Lifetime Achievement Award - 2005 John E. Merriman, M.D (Deceased)
Dr Merriman was born and educated in Canada and graduated from
Queen’s University in 1947 with the degrees M.D., C.M.. For 21 years he
was at the University of Saskatchewan teaching and doing research in
Cardiology. In 1969, Dr Merriman instituted the first in-hospital
cardiac rehabilitation program in the world. He has published 54
scientific articles. In 1975, he left his position as Professor of
Medicine to become the first appointee in the new College of Medicine at
Oral Roberts’ University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In 1977, he entered into private practice as an internist – for the first time in his life. Subsequently, he became quite discouraged about the medical management of chronic pain. Now consider if you will, that this Professor of Medicine, who had prepared his Canadian medical residents for their certificates as specialists, and had taught them how to examine the heart, lung, abdomen and nervous system, etc., had to confess that he did not know how to examine the neck, back, knee or shoulder. It is now an accepted fact, that the two poorest- taught subjects in medical school and in residency training, are nutrition and musculo-skeletal disorders.
During this time, Dr Merriman began having pain in his arm and neck, making it difficult for him to hug his wife without pain and also to sleep soundly at night. X-rays and neurological consultation revealed severe cervical disk disease, as well as spinal stenosis. Since there were no motor findings at that time, he was advised that cervical disk surgery could be postponed but would probably be necessary within a year’s time.
In 1987, Dr Merriman attended his first meeting of the American Association of Orthopedic Medicine (AAOM) and learned about Prolotherapy. He was invited by Dr Gus Hemwall to join a medical mission trip to Honduras sponsored by the Christian Medical Society. So, it was in March 1988 that Dr and Mrs. Merriman made their first of many trips to the “Veins and Pains Clinic” in La Ceiba, Honduras. Dr Hemwall showed Dr Merriman how to examine a patient, and also taught him the different injection techniques for Prolotherapy. His own neck was also injected to bond the loosened ligaments back to the bone again. (His wife photographed him “getting all these shots!”) As a result, all symptoms disappeared. Dr Merriman then became a true believer in the use of Prolotherapy for the treatment of chronic pain due to ligamentous laxity.
For the past 16 years, Dr Merrriman has documented and tabulated his results from Prolotherapy. He continues on the faculty of the Hackett-Hemwall Foundation, which helps sponsor the teaching seminar in Prolotherapy each October at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison. The Hackett-Hemwall Foundation also sponsors a yearly trip to Honduras where interested physicians receive teaching and experience in treating ligamentous laxity using Prolotherapy –just as Dr Merriman had experienced years ago. On each trip, the team (consisting of approximately twenty physicians and support staff) treats over a thousand patients at the free clinics in La Ceiba and in Tela, Honduras.
Over the years, Dr and Mrs. Merriman have taken one daughter and five grandchildren with them to help in the clinic. It has been a life-changing experience for these teenagers to see how people live in the third world.
Dr Merriman has served one term on the board of AAOM. He is one of only two physicians in the state of Oklahoma who are members of AAOM. He has made several scientific presentations of his research at their annual meetings.
Dr Merriman and his wife Hope have been married for 55 years. They
have four children, 12 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.
NOTE: For more information, please contact the AAOM, 600 Pembrook Drive, Woodland Park, CO 80863, 800-992-2063.