Medical Doctors: Our Everyday Heroes
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Medical Doctors: Our Everyday Heroes

Reasons for becoming a doctor and how confidence in doctors could be waning.

Children are often asked in school, what they want to be when they grow up. A few would volunteer that they want to become a teacher, an engineer, a lawyer, a journalist, a pilot, an entertainer, a politician, a nurse, an IT expert and yes, to be a good doctor. Many have dreamed of becoming a doctor but only a few have gone on to pursue the career.

Reasons are varied why many wanted to become doctors. Most often the very reason for pursuing medicine is the inherent dream of serving people--that is, to treat the sick. Others have become doctors because their parents were practicing physicians and they were "bred" into it. And it's also a given that it's a lucrative career, one in which they will never be wanting when it comes to financial rewards.

So, why only a few took the path leading to a medical career?

One reason is that medical study is very expensive and only a few could really afford it. But this is not enough reason nowadays not to pursue the dream, as there are scholarships now offered (in the Philippines and the USA), some even with free lodging and medical books to aspiring students. One has only to pass the qualifications.

The long years it takes studying for this career is another reason why many opt out of medicine. It would, at least, take another nine years after high school graduation before one becomes a licensed physician after passing all the required grades and the licensure examination. This means that he'd still be in school while his classmates are already receiving salaries from their respective careers.

Unfortunately, not all who have enrolled in medical school go on to become doctors. Some don't continue because of financial difficulties, or failing grades, some lack the self-discipline and the dedication needed to hurdle the difficulties of medical school and hospital duties. And there are some who quit because they have forgotten the reasons why they went into medical school in the first place.

The common factors therefore, that made medical students stick to the program are self-discipline, dedication and focus – thus never losing sight of one's goal, that is, of becoming a good doctor. Other factors include the love for learning new things, the fascination with the human body and its functions, and the challenge it presents. Medical school can also be a fun place like high school and college, but with more rigid rules and curriculum to follow.

Successful Doctors

The chosen many who went on to become doctors despite these difficulties are only to be admired.

They made it through the years where sleep was considered a luxury. They made it past the medical books, quizzes, examinations, and lecture after lecture every day that they were in medical school. They finished a year of internship in the given hospitals their school was affiliated to, where they have to deal with different personalities of patients, nurses and consultants. And after graduation, they had to render another year of post-graduate internship in the hospital of their choice. Months of review for the board exams followed, and only after successfully passing the medical licensure exams, they are given a license to practice medicine.

Having acquired this license, the medical graduate now becomes a proud doctor. Proud in the sense of his accomplishments, and eager to pursue his residency in the specialty of his choice, this would take him or her another three to five more years of training. The good news is that he's now financially compensated.

Doctors are Unrecognized Everyday Heroes

Doctors deserve to be recognized and hailed as silent heroes not only for overcoming the long arduous years of studying in medical school and rendering long hours of hospital internships, but more importantly, for their choice to be in the position to serve people. They understood and accepted the need to undergo the long years of study because they knew that they would be dealing with human lives. They must then apply the knowledge and skills they've acquired through the years in order to render competent service to their patients. They also must never stop learning and updating themselves with the latest medical breakthroughs in order to give the most appropriate medical interventions needed by their patients.

Because of these, millions have benefited from the services the good doctors provide, from a simple stomach ache to the most severe of maladies like cancer and AIDS, and the most recent scare, the H1N1 flu pandemic.

The services most doctors offer are no longer limited to inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation and then giving out prescriptions, but include counseling and advice toward prevention and maintenance of healthy lifestyles as well.

It is fitting, therefore, to acknowledge the greatness of all doctors, who in one way or another, have touched many lives and made it better, just because they have chosen to become doctors.


Is the Confidence in Doctors Waning?

Unfortunately, today, the confidence in doctors is not as great as it used to be years ago. Most of this is because doctors seem to be hurried and the insurance companies seem to dictate the medications and procedures a doctor recommends.

There was a time when we all believed our doctors, but today, we are not so sure they are not just towing the insurance company line and not recommending the best procedures and or medications they prescribe.

Another problem because of today’s insurance plans, we don’t seem be able to keep our doctors. Years and decades ago, doctors were not only our doctor, but also our friends. For years we were able to keep the same doctor and we got to know them and they got to know us.

Today, with all the insurance company networks, it seems as if we cannot ever have the same doctor year to year. And that in itself is a real problem. Once we have a doctor that we trust, and then have to find a new doctor in our health insurance network, it makes for a rather cold relationship instead of a friendship.

It is not so much that confidence in doctors is waning, it is the health insurance companies that continue to get in the way of doctor / patient relationships.

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Comments (4)

Doctors are indeed unsung heroes. I know one and he's a pediatric doctor. He does try his best everyday to provide the most optimum care for his young patients. It doesn't help though that his co-doctors seem to lack his diligence in caring the sick... :(


No. Just no to the whole article. Doing your job does not make you a hero unless you are risking your life or going above and beyond the call of duty. Doctors are very well paid for what they do. They contribute to society in a manner similar to a banker, with all the benefits and drawbacks thereof.

Brenda Coram

Ottumwa lucky to have a specialist like Dr. Coram

On one of my annual visits to Fairfield, my son told me about hockey teammates who had career-ending injuries until they were treated by Dr. Charles Coram, a chiropractor in Ottumwa. The teammates were soon playing hockey again and attributed their recovery solely to Dr. Coram’s efforts. This got my attention.

My son suggested that I see Dr. Coram because of 20 years of extreme leg pain from chronic sciatica that recently prevented me from sleeping in bed for more than an hour at a time. I agreed, and after my first treatment was able to sleep in bed all night!

I live in Ann Arbor, Mich. (a nine-and-one-half-hour drive from Ottumwa each way), and as a recently retired professor at the University of Michigan, have seen many specialists over the past 15 years — doctors including neurologists and other specialists, MDs, physical therapists, even an acupunturist — who have all treated me for this problem without much success.

I am now traveling to Ottumwa each month to be treated by Dr. Coram, who is the only medical professional who has been able to provide relief for my problem or any improvement in my overall condition. Each of my treatments has taken two-to-four hours, but has been unbelievably helpful. I see a noticeable improvement in my overall condition each time I meet with Dr. Coram. Ottumwa is very lucky to have such a helpful health specialist in its community.

Layman E. Allen

Professor of Law, Emeritus

Law School, University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Dr. Coram's treatment provides great benefits

As the wife of Professor Layman Allen whose letter is just above, I would like to confirm the wonderful results he has experienced from his treatments from Dr. Coram.

In talking about these to acquaintances in Fairfield, we were sorry to hear about the approximately 60 doctors who have come and gone from Ottumwa in the past eight years, but hope that you will continue to keep Dr. Coram within convenient reach of our son’s home in Fairfield.

Of course, we’d be delighted if Dr. Coram moved to Ann Arbor, but (seriously) we are very happy to come all the way to Ottumwa to be treated because Dr. Coram is the only health specialist who has provided any relief for my husband’s condition, and we have consulted many medical personnel at the University of Michigan Health System (one of the best in the world).

For us, it is worth an 18-20 hour drive or flight each month to get the benefits of Dr. Coram’s treatment.

Leslie A. Olsen

Professor and Director

Program in Technical Communication

College of Engineering

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, Mich.

I first met Dr. Charles D. Coram in 1999. At that time, I was the CEO of a thriving Mental Health Center serving many communities in Iowa. I worked with ideas and people, a mentally challenging career that involved long hours and little physical exercise. This lifestyle caught up with me in my 50’s and I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. An RN, who had found relief from her own physical pain by treatments from Dr. Coram, sent me to him. From the first visit I was impressed with the thoroughness of his taking the time to know me as a person. His respect for my knowing myself, giving me the dignity of allowing me to know my own body, which I had inhabited for 50 years, was refreshing. I believe we all have a God given energy and awareness whether we listen to it or not. Dr. Coram used traditional manipulation and nontraditional as he helped me stretch, move and rearrange the energy in my body. I don’t have the words for what his treatment was like; I just know I got better. I have not returned to a traditional rheumatologist, as I know I do not have the soreness or the pressure point tenderness that produced the diagnosis in the first place.

Dr. Coram uses acupuncture, energy work, Reiki, manual manipulations and a type of yoga stretching. He truly is on the cutting edge, one of those doctors who do not follow the mold. He is not a “hothead” with a chip on his shoulder to prove others wrong but a thinker of tomorrow. He is always asking himself, “What are we missing, why is this person not improving, what knowledge does the person have about themselves that I as the doctor cannot know, no matter how thorough the examination?” Truly he integrates different medicines and philosophies without sacrificing his own integrity.

Dr. Coram practices what he preaches, integrity, flexibility and healthy life choices while grounded in a core set of beliefs. He willingly shares with others his insights and observations from his own practice, works within schools, hospitals and the community. As I come close to my retirement years I am pleased to see the next generation opening up to catalyst type practices which involve a total health concept. The concern for the person, the courage to change from traditional paths, while honoring what tradition can do, keeping vision alive while maintaining a full time patient load is not easy. Somehow, Dr. Coram manages to do this. We are longer a society where the doctor knows best. People are too well read and informed for that naivety. I believe most consumers want a doctor who will answer questions and truly hear what the consumer is requesting or saying. Dr. Coram integrates different types of healing, sees the value of each and is open to what his client wants or would respond to for treatment. His own visionary approach to medicine inspires others, his peers, community leaders and his patients.

Having known Dr. Coram personally, both as a community leader myself and one of his patients, I am confident that Dr. Coram will use his gifts of healing in a thoughtful planned way to advance medicine using a total health concept. Maneuvering through traditional models of medicine and finding the respect from the medical community is not an easy task.. Many visionary people have become disheartened and give in to the pressure of “learned minds” in traditional medicine. Dr. Coram has a resiliency to keep on keeping on, perhaps in part, because of his own deep belief that health and healing are so much more than our traditional ways can comprehend. Although no longer living in Iowa, I keep in touch with several people active in the community. I have seen and heard the respect and creditability Dr. Coram is earning.


Joyce C. Bromley MA, LPC, LCSW

Kansas City, MO.


Dr. Coram has so altered the conversations in our community hospital that they have moved from a rigid pharmacological/surgical paradigms toward teams of therapists, community activists, patients, employers, employees, physicians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, religious leaders, nutritionists, and many others banding together. He is similar to many truly effective leaders, organizing and guiding but often letting others assume the credit. When conversations were initiated it was always Dr. Coram behind the introduction of change. He was driven. He would not put the topic down. He had serious resistance. He had patients and his own convictions as his allies. He had all of the arrayed rigidity of a small Midwestern conservative community, hidebound by tradition, enveloped by its distance from the centers of change and with the certainty of a righteous indignation of the truth of its position, allayed against him. He continued anyway. I think it was his patients’ needs and the angles of his better nature. He has a lot of angles and a lot of better nature, and you guessed it, it is hard to get in to see him.

What does our community want most for Charles Coram? Cloning, Seriously. I have discussed this often with him, we need to train young doctors. Dr. Coram begins with the dysfunctions of spirit, of hope, of dignity of knowledge of what personhood could mean in the patients he sees. He does this gently as he massages and stretches and repositions a few facets. In an hour spent talking to a patient while really caring for their needs he learns their needs, their worries and fears. He was a nurse before being a chiropractor before being an integrative medicine physician. When he continues to care for and about his patients he leads them to new insights of their potential. How much more likely are we to listen when we are relaxed? How about when we feel we have been able to express ourselves in the important worries of health, family and what motivates us? I have found Dr. Coram’s patients returning to me stating what could be called unintended testimonies. They express newfound strengths physically and emotionally. I wish I could send every patient to him (he is just too busy). So many actually begin to follow the advice received. This is a change in listening. This is real change. I, as a physician, listen better and more completely.

What scuttles our barely floating lives when we feel we are paddling as hard as we can? Often it is a lack of faith that there is another way; it begins with renewed belief in our power to change. Breaking dependence may be the very most disabling agenda in a life. Dependencies can be toward others, habits, harmful realms of thought. It seems Charles incorporates example, sincerity and his message of people realizing purpose they must find. Some patients seem to have epiphanies. Some patients are not ready for these messages, but they still receive benefit.

Let me give my final and greatest accolade (surely you think I have said it all). When Christ returns to the Passover feast he washes the disciples feet. He shows us by example one last time what he seems to expect of mere human beings like Charles, like myself. I have the great comfort of having Charles Coram as my Dr. and friend. My wish for you, and for everyone, is that we can train more young people to be like this man. I sincerely wish a great gift for you: may you have a Charles Coram in your life.

Sincerely, Marc E. Hines MD

President of Wapello County Medical Society

Open note to reporter Duiz Corazon: Your headline SHOULD read: "Ethical Doctors are Everyday Heroes: Criminal Doctors Are an American Embarrassment" Are you even slightly aware that 50 physicians are convicted of Felony-level misbehavior EACH WEEK? That's 12 each court calendar day of the year. Do you have a clue that the Nat'l Practitioner Data Bank holds files on a jaw-dropping 250,000 doctors, since 1985? Are you even remotely aware that errant healthcare is one of the top 3 leading causes of death in the U.S.? Until you and your co-reporters start trumpeting this message from the rooftops, you are doing the citizenry a huge disservice. (Read "The Paramedic Heretic" for an education)