Celebrate a Miracle (NVD)

I want to invite all of you to celebrate a miracle with me. September 1994 will forever be a milestone.

On Friday evening, September 9, I got an urgent phone call - my nephew was in the hospital, and he was dying. Please come immediately.

I arrived to find him paralyzed, face twisted, unable to speak clearly and unable to breathe properly. In short, he had all the symptoms of brain stem stroke. Worse, he was conscious, lucid and terrified. His weakness had been progressing for days, and no one on the Urology Service seemed to be listening. They were exhorting him to "be a man. " I immediately began treatment with neurovascular dynamics (NVD) and was able to reverse or minimize many of the symptoms. For the first time in days, he fell asleep. However, he still had an infection, and the process in his brain stem was continuing.

The young doctor on duty was concerned, but he was clearly out of his depth. When I told him that my nephew had all the symptoms of bulbar poliomyelitis (which is the old term for aseptic meningitis of the paralytic type), his eyes got big as saucers and he said, 'I've never seen a case.' I advised him to prepare for the worst; my nephew was losing the ability to breathe. At 2am Saturday morning, the hospital transferred him to the critical care unit on the Neurology Service; at noon on Sunday, he had lost all control over his respiratory muscles and had to be put on a respirator.

The quality of care at the hospital was outstanding from the moment he was transferred to Neurology. They ran every test they could think of - searching for the cause. As of this writing, all the tests are negative. We may never know the source of the infection. They also hooked him up to seven or eight drugs to cover all the bases and fight the infection, regardless of what kind it was. The only positive findings are on the MRI's - multiple brain stem and spinal cord strokes. And, this is where the miracle begins.

Throughout the weekend, the situation was playing out on 2 levels: my nephew's critical illness and the resistance of the hospital bureaucracy to my efforts as his life-long primary physician. My sister and nephew stood firm in their insistence that I have access and give him care. I treated him with NVD throughout the weekend, regardless of who raised objections and barriers. Each time, I could see improvement in his neurologic deficits.

On Sunday, before the tube was inserted for his breathing, I did a specific cranial adjustment. As you might guess, that created an incredible furor among the doctors on staff. They thought I had killed him. Of course, when he was taken off the respirator about 40 hours later, those same staff members were flabbergasted. Based on the degree of damage in the MRI, they thought he would go irreversibly downhill after intubation. They never expected him to regain his ability to breathe, let alone recover with almost no deficits.

That has been the on-going story up to the date of this writing, September 29. The neurologists have documented what they believe to be "irreversible" damage, yet my nephew continues to improve and regain function. They tell him he's a 'miracle patient." Based on the last MRI, they can offer no explanation why he's up, walking around and functioning. At the point when his improvement could not be denied, I was 'quietly" given "full staff privileges' so that I could treat him without interference. I don't actually know what that means, since none of the doctors have communicated with me directly; that's what I mean when I say "quietly." I didn't push it though; I had achieved the necessary goal.

Now that my nephew's home, I can intensify the level of adjustments and cranial care. I expect his neurologic improvements to continue. We're working in the area of the unknown, and no one can say with any certainty what's possible.

As for me, I had to face some very difficult moments. After all, I studied out of all the same medical textbooks as the neurologists; I knew the prognosis and knew how bad things looked for my nephew. However, I also knew I had tools they didn't have access to - there is no place in medical school for NVD or cranial adjustments. And, in the process, I've learned some very important lessons.

I've discovered that I have the courage to stand firm for what I believe - no matter what level of resistance I meet. I have even deeper assurance and conviction about the value of my life's work. And, I cannot begin to communicate the enormous gratitude I feel to my teachers - particularly Dr. Martin. Without my teachers I would not have known what was possible, and I would never have tried; and, the person who would have paid the greatest price would have been my nephew.

I also learned how important it is to stand up to the "experts." They don't always know. They, too, only act out of what they've been taught. If you don't know miracles are possible, you never reach for them. And, then, they never happen. --Dr. Richards