A Conversation between Carolyn and Ted

Ted: Although I wanted to write a nice long beautiful article about our experiences with the AMSAT, instead I find myself sending you a sort of diary about the trials and tribulations of being a clinician. These are just some of the things that happen in life, and I suppose we just have to cope with it. Hopefully our members can take some consolation and instruction from these recent experiences.
I have found out one very important thing about the AMSAT unit: it doesn’t travel well. I took it on a trip in 12/08, and it’s never been the same. The unit was very badly damaged, and we simply had to return it to the factory where (in the end) it was almost entirely rebuilt by Holistic Concepts.
But of course, this all started in December – exactly when the Germans all take four to six weeks of holidays (boy if we couldn’t all work in Germany?). We waited until mid-January and then we sent it back to the factory.
Mr. Thurmann at Holistic Concepts did a great job on keeping us updated but they spent quite a bit of time repairing it. Then when it was fixed they contacted us about the repair costs and sent it back to us. Of course, I was away for several weeks, and then it got stuck in customs for almost 3 weeks and you get the picture. We just managed to hit things at the wrong time all the way along.
Upon its return, it wasn’t able to calibrate. To date, we still haven’t been able to use it, although things are looking up. We now have the English language directions on how to calibrate it, so hopefully it will be up and running by next week.

Carolyn: Unfortunately when instrumentation has to go back to Germany for repairs it can become time consuming, costly and frustrating. In all cases before taking these steps be sure to contact us at OIRF before you ship the unit back (to whichever factory). Often times it is only a matter of labeling or shipping method which will make the difference between a few weeks and the dreaded couple of months (in this case way to many months!). I’m really glad to hear that Mr. Thurmann took good care of you – in our experience he has been most cooperative and helpful.
I think we could have avoided the 3 week customs problem with a bit of different labeling, but we’ll all take this into consideration should there be a next time.

Ted: Which brings up the question of hardware and equipment. My MORA Super power pack doesn’t seem to be holding a charge. Again. It looks like we’ll have to send this back to the factory as well, which means we’ll be without some of the features of this unit for awhile. If memory serves, it took over a month the last time we had to switch out the battery. How do you cope with these setbacks? Keeping back up machines on hand? Or using different approaches in place of them?

Carolyn: Oh boy, I guess it never rains, but it pours. But, this problem we can probably resolve a lot more quickly than “months”. We maintain a supply of replacement batteries for most Med-Tronik instrumentation here at OIRF. Normally they can be shipped to you along with installation instructions within days. If we do not have the battery in stock, then it is dispatched from the factory (by FedEx) and again you should have it in your hands within days. About the only exception to that are the older ELH units which must be returned to have batteries replaced and be refurbished on a more regular basis – that can take a few weeks. All MORA rechargeable batteries should have a normal life span of about 4 to 5 years in regular practice. If you have experienced the need to change your batteries more often then it is probably time to get the whole unit refurbished to make sure there are no other technical problems.

Ted: Thanks Carolyn and I hope you will pass on these few comments to our members in the event they face similar difficulties with their instrumentation. What is the role of these machines? Do they substitute for the examiner? Do they provide truly objective data? How important are they in diagnosis?It’s become clear that any results obtained by most machines are an extension of the examiner. It’s not the machine that is performing the active measurement, but rather the clinician. The machine simply acts as an interface. The results are therefore dependent on the skill and health of whoever is operating the machine. And yes, one’s health will influence what results are obtained. I’ve personally witnessed examiners who get essentially the same results for every person they test. They are not testing others, they are testing themselves. It is thus our responsibility to get ourselves as healthy as possible. The sharpest knife cuts the cleanest.Are some machines more objective than others? It would seem so. The AMSAT requires no operator contact with the patient during the testing phase. MORA, or any EAV approach, incorporates the examiner as part of the patient-machine-clinician loop. Is AMSAT therefore more objective than MORA and other EAV methods?I think so. But, it is a matter of degree. ANY method will be susceptible to examiner influence. Any focus of attention (of measurement) will affect the behavior of the measured. Some companies go to great lengths to try to isolate the elements from one another. MORA is one of these, and probably produces the “cleanest” of the EAV devices. Other approaches seek to remove the examiner as much as possible from the process. AMSAT [and BE-T-A] is an example of this method.
Ultimately, it is our approach as clinicians that make the difference. We must make each testing with no expectations or investment in the results obtained. Our stance is that of the “Zen No Mind”, in which we are only observers of what we experience. Each finding is a fresh and unique event, unfolding information about the life before us. Herein lays the beauty of our profession, whether we use machines, or simply our own selves.

Carolyn: Thanks for these comments Ted and again our apologies for the difficulties you encountered with your AMSAT.

A Conversation between
Theodore (Ted) J. Cole, NMD, DO
And Carolyn L. Winsor-Sturm
From THE BRIDGE Newsletter of OIRF
Published October 2009. © OIRF/Cole

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