-Written by Dr. Ian Hollaman
As a third time father I could hardly wait to meet Peter and hear his coos and feel his warm body against mine. I also couldn’t wait to get my wife back because she suffers terribly with pregnancy (sorry honey)! Peter was born Wednesday, September 17th at 6:21PM at home after 22 hours of labor, finishing by a water birth assisted by two amazing mid wives.
Unfortunately Peter had respiratory distress, or apnea where he turned blue, and we provided assistance to his breathing momentarily. He recovered quickly and everything seemed quite normal until Friday evening he became apnic again and we had to transport to Boulder Community Hospital.
This is where it gets interesting.
Many of my clients know my views on western medicine and the very fact of looking at a hospital, let alone going into one with a new-born gets my hackles up. But, with a blue baby on my hands we had no choice but to use medical emergency services to save Peter’s life. After catheterizing and hooking him up to life support we were transported to the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and began talking with the nurse practitioners (Thank God for the nurses!). It seemed that the only explanation to them was an infection through the unbilicus because it was swollen and red. His labs came back “normal” (I have no idea how they formulated their statistical deviations) and we were immediately pressured to begin anti-biotics. Retrospectively I’ve looked at the labs and his neutrophils and monocytes were mildly elevated which if I was informed of this I would not have pressured them so much on their decision to treat empirically. Now trust me, I understand why and I understood the gravity of that situation but I specifically asked the doctor “What is on your differential list”? Meaning, what are the specific conditions that could cause this and his answer was “there is no differential”, and “it is an infection”.
This may be well and true but doctors, including myself are taught to list potential scenarios and determine why each of those potential scenarios fit, or don’t fit to give the best diagnosis and treatment to the patient. In fact, after I asked him that question he began to use scare tactics like “This will kill your child” and “We have to act now” to coerce us into his treatment plan. What makes this scenario worse is with high stress and the bed- side manner of a salamander the decision making process becomes derailed and the patient is left feeling isolated and not important! Additionally, the doctor contacted physicians at Children’s Hospital in Denver to determine his treatment plan, creating doubt in our minds of his recommendations. So, with little choices to make, we began to treat Peter with high dose IV antibiotics and I began to supplement mom and child to boost their natural ability to fight infection and cope with stress.
I think one of the most troubling things in medicine is a lack of appreciation for evidence-based medicine. Meaning with my clients, I try to use my clinical preferences (1/3), the best available medical research (1/3) and the client’s preferences (1/3). So, as a future nugget for your medical interactions you know you have a good doctor when they appreciate your questions and help formulate your treatment plan based on your treatment preferences!
Not surprisingly when a nurse saw my bottle of Bio-D-mulsion forte she asked, “What is that”? I told her what it was and she immediately clipped “That has to be approved by the pharmacy and the physician before you can use it”, and “anything must go through this process”! It’s so sad that the medical community is so suspicious and uneducated about supportive ways to improve patient’s health. Rather than simply using medications to kill pathogens, wouldn’t it be great to conjunctively use nutritional support like vit. D and probiotics to improve body function and health? Not only does vitamin D decrease pediatric incidence of type I diabetes by 78% if given at 2,000IU/day for the first 8 months,vitamin D also naturally increased the production of endogenous anti-bacterial compounds called beta-defensins and cathelicidins that support the immune system. I also immediately put Karen and Peter on Saccharomyces Boulardii, a kind of beneficial yeast which has shown to decrease secondary infections post anti-biotic usage and boost the immune systems ability to fight off bacteria. With breast milk being the best thing for Peter, I began a comprehensive supplement program with Karen so that Peter would get the best nutritional support possible to strengthen his body and fight his infection.
Lastly, we adjusted Peter! We used a very gentle force and tailored it specifically to his needs. You could feel his body relax after an adjustment and his oxygen saturation and heart rate regulated within hours.
Why would I do all of these things at the same time? Because they work! [quote_center]In this world my job is to “Think and Link’, not just “Blame and Tame” and that is why the functional medicine model is so powerful because it enhances the bodies ability to heal itself rather than trust an outside intervention to cure the body of a disease. [/quote_center] Either way, Peter’s health has improved and that is all that matters. We hope to be discharged by Friday and can finally resume one of the most special times to bond and create a new family dynamic. I will resume appointments with renewed confidence that the body heals itself and hope that his exposure to IV antibiotics will not result in asthma or autoimmunity. I hope from this experience you realize that you should question your doctors, you should support the body’s ability to heal itself and you should trust your instincts with your families wellness.
In life we must have faith that there is a reason we experience the things we experience and instead of fighting it, embrace it.
As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Gratefully yours in health,
Ian Hollaman, DC, MSc, IFMCP, CGP