BIG MEDICINE: WHOSE HEALTH ARE THEY PROTECTING? 339
to do research and to visit with patients. He holds three-hour counsel-
ing sessions in his home with new heart disease patients, gives them re-
search evidence and provides a delicious "heart-safe" meal. In addition,
he gives talks around the country and abroad.
In March of 2002 , Ess and his wife Ann, whose grandfather founded
the Cleveland Clinic, drafted a letter to the head of the cardiology de-
partment and the head of the hospital at the Cleveland Clinic. The letter
started off by saying how proud they were of the reputation and excel-
lence of the Clinic and the innovation of the surgical procedures, but
that everyone recognized that surgery was never going to be the answer
to this epidemic of heart disease. Ess formally proposed the idea that he
could help set up an arrest and reversal dietary program in the depart-
ment of preventive cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic. The program
would mirror his own and could be administered by nurse clinicians
and physician assistants. Ideally, a young physician with passion for
the idea would head the program. Ultimately, every patient with heart
disease at the Clinic would be offered the option of arrest and reversal
therapy using dietary means, which costs very little, harbors no risks
and puts the control back into the patients' hands.
You'd think that if an opportunity arose to profoundly heal sick
people, and one of the most reputable people in the country was going
to help you, a hospital would jump at the opportunity. But after being
one of the star surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic for decades, after initi-
ating a heart reversal study that had greater success than anything ever
done at the Clinic, and after graciously offering a plan to help heal even
more people, neither the head of the hospital nor the department head
had the respect to even acknowledge that Ess had written to them. They
didn't call. They didn't write. They completely ignored him.
Seven weeks passed, and finally Ess called the department head and
the hospital head, and neither of them would take his call. Finally, after
seven calls, the head of the hospital got on the phone. This man had
praised Ess for years for his research and seemed excited by his results,
but now he was singing a different tune. He obviously knew exactly
what Ess was calling about, and told Ess that the head of the cardiol-
ogy department didn't want to do it. In other words, he just passed the
buck. If the head of the hospital wanted it to be done, it would be done,
regardless of what the head of cardiology wanted. So Ess called the head
of cardiology, who finally took his call. The man was abrasive and rude.
He made it clear he had no interest in what Ess was trying to do.