An Integrated medicine saved my wife

I refer to the letter by Prof Dr Anantha Krishnan Health is the rule, disease the perception and the letter by MMA representative’s to the Ministry of Health Standing Committee on Traditional and Complementary Medicine Dr Lee Yan San entitled Do what you’re trained for which appeared in the New Straits Times.

First of all, let me define alternative, complementary and integrated medicine. Alternative medicine is any form of practice that is outside the realm of conventional medicine. If alternative medicine is used along with or in addition to conventional medicine, it is referred to as “complementary Medicine” as the two practices complements each other.

Integrated medicine (or integrative medicine as it is referred to in the US) is practicing medicine in a way that selectively incorporates elements of complementary and alternative medicine into comprehensive treatment plan alongside solidly orthodox methods of diagnosis and treatment.

I was once a very staunch allopathic doctor who rejected any form of complementary medicine until in 1991 when my wife suffered a massive heart attack and was admitted to the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur.

She requried 10 by-pass grafts but by 1996 all her native arteries and grafts were 100 percent leaving only her left internal mamamary artery graft which was patent but kinked. A second by-pass operation was not recommended due to the high risk. So we went to US and found out about integrated medicine. I went for a three-year training stint and passed the series of examination at the American College for Advancement in Medicine.

My wife has been treated by integrated medicine since 1996 and, to this day, with the will of God, she has been living with no chest pains for more than nine years. I have applied this treatment to 5,000 patients (with the permission of the Ministry of Health) and many have escaped by-pass surgery and limb amputation. Many cancer patients, having been given ‘no hope’ by oncologists are also now surviving and living a pain free normal life.

If I would have ignored integrated medicine and followed only ‘Do what you are trained’ my wife and my patients might not be alive today. Now 69 years old and practicing for 44 years in medicine, I must admit that our allopathic medicine has its limitations. Double blind control studies are sometimes flawed, corrupted, unreliable, and dangerous – the Vioxx episode, for example.

I am very reluctant to use new medicines. I usually wait for many months and hear from other practitioners first before I start using these newly-launched drugs. I am very careful with the integrated medicine approach as well and apply it to myself, my family and my patients only after it has been proven safe and effective. All the medicines used are legally available in Malaysia. No casualties, no death on the table, no complaints – just an increase in health plus quality of life. So, why are the results not seen as proof that there is validity to this approach?. After all, isn’t our oath to treat our patients to health and well-being?

Things are changing as time goes on. We must accept it. There should not be pride, hard feelings or jealousy. All doctors must be encouraged to learn and do R & D (research and development) to heal their patients. Opponents and critics should study carefully before they comment and find fault with integrated medical practitioners who are trained, qualified and best able to judge what may be best for their patients in providing healing without causing any harm.

With due respect, Dr Lee Yan San is not a practitioner of or has he any experience in integrated medicine, so it would seem unqualified for him to comment on it. Also, to lump these doctors together with those providing cosmetic and elective surgeries is unjust. To be fair, experienced integrated medicine practitioners should represent the approach in the standing committees of the Health Ministry to prevent biasing and raise awareness.

If I had taken the advice ‘Do what you’re trained for’ only and never sought out integrated medicine, what would have happened to my wife and my many patients? Who wants to take the responsibility for the consequences of their health?

Finally, if the media is interested in giving a fair and balanced report on the matter, there are many patients to be interviewed and I welcome the chance to discuss any questions or studies that show integrated medicine does provide an advanced approach to health and patient care.

Where are the facts supporting statements and innuendos to the contrary? As a doctor practicing medicine for so many years, I am not the guy at the dinner telling stories. I am a highly qualified physician that has taken health care past the norm in order to create a higher level of health and well-being for my patients.

It is irresponsible for anyone in the medical community to comment unless they take the time to learn the facts and present them in truthful manner. We should always keep in the mind the ones who will ultimately benefit – our patients.