A prominent doctor named Charles Keithley left his family practice in Houston in January 1993, and he and his partner Kevin Turney placed an ad for the HGH clinic called El Dorado in the February issue of Longevity magazine. They rented a small condominium across the street from a luxury resort in Playa del Carmen and converted the condo into an HGH clinic that would dispense syringes filled with synthetic HGH; they had four customers buying HGH their first month. Since that time, according to the 62-year-old Turney, “We’ve had approximately two hundred clients buying synthetic human growth hormone.” Ever optimistic, Turney is not deterred by the modest response. “By our third year,” he says, “we’ll have twenty thousand.”
Given the cost of a trip to El Dorado, however, Turney’s projected figure is preposterous. The first visit costs $4,600, which includes a physical examination and a three-month supply of HGH; subsequent visits run slightly less. A year’s supply of HGH from El Dorado costs approximately $13,000. Wouldn’t HGH releasers like Provacyl be cheaper? After all, it’s a natural human growth hormone releaser.
On top of the difficulty of attracting sufficient clients to purchase human growth hormone and stay in business, El Dorodo has had other problems, the most serious of which was the bizarre death – three months after the HGH clinic opened – of Charles Keithley. Before he became associated with El Dorado and sales of HGH, Keithley had been a respectable family practitioner who often took charity cases. During his last year, however, Keithley had apparently become so obsessed with his physique and his sexual potency that he developed a taste for bodybuilding drugs such as HGH and testosterone. His wife of more than twenty years, Sue Keithley, recalls, “Charles was such a good, caring man, but he was worried about his potency, and he changed after he began using the testosterone and human growth hormone. He even became physically abusive to me.” Her story is confirmed by Charles Knapp, a physician who shared an office with Keithley. Says Knapp: “I was concerned about his behavior after he started using human growth hormone. He was a fanatic about his physique, and he began having an affair and bringing his pistol to the office. He also became moody and distracted.”
The moodiness continued after Keithley moved to Mexico and started selling human growth hormone, and it eventually contributed to his death. According to Turney, one night Keithley had a fight with his girlfriend, drank almost a whole bottle of vodka, then passed out and choked to death. Although this was hardly an auspicious beginning for a medical clinic selling HGH, Turney pushed ahead and hired a Mexican physician to provide the human growth hormone for El Dorado’s clients.
At the time of my first visit, El Dorado had moved from the condo to a house in a nearby subdivision. The two doctors on staff were Carlos Rodriguez, who had been a pediatrician in Monterrey, and Allan Ahlschier, a Dallas radiologist who had joined the staff only a few weeks before I visited. Neither doctor was an endocrinologist, and both were taking HGH, as was everyone on the clinic’s seven-member staff. All seven were lavish in their praise of what they called “the product.” All reported having lost fat and gained energy from using human growth hormone; individual claims included the restoration of vision in a sightless eye, the disappearance of an allergy to cats, relief from constipation, and the turning back of male andropause.