Stamford Integrative Medicine & Michael E. Doyle: Returning to Medical Fundamentals
Dec 31, 2014 03:28AM
● By Natasha Michaels
Dr. Michael E. Doyle
One of Dr. Michael E. Doyle’s best tools at Stamford Integrative Medicine is not an expensive piece of equipment or modern technology. It is instead a more basic part of medicine which he believes has been lost over time as dependence on technology and testing have increased. It is listening to and examining the patient.
“The basic medical approach that has been taught for over 100 years is very sound,” he explains. “The problem is that we M.D.s have strayed from our core teachings. We are all taught that a diagnosis is usually made primarily by listening to and examining the patient. Unfortunately, after we leave the classroom we are taught that test results are what really matter. It is a tragic distortion of a medical model that has worked for generations.”
It was growing frustration with the contemporary approach to medical practice and ineffective or even unsafe treatments which led Doyle to leave his position as a medical director and begin to study alternative medicine instead. As he studied, he began to feel it was his calling to find better approaches to restoring and maintaining health where conventional medical approaches are unsafe or ineffective. While this was a new direction for the Cornell and Georgetown-educated physician, it was not a completely radical shift for him.
“My transition from strictly conventional medicine to an integrative approach was really a matter of me getting back to my core beliefs,” he says. “My mother had a great influence on me by passing along her interest in natural nutrition. My extended family has contained many doctors including a grandfather, uncles and cousins. So I grew up with a keen interest in health, but I was always a bit of a skeptic. As a teenager, I experimented with various natural remedies and often found fault with the conventional medicine that I saw being practiced. Even my college applications addressed alternative medicine with an essay about the dangers of common medical treatments.”
During his research, Doyle discovered doctors who were practicing a type of medicine that made more sense to him. It was safe, effective and helped patients feel better too. He studied the writings of medical pioneers like Sir William Osler, Eugene Hertoghe and Broda Barnes. In addition, he found leading integrative physicians to learn from, including Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, one of the world’s leadings experts on the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and international hormone expert Dr. Thierry Hertoghe. Hertoghe’s sister, Therese, has been one of the greatest influences on Doyle’s medical career. She is a fourth-generation hormone specialist who has taught him many of the finer points of natural hormone therapies.
He used the combination of conventional training and advanced alternative training to create a different kind of medical practice. Now, after more than 12 years in private practice, he has honed a unique expertise in nutrition and natural hormone therapies that attracts patients from the New York metro area and across the country.
“My approach starts with listening to my patients talk about their specific symptoms and concerns as well as their overall health,” Doyle explains. “I then examine them, including both a general evaluation and a specific search for signs of the likely causes of their problems. The next step is to use the most appropriate tests when needed. I want to focus on tests that are actually going to help me take better care of my patients, not just provide numbers. This includes some traditional tests as well as some ‘alternative’ or non-traditional medical testing. I combine all of this information to identify the underlying cause of my patient’s specific symptoms or problems.”
Many of his patients come to see Doyle after they have been treated unsuccessfully by other physicians; many of them are frustrated and tired of being told that there is nothing wrong with them after a few perfunctory blood tests come back normal.
“In general, I think it’s a mistake to tell patients that they are ‘fine’ when they do not feel well. If they do not feel well, there is by definition a health problem,” Doyle says. “It is either physical or psychological or both. Either way, it’s a doctor’s job to try to help.
While psychological issues are very important, I find that the vast majority of people with physical complaints have some physical problem contributing to their symptoms. My job is to help them identify the underlying problems and to relieve their suffering with safe and effective treatments.”
Doyle’s practice emphasizes common and treatable problems such as thyroid, adrenal and other hormonal dysfunction, as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Treatment is geared toward helping patients restore a healthy balance of nutrients and hormones while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This most often involves treating deficiencies with bio-identical hormones or natural nutrients. He follows the patient’s progress, adjusting treatment as needed to restore health and vitality.
“Patients should understand that medicine is supposed to be about improving your health and quality of life, not just treating symptoms and improving numbers,” he says. “The best medicine depends on doctors listening, examining, testing appropriately and maybe most importantly – thinking independently.”
Michael Doyle, M.D., practices at Stamford Integrative Medicine in Stamford. To schedule an appointment, call 203-324-4747. For more information, visit StamfordIntegrativeMedicine.com. See ad, page 18.