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Dr. Dan Roehm, of Pompano Beach, Florida, Chief of the Department of Medicine at Broward General Hospital, certified as a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, is a prime example of how a good doctor reacts once his interest is high enough to do his own first hand chelation research rather than just accept blindly the medical party line.

Dr. Roehm was a main-stream cardiologist until his wife began exhibiting symptoms characteristic of subclinical mini-strokes, any one of which might one day escalate into a full-blown fatal attack or disabilitating episode.

"I had nothing to offer; there was nothing I could do to ward off what I saw on the horizon." Roehm realized, and so began his urgent search for some way to forestall the looming calamity. Once he discovered EDTA, he tried it. When it restored his wife's health, Dr. Roehm added chelation and other alternative treatments to his practice - and says it's "more satisfying than doing the drug-and-surgery oriented medicine I was practicing before."

Dr. Grant Born of Grand Rapids, Michigan, became involved with chelation to save himself. He was just forty-three, with no previous history of heart disease, when he went into cardiac arrest while attending a football game.

"My heart just stopped," he recalls. "They revived me, got me to the Mayo Clinic, where the doctors agreed I needed bypass surgery - perhaps a heart transplant. While I was wrestling with this news, a guy walks into my room with a book about chelation therapy and asks, 'Do you know anything about this?' It was like somebody sent him.

"What I read convinced me. I went for treatments. After chelation saved my life, I really got interested."

Dr. Born speaks from experience when he admits there are social as well as professional pressures NOT to practice chelation.

"My first wife was dead-set against my getting mixed up with a controversial therapy. Even though EDTA helped me survive, she argued against it when I wanted to do it. She worried her reputation with the country club set would be wrecked if word got our that I was practicing 'quack-style' medicine."

Dr. Born resolved his problem. He changed specialties and wives.

The new Mrs. Born (Dr. Tammy) has no hangups about chelation - she works at his side.

Dr. Jack R. Vinton, of Dallas, Texas was a 'young' forty-two years of age, when he was told he only had two or three years to live, perhaps five on the outside.

"I had a serious heart condition - arrhythmia, angina, posterior infarction and had gone into congestive failure. Conventional medicine didn't have much to offer, except the common symptom-relieving drugs.

"I couldn't work. It was bad. There I was, with a wife and two teenagers, forced to retire to a quiet backwater community in the Arizona desert and prepare for the end. While i was waiting for the coroner to call, I did a lot of reading, and an article headlined 'Doctors in California using Chelation Therapy for Heart Disease' caught my attention.

"I was on the next plane to find out what it was all about - and one week later, back in Arizona with enough EDTA to treat myself, began therapy. Two months, and thirty treatments after that, I was well enough to discard all my drugs, get back on my feet, and return to work."

That was in 1970. Dr. Vinson is still in practice, still chelating himself, and all others for whom he deems it to be a suitable treatment.

John Ettl, M.D., an El Paso, Texas chelationist, was also his own first EDTA patient. A rock hobbyist, he discovered he was suffering near-fatal levels of lead toxicity thanks to his hobby of casting unusual specimens.

"I had all the usual symptoms - irritability, anxiety, and temper, sleeplessness, forgetfulness, mental disorientation, blurred vision and poor hearing but thought they were age-related problems, though I was only in my mid-50's.

"Fortunately for me, Dr. Harold Harper, a pioneer doctor in this field, convinced me it was lead poisoning - not mid-life crisis - and told me to read up on the treatment of choice, chelation. As a pathologist, I was extremely wary of the potential dangers, and went about it very cautiously.

"I began slowly, but eventually gave myself over 200 treatments before I got my lead levels down to normal. By that time, i was symptom-free, and a chelation expert."

Dr. John Parks Trowbridge in Humble, Texas, learned about chelation therapy from is 70-year old father who'd read about it in a health magazine. The elder Trowbridge wanted his son to look into EDTA because he'd suffered an aortic aneurysm and had other serious circulatory problems.

Young John, just emerging from a surgical residency in urology, responded predictably. "Forget it. it's quackery. if it was any good, wouldn't I have heard of it? Wouldn't the medical journals publish reports on a marvelous way to reverse atherosclerosis? Wouldn't doctors be using it?"

It wasn't until several years later that Dr. Trowbridge, a bit older - a lot wiser - was embarrassed to remember those hasty, cocky words. His parents had grown older, too - and sicker when a chance meeting with physician/nutritionist/chelationist Robert Haskell, M.D. encouraged him to take a second look. What Dr. Haskell showed Dr. Trowbridge amazed him - medical records of recovered patients whose test readings and clinical exams proved beyond doubt how much they'd benefited from chelation treatments.

Still only partially convinced, Dr. Trowbridge flew from one chelation clinic to another to check things out - to Alabama, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, California. He made dozens of stops in as many cities, as he criss-crossed the country in search of more data.

"Every chelation doctor I visited was so enthusiastic about what he was doing, and so eager to open his patient files, I could no longer question effectiveness. Cabinets full of case histories clearly showed chelation therapy was a revolutionary method for overcoming degenerative disease. It blew my mind!"

No question as to Dr. Trowbridge's motives when he changed from critic to advocate. The first patients he chelated were Claire and Jack Trowbridge, his mom and dad.

Dr. Harold Huffman of Hinton, Virginia, is another doctor whose first chelation patient was good old dad.

"It was 1982, and my father, 70 years old at the time, was a diabetic, suffering from diabetic retinopathy, and had already lost one foot because of gangrene and was facing the loss of the other. A physician himself, he knew the prognosis was not good. I called a nurse in Indiana who knew a lot about alternative medicine, and asked her what we could do. She recommended chelation and I say 'what's that?'

"She filled me in on the fine details. I learned how to do it, and while I wasn't convinced it was any good, knew it was dad's only hope of avoiding a second amputation.

"Talk about reluctant - I don't remember which one of us had more qualms, him or me. But we sure went into it with our fingers crossed - and were more surprised than anyone when the treatments worked. it saved his remaining leg - even restored his eyesight - and he continued practicing medicine for five more years."

Dr. Ronald Hoffman of New York City, an outspoken advocate of holistic medicine, looked into chelation after having dinner with a talkative nurse.

"Throughout the meal, this lady regaled me with tales of miracle cures: patients who'd been brought back from the brink of death and were now symptom-free and one hard-to-believe story after another about people whose legs had been saved from amputation. I couldn't get her to talk about anything else.

"I thought, either this dame's a nut - or chelation is worth a closer look. I decided to investigate and discovered everything this lady said was the absolute truth. That was nine years ago, and I've been practicing chelation ever since."

Skeptical from the outset, Dr. Terry Chappell of Blufton, Ohio, latched onto chelation after listening carefully to what people told him.

"I was nagged into it (chelation) by a patient," he admits, telling about "an important local honcho. This executive of a very large corporation had been traveling for more than 11 hours each way to get chelation treatments from the nearest doctor he could find. Since he didn't want to spend all that time on the road, he kept after me, pestering me every other day to insist I check it out.

"I wasn't terribly interested, but I wasn't hopelessly doctrinaire, either. I was mildly curious about nutrition, meditation, hypnosis - things like that. This guy was so persistent, I gave in, and visited several chelation doctors. Once I checked things out, I had no choice. Chelation works and here I am."

David Freeman, M.D. of North Hollywood, California is yet another non-believer who was dragged into chelation, protesting all the way that he could NOT get involved with quackery.

"A dozen years ago, I'd have sworn this chelation was a bunch of garbage. I was well up on the conventional medical literature, and believed what I read: 'no proven value', 'fraudulent claims', 'anecdotal evidence from unreliable source'. Who needed it!

"As it turned out, many of my patients thought THEY needed it - a lot. One after another, they began bugging me to look into it. I turned thumbs down.

"Then, as luck would have it, an old medical school chum visited me. I knew this guy was a solid scholar, totally reliable with a sterling intellect and unquestionably ethical. We'd interned together, and I'd trust this doc with my life. When he started praising chelation, spinning astonishing tales of miracle cures, I just had to listen. Since then, I've learned a lot - about chelation, and what it means to be labeled a 'quack'.

When we asked Dr. Irby Fox of Abilene, Texas how he came to choose chelation as a treatment, he said, "It was an accident. A patient who had a bypass that failed, was in pretty bad shape, and begged me to chelate him.

"I hedged a lot. I don't know anything about this, I told him. But I'll check it out, and if that's what you want, I'll do it, provided you sign an agreement that if your wife, kids or their relatives sue, I can use your estate to defend myself.

"I was being pretty cautious, but once I got started, I couldn't stop. This first guy got well; the next chelated patient did also. It's incredible. I really didn't want to get interested in anything so controversial - I'm no hero. The real heroes are the patients who insist on being chelated despite all the bad things their doctors say about it.

Dr. John Schwent of Festus, Missouri was a conservative main-stream physician until he lost several young patients only a short time after undergoing bypass surgery.

"It was frustrating," he recalls, "to send thirty- and forty year-olds off for bypasses only to have them die in a couple of years."

Then Mrs. Schwent's best friend, an attorney, began having angina attacks and instead of bypass surgery, opted for chelation treatments and the results were fantastic. He got well!

"I got a book about chelation and sat us all night reading it. One of my classmates, a Chuck Curtis, was mentioned in the book, so I called him. 'Are you practicing this voodoo medicine?' He laughed and said, 'For eight years now' and when I asked him, 'Killed anyone yet?' he got serious and replied, 'No, but if you've got two weeks to spare, I can use ever minute telling you great stories about the lives I've saved.'

"I wound up spending an entire year visiting chelation clinics all over the United States. Then I took the ACAM course and still didn't give the first treatment. I was very reluctant to get into it. I knew that introducing chelation into my practice would jeopardize my professional standing, and perhaps lead to my being ostracized. In spite of it all, I had to go ahead. I wouldn't be honest to know how to cure people and refuse to do it."

Dr. James Swann of Independence is a "show me, I'm from Missouri" sort of physician.

"I first heard about chelation in 1973 at a Jackson County Medical Society meeting when a Dr. Paul Williams, the author of two medical textbooks, tried to educate us on its usefulness for atherosclerosis. Nobody in the room knew anything about it - we couldn't event spell it.

"The lecture over, I hung around to chat with Paul, and it surprised me to learn that the American Journal of Cardiology had published favorable reports on this treatment. It bothered me that almost no one was following up, investigating, or using it." Dr. Swann's movement of decision came when a close friend whose triple bypass had failed (all three grafts had closed) only four months after surgery, came to visit. She'd been sent home to die, but had heard of chelation and there she and her husband sat, in Dr. Swann's living room, begging for the treatment.

"'Lill,' I said 'I sure would like a better cause than you to practice on. You're going to die on me, and we'll all look bad.'

"She was a spunky rascal. When she said, 'I'd rather die trying, than die doing nothing,' she got to me. I said 'OK. If you're willing, I am.'

"We started her out on three chelation treatments a week. That was twenty years ago, and she's alive today and still going strong. That's the case that brought me around."

It would be hard to find a more conservative physician than Dr. Conrad ("Connie") Maulfair, Jr. of Mertztown, Pennsylvania. A farm boy and Pennsylvania Dutchman, reared in the lad of the Amish, you can imagine his reaction when a patient brought him an article about chelation in a holistic-type magazine published - where else? - in California. He snorted. He sneered. He said, "What can you expect from those west coast loonies?" He dismissed the idea without a second thought. But then came a second, third, fourth patient - all asking questions about chelation, all bringing books and articles, or as Connie put it, "telling tall tales."

True to his heritage, Dr. M refused to be "pushed." For six years, he shrugged the subject off, before coming around to investigate for himself. That was ten years ago, and now he not only treats patients, he trains other doctors how to administer EDTA infusions properly.

Dr. Milton Fried of Atlanta, Georgia, insists that he never set out to be a rebel.

"I'm very thin-skinned and hate doing anything than exposes me to criticism - BUT - on the other hand, I'd feel worse not doing what I know to be best for patients.

"I was a resident in a New York hospital when a patient with a blue leg and gangrene of the toes and foot, was scheduled for amputation. When he told us he was going to get chelated instead, we warned him that it was bunk, and advised against it. He got chelated anyhow, and weeks later came back with the leg healed, and just lorded it over us.

"The other docs ignored the whole thing, but I thought 'Hey, wait a minute. There's something to this.' I started studying chelation. That was the easy part. Working up the chutzpah to do it was tough. I knew it meant parting company with the 'respectable' docs, taking a lot of flack, jeopardizing my reputation and income. It was a hard decision - but I had to do it.

"I've never been sorry. I got a lot of 'nachis' - that's Yiddish for 'pride and satisfaction." I'll tell you what makes me mad - all the doctors who come to me for chelation when they get sick - or send their wives, friends, relatives - and never let it be known. They tell me, "I wish I had your nerve." I tell them they're gutless wonders."

Dr. Gerald Parker of Amarillo, Texas, says Dr. Fried is the perfect example of chelation doctors who should be proud to be called 'quacks'.

"There's a fine breed of 'Quacks' - they're the rare medical birds who are not satisfied with what they're taught in medical school and are willing to explore new approaches. These 'quacks' become frustrated when they can't help a patient recover, and they look for a better way."