Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight
I am a practicing, licensed MD and DC in Chicago. It saddened me that after an excellent education at National College of Chiropractic (1994), I had to seek a second degree to become an effective primary care doctor.
Upon graduation, I was not prepared for the self-destructiveness of our own profession. My wife and I founded a health ministry through our church in an impoverished city neighborhood. The ethnic community in this neighborhood has an adult diabetes rate of over 21 percent and childhood obesity in excess of 50 percent. It is very common for a typical primary care patient to be wheelchair-bound, limbs lost to multiple "sausage" surgeries. Other primary care patients spend three days a week tied to a dialysis machine, and still others are simply bed-bound due to the disease processes that are destroying their bodies and communities.
I recently had the opportunity to join two other chiropractors in a more middle-class neighborhood. It is here that I have seen most clearly where our profession has fallen short. The joy I have when I am able to take a patient who comes in on astronomical doses of insulin (the typical medical way of chasing sugars) and slash their dose by 50-100 percent is the reason I became a doctor. As sugars normalize and insulin is minimized (following extensive diet, exercise and chiropractic recommendations), the patient loses weight, renal function stabilizes and the threat of removing limbs becomes more remote.
Our society today needs chiropractic more than ever. Once a patient's activity is jeopardized, the metabolic cliff they fall off of often ends careers, families and lives. I am now seeing primary care patients in their 20s with the metabolic derangements of a diseased 70-year-old. I seriously doubt that if Harvey Lillard had been a 300-pound diabetic on dialysis, he would have heard anything D.D. Palmer said to him after his adjustment.
Ladies and gentleman, we live in different times. Disease has evolved, but we haven't (nurses have; just ask any APN). I am asked if I became a medical doctor to prescribe medications. I became a medical doctor to take people off (or at least minimize) medication. I had to go back to school because my patients had diseases rarely seen in D.D. Palmer's time. Chiropractors have the right approach to health; they (we) are just choosing to bring a knife to a gunfight.
Thomas Albert, MD, DC
The Spirit of the Season
Just a note about how wonderful Mr. Petersen's recent article was – and how timely! ["A Very Chiropractic Thanksgiving," by DC Publisher / President Donald Petersen Jr., published in the Nov. 4, 2012 issue.] Chiropractors want to attend practice-building seminars so they can live in a fancy house and join the country club, but how about so they can help someone less fortunate? They need to go to Bangladesh for a month and then come back and kiss the ground here. So thank you, Mr. Petersen; I was very touched by your article.
Philip Lawrence, DC