Dr. Nguyen D. Phan is an internal medicine doctor practicing in Spring, Texas. He attended medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and did his residency training in internal medicine at the University of Texas – Health Sciences Center in Houston. He worked exclusively for a few years as a hospitalist prior to opening his private practice. His hospital work allowed him to observe doctors in other specialties more closely and better understand their thinking. His take on thyroid treatment arose from a desire to help patients who came to him because they were not getting results on T4 and were looking for another option.
Why did you decide to go into medicine?
When I was young I wanted to pursue a noble calling that would profoundly impact people’s lives, championing the rights of the people, and by my example make others want to work on creating a better world together with me. Things didn’t work out so well and I chose medicine instead (laughs).
Who do you look up to?
Anyone who is taller than me; which is a lot of people. But generally people who can stay true to their inner voice and come out on top. Janie is a good example of this.
What is a pet peeve when seeing patients?
Those who tell me “My other doctor already checked my thyroid.” This often means only TSH was checked. I consider it lucky if the other doctor ordered a free T3. Or “I betcha I’m your craziest and/or most complicated patient.” No, you are not. It takes a crazy to know a crazy. Though admittedly, I wouldn’t say it to your face if I thought you were. But I have patients who are frazzled, disheveled, on all sorts of medications, and coming in to see me speaking a million miles a minute, and I still don’t think they’re crazy. In fact, I quite like many of them. No, my most complicated patients were in the ICU trying to die on me while I was racking my brain trying to help them. In the grand scheme, I am not in charge of what happens. There’s a higher power that’s letting things unfold. I just try to help things along.
What is/are your greatest achievement(s)?
I know it’s a cliché but my children are. I mean, I’ve put in the most time, effort, energy, money, and self- prescribed psychotropic medication for them. The other is marrying the girl who I didn’t get to ask to prom.
What do you grapple with the most?
Where do I start? Off the top of my head, I think I really struggle with getting too involved with trying to ‘fix’ my patients and achieving balance between work/making a living and living a life. I feel like I don’t know enough about everything. But I guess I preach and teach that which I need to learn the most. That means understanding that you and I are doing the best we can and making the best decisions that we can with the knowledge that we have. Otherwise, it becomes a game of “I shoulda, woulda, coulda.”
I do not claim to be a guru in thyroid treatment. However, I do try to listen, take a different perspective, and give answers specific to your problem that are realistic and hopefully within your economics. I come from a humble background, so I always think about the money the patient has to put out if we choose a certain path to pursue. It is a challenge to have one foot in conventional medicine and another foot in what might be considered holistic or alternative approaches. Often, my thyroid patients are very knowledgeable after having read multiple sources but need a little reassurance on their path. I hope to save you time and perhaps a headache. Ultimately, this is a trial and error exercise for patients because they have to try things to see if what they are doing feels right for their body. I, too, continue to learn from my patients and thank them for continually teaching me. Hopefully, we can do this together with smiles on our faces at the end.
What’s a good joke you’ve heard?
I can’t tell you in print. I’ve got maybe 4 clean ones I can tell. And I tell the same ones over and over. You’ll just have to make an appointment with me to hear them.
8515 Spring Cypress Rd, Spring, TX 77379