Like anyone in medicine, he did not have ALL the answers, but he had many. He is a true champion who listened to his patients, learned from them, and helped others because of them. He left the basic science research to others who proved many of his ideas to be correct. There are many examples of this in my own life.
I have a friend in Los Angeles, Dr. Marvin Rapaport, who is a dermatologist and treats “Red Skin Syndrome”. A painful itchy disease of the skin. Most Dermatologists treat this with topical steroids, which helps for the moment, but makes things worse in the long run. He posits that the steroids are part of the problem, and not the solution. He can cure the patients by removing ALL STEROIDS from their treatment regimen. The patients are miserable for days to weeks to months, but most are ultimately cured! Hopefully, one day, the medical community will come around.
My father was laughed at when, as a general surgeon, he would get his patients out of bed the day after surgery for intestinal and gall bladder removal. EVERYONE knew that a patient needed to be in bed for 1-2 WEEKS. Think about it, in this day of political correctness the nurses would have complained to administration and he would have been brought up before the executive committee of the hospital, and perhaps, not allowed to practice there anymore or, perhaps, told not to do it anymore as it “broke hospital policy”.
When faced with premie babies with kidney stones, I chose to put them in a lithotriptor, a kidney stone machine. In the 1990’s this consisted of a chair that lowered in to a bathtub where the shockwaves would then be directed to the kidney stone. We had to alter the chair as it was too small for children, much less babies. The nurse went nuts as she felt this was ridiculous and unsafe. I assured her that this was at least worth a try, as the alternative was to perform open surgery on both kidneys. This had NEVER been done before anywhere in the world but it WORKED… thank goodness. I did 5 more and then published them. The paper was presented by me in Tours, France. As a side note, a Pediatric Urologist called me out at the meeting asking whether I made up the data as no one else had seen this many premies with this problem much less did shock wave lithotripsy on them. I had to explain that a new therapy to help these babies was being tried by the neonatologists and the kidney stones were a side effect of the therapy.
(Shukla, A.R., Hoover, D., Homsy, Y., Pearlman, S., Sherman, S. and Reisman, E.: Urolithiasis in the small infant: The role and efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. Journal of Urology, 165(6);2320-3,2001.) Dr. Shukla was my resident at the time, the other authors were my partners and Pediatric Nephrologists.
To the Dr. Sarno’s and Dr. Rapaports of the world: Remember, the world used to be flat and the sun revolved around the earth.
Rest in Peace Dr. Sarno, you have helped millions.