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Doctor on Trial: The Landmark Battle for Medical Freedom of Choice

The battle for medical freedom of choice is not new … it's been raging for more than 100 years. Doctor on Trial: The Landmark Battle for Medical Freedom of Choice is a true story that has waited forty years to be told … until now.


My father, Dr. Harold Solem, chiropractor and naturopath, dedicated his life to helping his patients achieve optimal health, teaching them how to improve the quality of their lives by using natural therapies, avoiding the potentially dangerous side effects of synthetic drugs. He endured decades-long opposition so that future generations might freely choose their physician (conventional or alternative) and their preferred method of treatment (synthetic drugs or natural remedies). He was filled with passion, knowing that the profession he had chosen was exactly what he had been called to do. But storm clouds were forming on the horizon. Alternative medicine had begun to flourish so conventional medicine launched its campaign of "containment and elimination of chiropractic."


Doctor on Trial begins in 1978 when a county sheriff knocked on the door of Dad's apartment and handed him a subpoena to appear in court for refusing to take chemotherapy for a case of pneumonia from which he had recuperated five months earlier.


After decades of fighting for medical freedom of choice for his patients, my physician father, a stalwart defender of freedom, was taken to court for his unconventional convictions. Six months of harassment followed with five court trials. Dad had been incarcerated and deprived of his personal freedom.


With the dedication of a dynamic defense attorney and two expert medical witnesses, Dad won the case! It was the first such victory in the State of Illinois, a victory in the 130-year war of conventional medicine's attempts to eliminate its competition, natural medicine. After hearing the judge's decision, the prosecuting attorney whispered to Dad's defense attorney, "This case never should have been brought to court!"


Chapter by chapter, this narrative walks the reader through much of the 20th century battle between conventional and natural medicine that my parents and I lived through personally.


Woven into this narrative are my husband's and my struggles against three potentially life-threatening illnesses: my battle against the ravages of rheumatoid arthritis and my husband's diagnosis of cancer and diabetes. We were in our early forties. Early in our marriage, we had chosen to ignore my father's wise teachings regarding our health. As a result, we were faced with three serious wake-up calls.   


Our prognoses? My medical doctor said, "There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis." He warned me that if I refused medication, the pain would increase, the symptoms of disability intensify, and I would become totally dependent on a wheelchair. I refused to accept that. Fully realizing how difficult it could be to cope with the serious symptoms during the recovery period, I enrolled in a four-year nursing program. I have never needed a wheelchair. Two and a half years later, I was totally symptom free and have been ever since!


My husband lived another thirty years without any recurrence of cancer or diabetes. What was amazing was that with our lifestyle change, he was able to discontinue his diabetic medication … with our medical doctor's consent. My husband never again needed a diabetes medication to maintain a normal glucose report.


By taking Dad's advice we were able to overcome these three terminal illnesses!  


The story of Doctor on Trial was written as a memorial tribute to my father and mother. Their lives have ended but their legacy lives on. And as a result of their determination to never give up, despite the opposition aimed against them, we are now reaping the benefits of their courageous lives. Hopefully, their story will inspire readers to take stock of their health so that they and their families will live long, healthy productive lives.