Binyamin Rothstein, D.O.
The science of medicine and the art of healing

For a physician to learn how to truly heal patients, modern western medicine, especially osteopathic medicine, is an excellent beginning.  It provides the student with a solid understanding of the science of medicine; anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathophysiology, endocrinology, etc.  Following this intensive training, the true physician is then prepared to begin his journey into the wonderful and vast universe of healing.

As wonderful and enlightening as it is, this journey into the healing arts is not without its risks.  In fact it is wrought with danger, as it entails venturing beyond the tight and secure box of western medicine to explore the forbidden areas of healing, to name a few: nutrition, supplements, herbs, detoxification, oxidative therapies, homeopathy, mind-body and energy healing.  It also means looking at safe and effective therapies that have been banned by the bastions of modern medical dogma, such as: chelation, bio-identical hormone therapies, alternative cancer treatments, ultra-violet blood irradiation, colchicine and prolotherapy.  Being an intellectually honest physician, the healer must objectively examine medical dogma to see what is in his patients’ best interest and what is unnecessary and possibly harmful.

While it may seem obvious to the patient that the physician should always do what is in the patient’s best interest without regard to financial gain, ego or peer pressure, however, when presented with a patient for whom traditional medicine is not the best option the compassionate physician faces a real challenge.  To fly in the face of “standard of care” medicine means risking official reprimand, ostracism or even worse, the loss of the privilege to practice medicine.  On the other hand, to follow the standard of care creates a moral dilemma as it could mean treating the patient sub-optimally, maybe even to their detriment, but it is certainly safer for the physician. 

Here are a few real examples of dilemmas: A patient presents with pain shooting down his right arm with weakness for over a month.  It was clear that it was due to a muscle spasm in his neck pinching a nerve that shoots pain down the arm, commonly called thoracic outlet syndrome.  The standard of care is to order a battery of tests costing thousands of dollars (some of which are quite painful such as the EMG aka electromyelogram) but the bottom line is that in his case it wouldn’t change the treatment.  What would you want done to you if you were the patient? 

Imagine that you are suffering from chronic pain.  You have been to all kinds of doctors none of whom could offer you any relief aside from narcotics and or anti-inflammatories.  You have tried a variety of therapies without relief.  Your doctor could relieve your chronic pain with some alternative therapies including intravenous vitamins and specialized injections, but that approach is unconventional and outside the standard of care of medicine.  What would you want, to continue to suffer with the same old care or to receive a safe and effective treatment that is non-standard?  What if you were the compassionate physician, what would you do?  Continue with the same old treatment or reach outside the box of medical practices to try to find the best way possible to relieve your patient’s misery, knowing full well that there may be consequences for your choice?

Such is my story, caught between my patient’s needs and the medical system that fails in its ability to provide the appropriate care for my patient.  I opted to treat my patients in their best interest, and often times that meant utilizing alternative medicine.  This resulted in 2 consequences; the first is that the patients did very well, thank G-d; the second consequence is that certain colleagues and the Maryland medical board disapproved of the methods I used to treat my patients, regardless of the fact that the traditional route had failed them and that under my care they had all improved.  And so began the next journey in my medical career, fighting a biased system.  For the details of the process, read what Judge Sander Goldberg wrote in a letter to the Governor of the State of Maryland.  click here

 

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