How Would Warren Buffett Pick His Doctor? Norman Beck’s Incredible Story.

Norman Beck at TedX SMU

Norman Beck has been profiled in the New Yorker, he’s shared his story on the stage of TED, he has breakfast with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates every year, and yet, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of him…until today.

Norman Beck searches for data in hard to reach places. Because he looks where no one else looks, he knows what no one else knows. Norman’s experience and skills were put to the test one day in a doctors office, when he found himself on the receiving end of a life threatening diagnosis. He knew his life depended on the answer to a very serious question: “who is the best surgeon I can find?”

The answer to that question saved Norman’s life, and led to his wildly popular Ted Talk. It’s what leads him here today. With that said, let’s get started…

Links and more:

Patient resource Norman used:

Norman Beck Profile in the New Yorker:

Norman Beck’s Ted Talk:

Norman’s Neurosurgeons:

The neurosurgeon Norman avoided:

Norman’s Company, SCA Promotions:

Don’t skip the eclipse! Surgeon and Amateur Astronomer, Dr. Gordon Telepun.

corona- gordon telepun

Image courtesy of Gordon Telepun

Name: Gordon Telepun, MD

Location: Decatur, Alabama

Specialty: Plastic Surgeon, Amateur Astronomer

Today we’re going to take a brief departure from our normal routine for a smaller, mini episode. In just one week, the moon’s shadow will be passing over the continental US . If you’ve never seen a solar eclipse, and you’re still not sure if it’s worth all the hype, stay tuned. Our guest, Dr. Gordon Telepun is a plastic surgeon in Decatur Alabama. That’s his day job. Gordon is also a passionate amateur astronomer. He’s traveled to the middle of the ocean, and as far as the plains of southern Africa to see a solar eclipse. His knowledge of eclipses would probably give Neil deGrasse Tyson a run for his money. Gordon has even developed a geo-location app (for viewing the eclipse) that’s being used by NASA next week at two of their observation sites. This episode was fascinating and lot of fun. With that said, let’s get started…

Learn more:

Gordon’s photos from Africa:

Gordon’s Solar Eclipse Tracking App:

Gordon’s Website:

Dr. Telepun’s Practice:

Evidence Based Medicine Strikes Back! Dr. Alok Patel on defending medicine in the wilderness of modern media.

Alok Patel

Name: Alok Patel, MD

Location: Columbia University Medical Center, New York City

Specialty: Pediatrician, Associate Professor, Journalist and Startup Advisor.


How many of you feel like your patients consider you the 2nd opinion after first consulting Dr. Google? How much of your time is spent fighting through a jungle of pseudo science and misinformation just to reach your patients? Why is it so hard to earn their trust?

With all the talk today of fake news, the erosion of journalism and the shallow miasma of modern media things look pretty grim. But this is Peerspectrum. Lamenting over the state of affairs is not what we do here. Despite the circumstances, there are some out there (particularly physicians) engaging these problems head on. Today’s guest is one of them.

Dr. Alok Patel is a Pediatrician and associate professor at Columbia University, in New York City. He’s also rising voice among physicians using modern media to defend and advance medicine.

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Treating Fighter Jet Pilots and Guiding the Next Generation of Physicians: Dr. Ryan Gray

Flight Surgeon

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Grace Lee

Name: Ryan Gray, MD

Location: Boulder, CO

Specialty: Flight Surgeon and Founder of MedicalSchoolHQ

So, where do the Air Force’s elite bomber crews, fighter jet pilots and even drone navigators go when they need to see a doctor? They go see a guy like today’s guest, Dr. Ryan Gray. Ryan is an Aerospace Medicine physician, also known as a flight surgeon. As a flight surgeon, Ryan treated some Air-force’s most elite fliers. He was also responsible for evaluating their flight readiness, sometimes having to ground pilots and crew members who were not medically cleared to fly. As you can imagine, not everyone was eager to find themselves in Ryan’s clinic, fearing a medical disqualification that could literally ground their careers. We’re going to learn how Ryan navigated this challenging dynamic, and the tactics he used to build trust with his patients. We’re also going to learn how a young airman’s question sparked a new mission for Ryan, the mission he now pursues as an educator and physician entrepreneur.

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The Peer Patient: Mara Howard-William’s Path from Scoliosis Patient to Global Health Expert


Name: Mara Howard-Williams

Location: UNC, Chapel Hill.

Specialty: Former scoliosis patient and Graduate Research Assistant at America’s Health Rankings

I wish there were people my age I could have talked to.”-Mara Howard-Williams

Today we’re happy to welcome Mara Howard Williams to the show. Mara has traveled extensively throughout the US, and around the world supporting critical medical mission work. She currently works as a Graduate Research Assistant at America’s Health Rankings while also pursing her masters in the School of Global Public Health at UNC, Chapel Hill.

Mara is a special guest for us because she’s also one of Keith’s former patients. Diagnosed in her early teens with advanced scoliosis, Mara underwent corrective deformity surgery (by Keith) when she was just fifteen years old. Following her recovery, Mara was asked to offer advice and help to several other young patients facing similar paths. Mara was happy to help, wishing she had had someone (her age) to talk with before her surgery. It didn’t take long for Mara to recognize that more than just a few kids needed help. She took the initiative and started an incredibly successful support network called BalkTalk. This was a place where kids could talk with, and ask questions of, peers just like themselves.

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Keeping Patients Safe and the Lawyers Away: Conversation with Dr. Gerald Hickson

Gerald HicksonImage Courtesy of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Name: Gerald Hickson, MD

Specialty: Professor of Pediatrics and one of the world’s leading experts on medical malpractice risk and patient safety.

Location: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Nashville, TN.

Welcome back. Today we’re going to explore a topic that (while not always fun to discuss) is critically important to you and your patients. To help us out, we’re joined by Dr. Gerald Hickson. Dr. Hickson is one of the world’s leading experts on medical malpractice risk and patient safety. In over 150 peer reviewed articles and chapters, Dr. Hickson has explored questions such as:

Why do patients and families choose to file suit?

Why do most malpractice claims originate from a very small number of physicians?

What can you do to reduce medical malpractice claims risk?

Is there a link between physician behavior and patient outcomes?

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45 Minutes Per Patient, 24/7 Call, and Loving Every Minute: The Direct Primary Care model with Dr. Staci Benson.


Name: Anastasia (Staci) Benson, DO

Location: Paradigm Family Health: Dallas, TX

Specialty: Family Physician (Direct Primary Care)

Imagine yourself as a patient, free to schedule visits any time you wish. During those visits, you can expect to spend an average of 45 minutes, face to face with your doctor. You can also call your doctor anytime, even on nights and weekends.

Now imagine yourself as that doctor. Today, the average family physician sees 25-30 patients a day, averaging only seven minutes with each. It’s no surprise that many GPs today report feeling overworked, underpaid and even burned out. But not you. You enjoy an average of 45 minutes with each of your patients. You see, at most, five or six patients per day. Your patients can call you anytime, but surprising they rarely do. You love your job and your lifestyle. You know your patients and they know you. Your practice model enables huge health-care cost savings but your income still matches or exceeds that of your traditional family practice colleagues.

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