How do I treat patients in a unique way?
I take a unique, customized approach for each new patient case. I am all about teamwork- I help patients understand that we are on the same team, working together to figure out what's wrong and to get them better. Other doctors often do not like when patient's question them. I am different in that I encourage this 2-way communication. I also encourage patients to read and educate themselves and to come to me with their own thoughts on what they need. I also encourage patients to develop their intuition about themselves.. I explain that no one knows their body like they do. And if they are going to get better, they have to start listening to it.
The Dempsey Protocol:
The Classic "Leaky Gut" Example
Some doctors, especially integrative ones, talk about finding the root cause of the illness but their root cause is often not deep enough.
For example, if the doctor finds that a patient with GI symptoms has "leaky gut," the focus of treatment is in "healing the gut" through glutamine, probiotics, elimination diet, etc. I would approach this patient going one step further. I would acknowledge the leaky gut and address it in a similar manner. However, I would continue to look for the “root” of this root cause. I always ask the question, Why? Why does the patient have leaky gut and why now? Once I ask that question, I then have to hunt for the answer.
I know that there has to be a trigger and the trigger can be acute but it can also be chronic. I will often take a history from a patient multiple times because patients may forget certain details that they don't view as important, but that detail might be the clue to what the problem is. I might finally get a piece of information from the patient regarding a trip they took in college to Africa. They might recall that they had a "stomach bug" for a couple of days but then felt fine afterward. If I keep focusing the patient to think about when their GI symptoms actually started, they might recall that right around the time of the trip they started having more abdominal discomfort. They might not be able to remember if it was before or after the trip, but given the "bug" they had on the trip, I can make an assumption that they caught an infection, probably a parasite, and that infection caused inflammation and damage to the lining of the intestines. Since parasites can live inside humans for many years, it is likely this patient still has parasites which is leading to the leaky gut.
I will want to do extensive testing for parasites but often they are hard to find. There are "surrogate markers" in the blood that could help identify whether there could be a parasitic infection. And while I am doing testing, I am also going to look for other infections or exposures that could have triggered the onset of symptoms. I will want to try to understand why this one infection led to years of symptoms. There might be an even deeper root. Maybe this patient took antibiotics a lot as a child which led to the development of dysbiosis or abnormal gut flora. They could be "fine" with this for a while and might even start to heal on their own, but once they are hit with a new GI infection, it throws the balance off further, so now there is no way to return. Or the patient has mast cell activation syndrome, which will be triggered by parasites or other infections. Once the mast cells are triggered they release chemicals, like histamine, causing inflammation. If the mast cells detect that the parasite is still there or that there is something different about the intestines, they will continue to "explode" and break down the gut lining, causing leaky gut. By getting to the deepest roots possible, my treatment is more targeted and personalized.
My medical training at Johns Hopkins paired with a deep understanding of functional medicine helps make me a leading diagnostician and toxin detective.
At the initial consultation, I take a very thorough history from the minute you were born. During this time, I discover “AHA moments” which help connect the dots. I are extremely detail oriented and will analyze every single data point to see where the connections are in your medical history. For example, things that happened to you in utero can directly impact your current medical symptoms today. I look at the way your body has formed in correlation to what your body has been exposed to.
Over the course of a 4-6 week period, I conduct diagnostic lab tasting to figure out what the missing pieces are through specialized testing. Specialty labs may include a genetic stool test to find out what’s going on with your gut, or even genetic microbiome testing and genomic analysis. For inflammation, I may recommend food sensitivity testing. Many times, I will examine the triggers that lead to infection. If it is something systemic such as Lyme disease, we will examine the root cause. We may find it is stemming from an inflammatory reaction to a larger issue such as mast cell activation.
My diagnosis may include a comprehensive diet plan, a customized supplement sheet, or even a 14-day detox regimen to help remove toxins from your system. I focus on getting to the root of the problem. With chronic illnesses, many people come to me who have typically seen between 10-15 doctors already. After a proper diagnosis and diagnostic plan, I set them on the path to recovery and long-term wellness and healing.