For those of you who have known me during the last 39 years in Lake County, greetings. For those who have not, I would like to introduce myself and my medical practice. My name is Milan Lewis Hopkins, M.D. I am a General Practitioner, which to me means that everything is in my specialty. Having been the only doctor in Upper Lake since 1973, I have seen a wide variety of medical problems. My first job is to listen and observe. Sometimes just the appearance, mannerisms or complaint is enough to lead me to understand what a patient needs. Sometimes medicine is called for, but often the main service I can provide is to give the patient an understanding of why they don’t feel well.

I have always had lots of patients who don’t want some specific treatments: no pills, no needles, no tests, no extra expenses. There are always alternatives, and I need to let my patients know what they are. Consequently, I may counsel for emotional, psychiatric or spiritual problems; I may recommend herbs, diet, exercise, massage, art therapy, physical therapy, meditation or treatment programs; I may refer the patient to a specialist or other person who has special abilities which can benefit the particular patient.

The nature of my practice has undergone many changes over the years. The passage of proposition 215 added cannabis to the list of herbs which can be used for medical treatment; it has a longer history of therapeutic use than most, and every year, studies demonstrate more healing effects: anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-spasmodic, analgesic. I find that it is an effective treatment for a wide variety of illnesses, which previously have needed treatment with a multitude of drugs. It is one of the safest herbs available.

I have always felt that health care should be available to everyone. I worked for twenty years as a volunteer in the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinics and acquired extensive training and experience in the field of addiction and recovery. For patients who cannot pay, I open on the first Sunday of each month as a free clinic and see free clinic patients during my regular office hours. I am happy to accept any insurance program which will pay me. I see emergencies and walk-ins every workday, which is Monday through Friday. Sometimes we get busy, but my office staff is good at making sure everyone gets seen in a timely manner and is treated kindly.

I enjoy every day in my office: the challenge of understanding, of making the right diagnosis, of finding an answer, the satisfaction of helping someone who has been to all the specialists without getting any relief, the gratitude from a person who has overcome an illness.

I tell my patients that faith healing is the only kind of healing there is: I’ve watched apparently healthy people lose the will to live and just die. Of the patients I’ve seen beat mortal illness, it has usually come down to the patient’s own faith in the ability to heal and to accept change. I never, or seldom, know exactly what it is that each patient needs to heal, but given a chance, people can usually tell me enough to give me a clue. Many patients are not aware of their own resources, or how their decisions affect their health. My job is to provide each patient with the essential information and guide the recovery with an understanding of the disease process and the healing process. Health and happiness to all.

Milan L. Hopkins, M.D.

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