Each holiday season I become more introspective. Recently, I counted my blessings and I realized how fortunate I am to have a great doctor. Feeling well is one of the best gifts in life.
My story is about one man who has made it his mission to help others. He’s brought over 10,000 babies into this world during his career. His name is Dr. Douglas Hall. Although 70 years old, he looks 50 and has the energy of a 30 something. I imagine it’s because he has a really good physician… himself. He will laugh out loud when he reads this, but allow me to digress.
Hall is what I call “good people” and we have these wonderful souls all over the world. Doctors who take care of strangers as they wish to be treated themselves. It’s a good message this holiday season: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
I have met many physicians in my life and while I’m grateful for their expertise and attempts to heal the ills of humanity, I’ve noticed that most are an overly stressed and busy lot. Too many confine their education to drug company-sponsored seminars only. Most finish studying once they have that coveted medical diploma in hand. Very few ever review clinical trials as if your life depends on it. News flash, it does!
Being a functional medicine practitioner, Dr. Hall orders unique tests to find out exactly what is wrong and uses dietary supplements as part of his protocol. Sometimes medications are needed, but you are not reduced to a disease requiring a prescription for the drug of the month. Having shadowed him, I know it would be easier to hand out prescriptions all day rather than explain your nutrient deficiency and offer high quality supplements which correct it. Sometimes, he runs late, but that’s because he’s busy explaining (with powerpoint slides) what needs to change in order for you to get well. Is it an iron-deficiency? Mercury overload? Estrogen dominance? Testosterone deficiency? Gluten allergy? Parasites? Candida overgrowth? These are common misdiagnosed conditions that cause terrible symptoms. I’ve often seen him do a fist pump like a champ in his hallway because he was so excited to have made an important discovery for a sick patient. And when was the last time your doctor high-fived you over your newest blood work? I got one when my vitamin D levels normalized.
By Dr. Hall’s age, most physicians retire. I asked him why still practices, and pores over medical studies like this. “Suzy,” he emphatically replied, “If I help even one patient today by learning something new, then I have done my job.” So serious is he, that he wakes at 4 am every morning to review new studies before opening the clinic. To some, ignorance may be bliss, but if you are a physician, it’s downright dangerous. I hope you feel inspired this Christmas to give yourself the gift of health, by finding a local physician who stays current and really cares about you.
If you want to find your dream doctor, try the following websites which are organizations devoted to educating medical doctors about holistic treatment protocols, herbal alternatives, vitamins and minerals, and other integrative or functional medicine approaches. I personally belong to the first three and this is where I receive the bulk of my education. Practitioners can join to become part of these organizations, and consumers can go to the website to simply “Find a Physician” by putting in your zip code.
The Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM)
American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M)
American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM)
Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine (AARM)