The shortcomings of modern medicine... and other musings By Dr Elizabeth Hughes MD
One of the biggest shortcomings of medicine as it is practiced today, is that no one gets to know their doctor. And — speaking from the other side of the stethoscope — doctors don’t really get to know their patients.
The 15 minute, rushed appointments of assembly line medicine prevents EVERYONE from developing a genuinely healing relationship. (And relationships are POWERFUL medicine. More to come on that subject in the future…)
One of my greatest joys in working with clients is that I get to really know each and every person. Their dreams, their disappointments, their proudest moments, their secret insecurities, even their favorite foods.
But you and I haven’t done that yet. (You can fix that right now and book a free call with me here.)
After all, you’ve only known me since you signed up to hear from me 3 days ago. So here’s a little about me...
I figured out I was destined to be a doctor when I was 13 years old. Five days after my 13th birthday, I broke my arm. It was incredibly scary and it hurt more than I ever imagined anything could hurt. To make things worse, I waited hours in the ER of the hospital closest to me — without getting any pain medication — only to be told that the doctor on call was at a different hospital across town. The ride across town was excruciating and by the time I got to the second hospital, I was in a full-fledged pain and almost blind with pain. But when the pediatric orthopedic specialist walked into the cubicle where I was waiting, something magical happened. He sat down, took my unbroken hand, looked me in the eye, and said “You’re going to be just fine,” with complete conviction.
The pain decreased substantially in a snap. Even before I got any pain medication. My panic was gone. And I felt in my gut that I was going to be just fine, just like he said.
At that moment, a voice in my head said to me — clear as day — “You’re going to do what he does. You’re going to make people feel better.”
At that moment, I gave up the other fantasy careers I had — architect, diplomat, Olympic swimmer — and focused exclusively on medicine. I found my path and I devoted every ounce of academic and personal energy I had to it.
And I was incredibly successful. I graduated in the top 10% of my class from both college and medical school, I did advanced training at world renowned hospitals, and I secured a faculty position teaching the next generation of physicians.
But it didn’t feel right. Something wasn’t adding up.
I had a growing suspicion there were crucial elements of the health equation which simply were left out of the standard medical curriculum. And that the conventional medical system, which I had taken as the scientifically verified truth, was actually increasing the amount of illness and creating a population of the chronically ill, forever dependent on medications.
My suspicions were confirmed when one of my patients had a complete and entirely unexpected recovery from an “incurable” illness, not with new medication or an advanced surgical technique, but simply with a change in belief.
This patient believed she was too old to recover. And she believed it because every doctor she’d seen told her exactly that. “You can’t heal as well as when you were young,” doctor after doctor said. “You’ll have to get used to it.”
Once she got her beliefs sorted out, it took just 3 weeks for this patient’s body to heal. All without medication.
My encounter with this patient lead me to a gut wrenching realization: I was part of the problem. I had told countless number of people that there was some reason why they couldn’t heal. I defined their illness as “chronic,” in effect dooming them to illness.
Even though I was doing everything “right” by conventional medical standards, I was getting everything wrong. I wasn’t being true to my original calling -- to make people feel better -- or to the Hippocratic oath
I swore, to do no harm.
I vowed to do things differently.
I wish I could tell you it was easy, like flicking a switch, but it wasn’t. It took me years of study, training and practice to deeply grasp the elements of true health.
And I keep looking, obsessively. Because even though I know a subject well, I am humble enough to know that I can’t know everything. In fact, the thing that keeps me awake at night is wondering how to improve my knowledge, so I can help you feel amazing, each and every day.
Alright! Enough philosophy. Here are a few fun tidbits:
• I live in Seattle with my two children (though one is at college during the school year) and two greyhounds.
• I don’t watch a lot of TV, but if I do, it’s probably sci-fi. I just finished binge watching Battlestar Galactica for the 3rd time.
• I’m obsessed with shoes, especially quirky ones like these (www.fluevog.com) but I’m happiest when I’m barefoot.
• I don’t drink coffee -- shocking for a someone who lives in Seattle -- though I used to be addicted. (The story of how and why I stopped is really interesting -- just ask if you want to know.)
• The craziest/stupidest thing I’ve ever done is climb an active volcano in sandals.
So that’s me.
Now what about you?
I’d love to know any or all of these things:
• How did you find Kaiho?
• What do you hope to find here?
• What keeps you awake at night?
• What’s your biggest “guilty pleasure” or secret indulgence? (Mine, other than quirky shoes, is 1980’s Madonna, sung at the top of my lungs. Totally makes the kids cringe.)
• Any questions for me — about what I do, finding the best shoes, or otherwise?
Comment and let me know. I’d be thrilled to hear back from you!