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Chris Magryta: Find a doctor willing to search for the truth

Physicians have long had a lock on knowledge and power in the healthcare environment.

For good and for bad, this era is ending with the result being more transparency for the willing patient.

I grew up in the medical world of “we are great.” I drank the koolaid and believed in my impressive knowledge base and infallible teachings.

Then I met my wife! The challenge was on. I hate being wrong. She is a gifted learner of all things nutritional and disease oriented. I was a mental midget in this arena. I fought impressive battles with inferior knowledge and insane pride and desire. She crushed me. Years of losing forced me to face the facts that I was not trained well in many arenas — including nutrition.

Being the type A personality driven person that I am, I went on to learn more and more from her, ultimately pursuing the IM fellowship in Arizona. My eyes were opened to a new world where prevention is the first belief and searching for the truth is the most important aspect of medicine.

Why am I bringing this up, you ask?

Well, on my way to work one Saturday this month, I caught a People’s Pharmacy episode about a physician, Dr. Spector, that was consistently misdiagnosed because of the established medical belief in “If it is not proven, it does not exist.” He suffered from Lyme disease that ultimately destroyed his heart. What a tragic story!

His story reminded me of my training and the lack of exploratory nature of medicine outside of the dogma of the day. The study of medicine is fluid and dynamic. It should not be rigid nor dogmatic.

Fast forward to the internet era. We have access to unprecedented volumes of thought leaders and game changers at the research bench and the bedside.

I think of Dr. Weil fighting his Harvard colleagues or Jeffrey Bland trailblazing the theories of the Leaky Gut while being ridiculed.

Both of these men have since been vindicated, and are now leaders in modern functional/ integrative/ lifestyle medicine.

What this all boils down to for Dr. Spector and many others is that when you don’t feel like your provider can hear you, change them.

Research the topic yourself and come in ready to talk about your health.

I love to see a parent come in educated and motivated to change and search for the truth. I always admit that I do not know it all (except to my wife), but I will hunt for the answers with you on the tricky cases. We are better as a team.

I find that many mothers have time and desire to access reams of data that I often cannot, with my patient load. Together we go through it and find answers and fix problems. This sounds scarily like the physician of old that listened and worked with you.

We are not gods and we are fallible. Medicine is unbelievably complicated now. The good providers of care never stop learning. You will find them reading even as they are retiring. I have a partner, Dr. Koontz, who reads daily when most of his contemporaries have hung up their stethoscope. I admire him. I hope he never quits.

The good providers want to work with you and for your children’s health. Find them, learn with them — and above all, challenge them to be great. Your child is worth it.

Chris Magryta is a practicing Salisbury physician.

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