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 She was a really cute, really curly haired ten-year old girl, and she was really dying. She knew it, her Mom knew it, and her doctors told them so. Her name was Patty, and she was a little chubby. Patty's body was destroying her platelets faster than she could make new ones. Platelets are specialized blood cells that are essential in order for blood to clot. Hospitals full of specialists had studied this girl and her rare problem. They concluded by telling the mother that they had tried everything, and there was nothing else to do but "get your affairs in order."

So, Patty's mom brought her to see me.

 Patty knew more about her illness than I did. I still don't know the proper medical name for it, and it doesn't much matter. She was a cheerful, calm, bright, personable little thing, and this was in tremendous contrast to her skinny, incredibly wired, bleached-blond, middle-aged mother. The mother had passed the point of mere panic long ago; she was distraught. And desperate.  

 "We've tried everything," the mother said. "She's had all the tests. She's seen all the specialists. They've tried everything, they said. Nothing helps. Her platelet count is less than one-tenth of normal, and keeps dropping every week. What can be done? Can you help her?"

 I thought: How do I know; I’m a teacher, not a physician. So I sat down and talked to Patty. "Do you understand your illness, Patty?" I asked. She nodded. Then she proceeded to tell me all about it. I listened, and came up with an idea. I got up, went over to a bookshelf, and removed a dusty 1953 edition of The Vitamins in Medicine, by Bicknell and Prescott. It has a good index of over 10,000 fairly old nutritional studies.  

 I looked up "platelets."  I found an entry in the index for "Vitamin C and," and "Vitamin K and." I read each of the brief passages, and turned to Patty's nail-biting mother.

 "There is at least one thing the doctors have not tried," I said. Vitamin C and vitamin K are necessary for platelet production. It is a long shot, but maybe Patty's body needs more of these vitamins - far more - than other people do.  You can megadose her on vitamin C easily enough, as it's non-prescription, cheap and safe. You can get vitamin K from alfalfa sprouts, like the ones you see at salad bars and supermarkets."

 They looked back at me. The mom eventually asked, "How much does she need to take?"

 "I'm not sure, but probably a lot. It's pretty hard to hurt yourself with sprouts, and guinea pigs have been given the human dose equivalent of half a million milligrams of vitamin C a day without harm. You could try 10,000 milligrams a day. If Patty takes too much, she'll get loose bowels. If she were my daughter, I’d have her eat all the sprouts she can hold. If she eats too much alfalfa, her blood will clot too easily."

 "That would be a nice problem to have!" Patty said, and her mom actually smiled.

 "This is only a guess," I said. "It's a guess, but you have little to lose by trying." 

"Besides," I added, using a quote attributed to Yogi Berra, "It ain't over 'till its over."

 So they went home.

 I heard from the mother about two weeks later, and I was nervous when she started speaking.

 "Patty has been eating one to two jars full of alfalfa sprouts a day. She's been real good about it.  Oh, yes, and she's been taking the 10,000 milligrams of vitamin C every day as well."

 "And?" I asked.

 "The doctors have seen her several times, and her platelet count is now 85% normal. She is going to live! I'm so thrilled!"

 And off she went for a while, talking of how wonderful this all was. Inevitably, she came to the question that I've heard a thousand times:

"So why didn't the doctors try this?"

 It's a good question, isn't it. How can some guy find the answer in a single book off the shelf when squads of specialists with walls full of diplomas couldn't?

 You can usually only find what you are looking for. There are famous exceptions, and Columbus comes immediately to mind.  He was looking for India and bumped into an entirely different continent. At least explorers are listened to when they return with their first-hand accounts of discovery. You should see what happens to unorthodox health practitioners, and scientists, and medical doctors too, when they "discover" that vitamins cure real diseases.

 One of the first things that happens, as they gracefully lose their reputations, is that they are forever labeled quacks.

 Patty does not care about any of that.  She lived, and that’s enough for her.

Copyright C 2003 and prior years Andrew W. Saul.

Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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