Ever heard of Henry R. Harrower?
He came to the US from England in 1903 at age 20, and with great fortitude and drive, became an MD and Endocrinologist. He had influence in the creation of today’s professional Endocrine Society. He also believed (to the consternation of many of his colleagues) in the use of organs to treat conditions, such as Armour desiccated thyroid.
And in 1931, he made the following incredible statement:
“A good laboratory report is cold comfort to a patient whose symptoms remain unchanged, and the doctor can repeat such reports until he is blue in the face, but they will not help his patient much if unaccompanied by controlled symptoms and changed feelings.”
He also stated:
“Are not the feelings of the patients often as clinically valuable as the other findings? In no case can we wholly discount them.”
BRILLIANT!! BRAVO!! “Cold comfort” couldn’t describe our reaction better when a slew of your modern colleagues have habitually discounted thyroid patient symptoms for decades in favor of ink spots on a piece of paper called “lab results” with dubious “normal ranges”. And we give the same “Bravo” to a growing body of doctors who are making a courageous change in their relationship with patients the last few years by LISTENING to the patient first and foremost.
p.s. Thanks to Stephanie Buist, working to become a naturopath, who posted the first quote above to the Facebook of a mutual friend of ours. You can read more about Harrower here.
How do you feel about what Dr. Harrower said over 100 years ago? How would you rate the Endocrinologists you’ve seen the past few decades as compared to Harrower? Have you had no more than “cold comfort”?