Letters to the Editor

Another Perspective on Health and Medicine

To the editor:
I am writing in regard to the July 20 column by Mara Schiffren, “Patient, heal thyself.”
My two best friends are pediatric oncologists. One is a Harvard Medical School M.D., Ph.D. geneticist at Sloane Kettering, the other is my classmate from veterinary school at U.C. Davis, a DVM, Ph.D. pathologist at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. I have shared tears with both of my best friends as they described to me the trials of confirming an astrocytoma or glioblastoma, both brain tumors, to the parents of their 3- and 4-year-old children. 
Leukemias, lymphomas, retinoblastomas and more bring heartache and shatter to the lives of parents in pediatric oncology wards across the country. A 3-year-old child has not the worldly circumspect to alter their life’s “nutrition and lifestyle.” 
Ms. Schiffren’s  flippant remarks regarding health and medicine are reflective of a seeming cynicism, a lack of knowing and an absence of compassion. I disagree with her dark perspective of today’s medicine. I see the world of today’s therapeutics as wonderfully changing. How integrated has the world of medicine become! 
As an equine veterinarian, alternative medicine abounds: acupuncture, chiropratic, holistic and herbal therapeutics are all incorporated into managing the lives and careers of horses.
My brother, a graduate from the Yale School of Medicine, integrates an array of holistic therapeutics into his practice. Nutrition, exercise, meditation, and lastly, therapeutics, are brought on board. The world of both human and veterinary medicine has been dramatically changing for good in the past recent years, incorporating an array of diverse perspectives. 
A milestone example of changing therapeutics in my world as an equine veterinarian would be in the world of treating autism. As an equine veterinarian, horses have been substantiated to be one of the few successful therapeutic modalities for improving cognition, speech, balance and empowerment in special needs children. Who would have thought that which “nickers and whinnys” would replace a pill bottle?
The world of human and equine medicine is wonderfully changing for the better, despite the cynicism of Mara Schiffren’s article.
Matt Eliott, DVM
North Salem

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