A Second Opinion Story- A Revelation

Let us take a closer look at today’s complex and often contentious world of healthcare and medicine. If you find yourself wondering whether a second opinion is worth the trouble involved, read on to learn more.

Every patient’s Advocate

She has been named as one of CNN’s Heroes of Patient Empowerment in 2008. She is known as “Every patient’s Advocate” and writes extensively on diverse health topics such as medical records, overconfident doctors, aggressive medication, and many more! Yes, we are talking about Trisha Torrey who is a popular patient empowerment activist.

Do you know Ms. Torrey’s story and how she went on to become a renowned patient advocate who helps people understand the healthcare system and get the best out of it?

Back in 2004, she was “diagnosed” with Subcutaneous Panniculitis-like T-Cell Lymphoma. This is a very rare form of cancer with a very high mortality rate. Her biopsy samples were examined by two independent laboratories and a confirmed diagnosis of this rare form of lymphoma had been handed to her. Predictably, her oncologist recommended immediate chemotherapy! Faced with an inner conflict between her intuition and over the need to trust the medical diagnosis, Ms. Torrey sought a second opinion to quell her doubts and understand whether her diagnosis was indeed right!

She, therefore, sent her biopsy samples to a specialist at the prestigious National Institute of Health and the reports came back normal!! Ms. Trisha Torrey was not even a cancer patient to begin with. She had been misdiagnosed and the corrected diagnosis was one of ‘Panniculitis (it is an inflammation of fat cells)’ alone! The world of medicine, like any other field of work, is prone to such moments of non- astute diagnosis and misguided perceptions


A Factsheet on Second Opinion

Second Opinion- Fact Sheet

Ever wonder why you should consider getting a second opinion from a specialist as qualified or more as your current doctor? We have a few answers for you. Read on to understand your right to a second opinion and look at the options available to you or your loved ones when it comes to tackling health conditions.

  1. First and foremost, as a patient, you are free to obtain second opinions on your medical problems with or without your primary physician’s knowledge. Two heads are better than one. So, getting an opinion or reconfirmation from another doctor is an established practice in the medical world.
  2. It is inappropriate for your primary physician to terminate or chastise you for your decision to seek second opinion.
  3. Also, your primary physician is bound by law to provide you with a detailed case history about your condition, including the recommendations on treatment options.
  4. When you seek a second opinion, it is inappropriate for the primary physician to terminate the patient-physician relationship solely because of the patient’s decision to obtain a second opinion.
  5. Your consultant physician whom you seek a second opinion from should provide you with a clear understanding of the opinion that is being given to you. Even if your does not agree with the recommendations of the first physician, the confidentiality of the patient evaluation should be maintained at all times.
  6. As a matter of fact, you may ask the second medical physician to even provide you with the medical care.
  7. It is unlawful and unethical for your physicians to establish an agreement or understanding among themselves to refuse to treat each others’ patients when asked to provide a second opinion.

Proton Gun for the Cancer, NOT the person- A Closer Look

Proton Therapy- A Closer Look

Imagine a 6 feet tall and 10 feet wide cancer killing machine that weighs approximately 195 tons!! Now imagine a controlled beam of proton travelling in the vacuum at 100,000 miles per second that can target a patient’s tumour with sub-millimetre precision while causing very little harm to nearby healthy tissues. In the simplest terms, that’s proton therapy!!

Going down memory lane

Doctors have treated & controlled cancer with radiation for more than 100 years- this branch of medicine is commonly known as Radiation Oncology. The foundation of radiation oncology is based on the interaction of energy and matter. The science of radiation physics, originally developed to accelerate particles for physics experiments, has translated into clinical treatment to generate X-rays for zapping tumors.  With the invention of particle accelerators for ion beams, linacs (linear) and circular particle accelerators way back in the early 19th century, radiotherapy has come a long way since. Interestingly, even before radiotherapy became popular, a young particle physicist at Harvard University named Robert Wilson laid out an alternative, the use of protons instead of X-rays. In 1946, Wilson published a paper called “Radiological Use of Fast Protons” in which he noted that protons deliver more radiation to the tumor while sparing healthy tissue. The first experimental proton treatments occurred in 1954 at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Proton Therapy- Myth Vs Facts

Common Myths about Proton Therapy…. #Busted!

Myth # 1. Proton therapy is experimental and investigational. It is a new, unproven science.

The following facts will prove otherwise!

  • In 1946, Robert Wilson described the ability of protons to release their energy more accurately and intensely and suggested its use in clinical radiation.
  • Proton therapy has been around for almost 60 years! The first treatments using protons or helium atoms were performed at the University of California at Berkeley in the U.S. in 1955, at the University of Uppsala in Sweden in 1957, at Massachusetts General Hospital in the U.S. in 1961, at the Physics Research Institute at Dubna in Russia in 1964 and at the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics in Moscow, Russia in 1969.
  • To date, there are 41 proton therapy centers operational worldwide, and about 25 research centers with an activity related to proton therapy. According to The Particle Therapy Cooperative Group (PTCOG), more than 100,000 patients have already benefited from this type of treatment worldwide. At the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center alone, thousands of cancer patients have survived cancer and are back to enjoying their lives.
  • Proton therapy was approved in 1988, more than 26 years ago, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of certain cancers.
  • Dr. James Cox, a prominent researcher from MD Anderson commented on the subject of no RCT comparing proton therapy to X-rays in an article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.In the article he pointed out the fact that there is considerable documented evidence showing protons can provide superior therapy to that possible with x-rays in almost all circumstances. This is because the dose distributions that can be achieved with protons are superior to those possible with x-rays. There is generally between two to three times less energy deposited by protons to the healthy & normal tissues outside the target as compared with the energy that x-rays deposit.

TMC workshop on Trancendental Meditation

Finding balance – TMC’s trancendental Meditation workshopsDSC_0337 DSC_0286

In today’s frenetic lifestyle with the everyday chaos that surrounds us, finding harmony of any sort seems to be a distant dream. Harmony between the mind and body is essential for physical and emotional wellbeing. However, the stress of modern lifestyles tends to interfere with the harmony of the mind.  Modern medicine now recognizes that an anxious, stressed out mind can wreak havoc on the delicate balance between different internal systems in the body. The ancient systems of complementary medicine – these include Yoga, Ayurveda and Naturopathy, on the other hand, seek to harmonize by balancing both the mind and the body.

Physicians are therefore exploring the possibility of achieving a confluence between allopathic and complementary medicine. Efforts are being made to achieve a balance between the biochemical approach (allopathy) and the traditional medicine approach (Ayurveda, Naturopathy , Yoga etc) .

As a practical manifestation of this philosophy, Texas Medical Concierge (TMC) recently organized a workshop on ‘Transcendental Meditation’(TM) between 26thMay to 2nd June at ITC Maurya, New Delhi. TMC is a Delhi based medical concierge company that provides priority medical access and advisory services to its distinguished member clients.Their customized services integrate modern medicine with evidence-based complimentary medicine to provide a holistic approach to healthcare. Ms Aanchal Bhatia, President and Chief Clinical Psychologist at TMC was 11 years old when she got introduced and trained in TM at Maharishi Nagar where her grandfather Late Mr R.N.Kapoor was the trustee of the Maharshi foundation.  “I feel blessed to have experienced the benefits of TM at a young age. At TMC, it is our goal to provide the benefits of such practices from complementary medicine to our members. We aim to bring evidence based complementary medical practices to the fore.”

The workshop, which was packed to capacity, saw participants of all ages learning the technique from TM expert Dr Alex Hankey,Professor at SVYASA (Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, Bangalore, India; the world’s first Yoga University, ww.svyasa.edu.in). The five day workshop saw distinguished participants whose names cant be published to maintain confidentiality .

TM was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, based on ancient Vedic knowledge. This branch of holistic health management has over 6 million followers, all over the world. TM does not require any major changes to your lifestyle nor does it creates excessive strain. Instead, the meditative process involves silently chanting a mantra. This mantra is different for each individual. Regular practicing TM allows practitioners to achieve a state of “restful alertness”.  TM is one of the most well researched meditative techniques with over 350 scientific studies published in scientific journals. Practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) helps improve concentration, relaxes the mind and body by preventing distracting thoughts and brings about awareness. Whats more, it is one of the recommended techniques by the AHA for lowering blood pressure. When practiced regularly, the benefits of TM include*:

  • TM could reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce anxiety and stress (including post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Reduce atherosclerosis and maintenance of  the right cholesterol (LDL/HDL) balance
  • Reduced insomnia
  • Reduced acute and chronic pain
  • Reduced substance abuse
  • Increased awareness and perception (Better brain function)
  • Improved creativity and learning ability
  • Improved academics and school behavior among students

It is recommended that TM be practiced for 15 to 20 minutes, at least twice a day for maximum benefits. Drawing parallels with modern medicine in which the organism is systematically sub divided into organ systems, organs, tissues and cells, Dr Hankey elaborated that integrative approaches, when used together with modern medicine, help correct the imbalances in the different Doshas and Sub-Doshas(bodily fluids according to Ayurvedic medicine)and to restore health, in a much better way than compared to modern medicine being used alone.

Ms. Bhatia announced that The Texas Medical Concierge has forged a partnership with the Maharishi Foundation USA. As a result of this collaboration, TM will now be part of the evidence-based holistic health services offered by Texas Medical Concierge. Given the resounding success of the TM workshop, Texas Medical Concierge will organize several new rounds of the workshop, details for which will be announced shortly.