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Fire Your Doctor

Fire Your Doctor


I FIRED MY FIRST DOCTOR when I was fifteen. I was away at school and experiencing some anxiety symptoms. Without hesitation and without explanation, the school physician gave me a little white envelope containing half a dozen little green capsules. Before leaving the infirmary, I took two of them, as directed.


By the time I got to the campus dining hall, I was higher than a kite. I still remember walking over to the table by the window where my roommate and best friend, Dean, always sat. As I approached, he looked at me quizzically. Me, I just smiled. And I mean all I did was smile. Everything was absolutely, positively fine; there are no worries when you are as heavily doped up as I was. Of course I could do nothing but smile in that state. I did not care if I ate and I do not remember if I did; I had no interest in schoolwork, conversation, or anything else, either. Those little green capsules turned out to contain a very powerful tranquilizer.


It was odd, really, for the year was 1970, and seemingly every student I knew (except Dean and me) was perpetually in search of any way at all to purchase the kind of high I had just received, legally, entirely paid for by health insurance, and dispensed from the wise hands of the good ol' school doc.


I never took a second dose of that tranquilizer. Maybe this is because I was a straight-laced good boy. Maybe. More likely, though, the real reason was because I wanted a healthy life. This was a major realization, a truly big step: I realized that the doctor's treatment was seriously amiss. I never went back to the infirmary.


Firing a doctor need not assume the conventional image of a pink slip and a bootprint on the keester. Rather, to fire your doctor means to not need him, to outgrow her, to decide that the doctor's information is incomplete or wrong, and to determine his skill to be insufficient to bet your life on.


To fire your doctor is to hire yourself as your chief physician.


You probably think you are not up to the job. After all, who are you? You didn't go to medical school. That's true, of course. Neither did I. But consider what the limitations of "medicine" are. Drugs and surgical treatments have always been the focus of medical school. Any physician will confirm that, even today, the rest of the curriculum runs far, far behind. Ask your doctor how many courses in clinical nutrition she has completed. Ask your doctor how many hours of homeopathic medicine, herbal medicine, and orthomolecular medicine he has logged. You are likely to find that those "medicines" aren't even counted worthy of time in the medical school syllabus.

You probably think that you are not up to the job. After all, who are you? You didn’t go to medical school. That’s true, of course. But consider what the limitations of “medicine” are. Drug and surgical treatment have always been the focus of medical school. Any physician will confirm that, even today, the rest of the curriculum runs far, far behind. Ask your doctor how many courses in clinical nutrition she/he has completed. Ask your doctor how many hours of homeopathic medicine, herbal medicine and orthomolecular (megavitamin) medicine s/he has had. You are likely to find that those “medicines” aren’t even counted worthy of time in the medical school syllabus.

Big mistake. Homeopathy has been successfully practiced by physicians the world over for 200 years. Homeopaths were giving tiny, non-toxic amounts of natural substances to effect a cure while regular doctors were drugging people to a premature death with stiff quantities of arsenic and mercury. Herbal medicine goes back for centuries, when practitioners (mostly women) used plants to heal instead of taking blood by the quart from the arms of anybody unfortunate to come within the reach of a medical doctor’s lancet. If anything, drug-and-cut “medicine” is an alternative to these natural disciplines. . .  and not a very good alternative at that.

And megavitamin (orthomolecular) medicine? Therapeutic nutrition has tens of thousands of references to support it. I have over 3,000 at my website alone. (References) Can all of those successful vitamin-study authors, all those researchers and physicians, be stupider than the reporter that you have heard say that “vitamins may be dangerous and just give you expensive urine”?

Of course not. And far-thinking doctors are beginning to come around to what they were initially taught, and then taught to forget: vis medicatrix naturae: the Healing Power of Nature. They have been led back to this timeless principle by their patients, the majority of which see a natural-health practitioner in a given year. The market favors success, and savvy doctors can see the handwriting on the wall.

Now the medicos are trying to learn “natural health,” which they want to call “complementary medicine” to keep it in their shop. Monopolistic concerns aside, we should focus on this point: your doctor probably doesn’t know any more about natural healing than you do and is likely to know a good deal less.

It is a fair race when all parties start at the same time and place. You can learn whatever your doctor learns, just as fast and just as well.  You even have several advantages:


First, you have The Home Team Advantage. Your body is better known to you than Yankee Stadium was to Babe Ruth. You live inside you every minute of every day. You can better monitor and adjust your needs yourself than anyone else.


Second, you only have to learn what you and your family specifically need to know. You have to study up on your own particular health problems, but you do not have to spend time learning it all for everyone. This makes you a specialist in the same time it will make your new study-buddy doctor a poor generalist.


Thirdly, you have the personal, altruistic advantage: you are doing this for your family. Unlike the doctor, you are working for love and for life, not for money. All three are very powerful motivation to learn, but the first two enjoy the full support of Nature. Together, these make one tough starting lineup. This is a very powerful, healthy combination, and it will serve you well.


Whenever you do consult a physician, remember that your doctor works for you and not the other way around. It is your body. You run the show; your doctor is your subcontractor.


In order for this to work, you need to be on an equal footing with your physician. This is where a lot of people balk and are more than willing to sit down, shut up, and behave. To be on a level playing field with your doctor, first you need to read. Knowledge is power. Read like mad about your condition and the alternatives available for it. Search the library and search the Internet, and do not rest until you have the references to back

yourself up.


Next, you need to have a workable physician. If your doctor is not providing you with the care you want, there are two possibilities. One: you have a miscommunication, meaning you have not made it sufficiently clear to your doctor what you do in fact want. Two: you have a disagreement, meaning you have made it clear all right, and the physician is not cooperating with you.


Both of these problems are common, though it is far easier to clear up a miscommunication than a disagreement. I am not saying that you should jettison every doctor that does not knuckle under, but you simply must have a baseline agreement, or any attempts to share information will be futile.


Even polite, personable doctors can still be very paternalistic, sweetly telling you to leave the complicated stuff to them. Hogwash. I would not accept that phrase from a mechanic, plumber, or politician. Neither should you, and in this case your life depends on it. Pleasant office or bedside manner is no substitute for thoroughness.


Do not accept vagueness, either. Nail down a deal, and get your doctor to clearly and unequivocally state his or her acceptance of your wishes. If you cannot get such a negotiated agreement, you need to ask yourself, "Exactly what kind of relationship do I have with this person?"


If it is not a good relationship, then fire your doctor.


(For information and references on the subject of your choice, please use the “Search” box at the DoctorYourself website’s Main Page.)

Copyright C 2005 and prior years Andrew W. Saul.

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


AN IMPORTANT NOTE:  This page is not in any way offered as prescription, diagnosis nor treatment for any disease, illness, infirmity or physical condition.  Any form of self-treatment or alternative health program necessarily must involve an individual's acceptance of some risk, and no one should assume otherwise.  Persons needing medical care should obtain it from a physician.  Consult your doctor before making any health decision. 

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