 for $7,500 in stem cell therapy treatments, she said, didn’t work.
“They said I would be able to regenerate my lungs and be able to breathe without oxygen,” she said.
After several weeks, Rivero said she still didn’t feel any relief.
“I started to get upset that someone would just take my money as sick as I