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Why do you want to be a doctor?

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 07 December 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7976

Re: Why do you want to be a doctor?

There's nothing more important than health. Without health, life is a living hell. Let me tell you about the hell that I've been through.

At 65 years old, I've been an MD for over half my life, but a patient my whole life. I was a premature, low-birth-weight baby, and I've had more than my share of health problems. Frankly, I became a doctor in order to heal myself.

While in medical school, I went to my professors for help. After they hospitalized and medicated me, they told me they couldn't help me, and speculated that my problems might be congenital or genetic. Then they made slides of my blood and took pictures of my mouth, as teaching material for medical and dental students. The whole experience made me feel hopeless about my health and my profession.

Nevertheless, I persevered, graduated, and became board-certified. At the end of my formal education, I had a title, a license to practice, and a prescription pad. But I was still sick and had no answers.

So I studied alternative medicine: osteopathy, chiropractic, Bach flower remedies, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, vitamins, and fad diets. I even tried transcendental meditation and chanting. But nothing helped. Even worse, my medical odyssey aggravated my health problems, leaving me thin and weak. As a last resort, I tried to eat better and discovered that my hunger for healing, and thirst for knowledge, were just plain hunger and thirst.

As my health improved, I studied nutrition, biochemistry, and ecology. By trial and error, over many years, I found that I was helped by a special, holistic program of clean air, pure water, organic food, and the avoidance of toxins and addictions. I also found that this program helped family members, friends, and patients.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 December 2011
Hugh Mann