Prof Keith Scott-Mumby MD, MB
Best selling author of the Allergy Handbook
Dubbed “The Allergy Detective”
Her persistence and energy in tracking down the solutions she needed for her son Ben’s difficulties should be an inspiration to all parents.
Medical doctors seem to have an in-built resistance towards intelligent, educated patients or concerned, questioning parents of young, sick children. Somehow it seems to threaten them. Yet I have always felt it is a major aspect of a doctor’s role, to teach and inform, as well as merely treat. Indeed, the word doctor actually means teacher, not “healer”.
It is especially satisfying to me when someone I have helped to understand key health concepts has then taken it and run with it, in the way Melanie Gow has. Her persistence and energy in tracking down the solutions she needed for her son Ben’s difficulties should be an inspiration to all parents. Moreover, it should show doctors that patients want to be – need to be – involved and committed to problem solving.
As Melanie points out, having just one range of simplistic and poorly understood tools (drugs) is no more practicing scientific medicine than trying to cook every family meal with just a toaster.
Doctors must learn to think much more broadly about health issues than is customary. Thinking “outside the box” should not be looked upon as a symptom of flakiness or unstable radicalism, especially not when the box is so very narrow and confining. Rather it is a sign of willingness to explore, to discover, to embrace the new. New ways are refreshing and new ways may see deeper into the darkness.
For instance, it has long been an axiom of mine, that the disease is not the problem: disease is the result of the problem. Disease is Nature’s way of announcing in unequivocal terms that some basic precept of health is being violated. If that violation is correctly identified then Nature herself will work the cure. Drugs are rarely required and, almost by definition, give only palliative support, not a cure. In fact, doctors are so used to this they are rather cautious of the word “cure”.
Such a pity, since so many conditions are eminently treatable, if tackled the right way. Masking the symptoms with drugs will not help, but effective changes in the external environment, which includes diet, has shown time and time again to clear up an otherwise complex and distressing condition.
What’s great about this approach to health – and possibly why doctors feel so threatened – is that anybody can do it.
It does not take years of dissecting corpses and memorising complicated chemical formulas to make effective lifestyle changes and benefit from the immediate improvements.
It means more power to patients and their families and I say “Yes” to that. I have never understood why my colleagues would want it any other way. A patient kept in ignorance is forced to be dependent on the physician and I say that’s not healthy. I’d like to thank Melanie for writing her book and adding, in her way, to the fuller science of healing and healthcare. I’m sure it will liberate a lot of confused, troubled, mums and dads.