The Patient Who Started It All
14 years ago, I made a bold decision to do something conventional medicine wasn’t doing. Little did I know it would change my professional life forever. Back then, I never thought that one day I would work to reverse the symptoms of neuropathy (the burning, tingling, numbness and pain many diabetic and non-diabetics suffer with).
That all changed one day when I met this patient. He was diabetic, and hadn’t felt the bottom of his feet in 20 years. I was training under a John Hopkins plastic surgeon, Dr. Lee Dellon, and he had performed surgery on the patient four days earlier. Now here he was for his follow-up appointment. The surgeon stroked the bottom of the patient’s foot, and this man who came in so stoic began to laugh like a child and then the tears started flowing down his face. That moment started my journey. I knew right then and there that I wanted to prove to the medical world that the symptoms of neuropathy could be reversed, and that patients didn’t have to suffer and live on medication.
How the Research Started
It was a slow process to adopt Dr. Dellon’s ideas into my practice. Soon after my training, I helped form an organization with other colleagues called the Association of Extremity Surgeons. In this process, my passion grew for what I was doing and how it was transforming people’s lives. The drive to do research came to me out of frustration. I was frustrated because I wanted patients and doctors to know neuropathy can be reversible, and I had to prove it.
Gradually, research became a part of the practice. I was warned that research is very hard, and I soon discovered that it was. I had to form a team to support the vision. The process to do this started several years ago and the research continued to grow.
Research On Diabetic Neuropathy
Too many people are suffering from the symptoms of neuropathy, and too many diabetics have amputations and are at risk of dying because of the loss of their limbs. Because of this belief, we completed a study on intraoperative nerve monitoring in diabetics with severe neuropathy. No one had ever recorded and published a paper to prove that nerve function can rapidly be improved when tight nerve tunnels in diabetics are opened (decompressed).
The study objectively proves what I watched the patient I mentioned earlier experience. Our testing shows that the nerve function improves up to 300 percent within minutes during surgery. And this defies the conventional medicine approach. This study was ground breaking, and my hope is that along with other studies that have been and will be published, the thoughts of the medical world and the public will begin to shift.
Winning The Jules Tinel Award
Recently, I attended the annual meeting for the Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons. This organization includes: podiatrists, plastic surgeons, neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons who all share a common goal of reversing nerve pain in the extremities. At the meeting, I was honored to receive the Jules Tinel award for the scientific advancement of knowledge regarding the human peripheral nervous system. Other doctors to have received this award are: Dr. Lee Dellon from John Hopkins who introduced the concept of nerve decompression for neuropathy, Dr. Maria Seminow from the Cleveland Clinic, the first American doctor to do a face transplant, and Dr. Ivan Ducic of Georgetown Medical School, the first doctor to surgically reverse severe headaches.
We all appreciate recognition, but it’s very special when it’s coming from your peers. I’m grateful to have received this award, and grateful for all the support given to me by my colleagues and the team that helps me, and my wife who has always understood and supported me.
And I’m especially grateful to all the patients who have trusted in me and taught me to be grateful for the ability to offer hope where there once was none.
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