This is a story about a largely unsung hero who changed the face of medicine from a tiny village in the English East Midlands.
For us, the story began in 1995 when Bryan’s 78-year-old mother Edie was diagnosed with end-stage breast cancer. Privately her doctor told us, “If I were you, I’d get her affairs in order.” When he’d examined her, he’d been shocked: her breast, he told me, looked like raw meat.
In fact, so advanced was the cancer, he said, that it was too late to try chemotherapy or any other intervention. She had three months to live, at the very outside, we were told.
Because of our work, we’d heard of Dr Patrick Kingsley, a medical pioneer in Leicestershire. We didn’t know how successful he’d be with a case of terminal cancer, but we were encouraged to hear that he had a local cancer group consisting of many others who apparently were beating the odds.
A simple way to beat cancer
His regime for her was simple: a modified healthy diet, removing all foods she was allergic to, a vitamin supplement program tailored to the purse and tastes of someone reared on standard British fare, plus high doses of vitamin C and other nutrients delivered intravenously several times a week.
And that was it.
Several months later, Edie’s GP, who’d delivered the original death sentence came to examine her. He was rendered utterly speechless. The cancer which had
ravaged her breast, which he was so sure was beyond hope or treatment, had completely disappeared.
A variation of this story has been played out thousands of times with Patrick Kingsley’s patients, virtually all of whom were so-called no-hopers, whose visits to him represented their last-ditch efforts to find a cure. He saw at least 9,000 patients with multiple sclerosis and thousands more with cancer who’d largely been abandoned by conventional medicine. Yet, like Edie, the vast majority of these patients lived on for many more years.
A country doctor works miracles
After qualifying in obstetrics, Patrick carried out fieldwork and pharmaceutical research, then general practice, before setting up his own practice in nutritional and environmental medicine in 1981 in the sleepy village of Osgathorpe, near Leicester.
During all those 25 years of practice, Patrick claimed to have never needed to prescribe a single drug. The taxi drivers ferrying his international patients back and forth from Leicester station to his unassuming surgery referred to him as ‘the miracle worker.’
Patrick looked upon his job as detective work, uncovering the cause of the patient’s condition. Overwhelmingly, that cause had to do with something they were or were not eating, although sometimes it had an emotional or spiritual cause, which he also saw as his job to heal.
Some years ago, Patrick retired. He wrote books and set up a website, hoping to spread his message to the wider medical community. He contacted medical schools and even the General Medical Council, requesting that they take a look at his results.
But no one in the mainstream community was the slightest bit interested in his extraordinary batting average with cancer or MS patients considered to be hopeless cases. No matter how hard-pressed the British National Health Service, or how poor the prognosis for most cancer patients given the standard ‘cut–burn–poison’ treatment, the door of the Medical Establishment remained firmly shut.
Death of an unknown soldier
Patrick never did get them to listen to him, and he died in August of this year, still largely unsung to those outside his patient community. This is nothing short of a double tragedy—the loss of a medical genius and the indifference of the
Medical Establishment, which could learn so much from non-conventional doctors like Patrick Kingsley.
Perhaps the greatest lesson has to do with Patrick’s steadfast refusal to characterize the likely path of illness—to make a judgment call about how long the illness would linger or how long patients like Edie could expect to live.
I was in the room during his first meeting with Edie, and he didn’t flinch when he saw her breast. “I think we can handle that,” he said with offhand confidence. That attitude and the hope it inspired is the medicine that saved Edie’s life and the lives of his thousands of patients.
Hope, in fact, is the most important medicine there is.
Very few doctors have the humility to recognize that no scientist, no matter how learnèd, can predict how any given patient will respond to the challenge of illness and healing, and say with certainty who will live and who will die.
As Patrick Kingsley well understood, when it comes to healing, hope is never audacious.
No case——not Edie’s, not anyone’s—is ever hopeless.