Almost three decades ago, Charles C. Mary, Jr., A physician in New Orleans, Louisiana, went into private practice after leaving the position of medical director of one of the largest hospitals in the United States - Charity Hospital of New Orleans. In addition to this he also held the position of the head of the Health, Education and Welfare department of the state of Louisiana. It was not long after his departure from the political side of medicine that he discovered that the orthodox methodologies taught in medical school and traditional residencies did not always prove to be effective in the treatment of his patients. Having had the opportunity to attend several lectures given by speakers such as Linus Pauling, holder of two Nobel prizes, and Frederick Klenner, M.D., a physician experienced in the treatment of disease with high doses of Vitamin C, Doctor Mary decided to apply some of the Vitamin regimens to his own patients. Much to his surprise, the patients who were given the high doses of Vitamin C responded rapidly compared to those who had been given antibiotics, either alone or in conjunction with the vitamin.Today his son Chuck Mary III, MD continues his legacy and forges ahead with new research and development in the field of IV therapies and many other integrative treatments.
From the moment I heard Chuck Mary’s voice on the phone I knew I was dealing with a real Southern gentleman. Steeped in the culture and traditions of New Orleans, Chuck is a delight to meet, and when I visited NOLA on a service trip in December of 2009, his clinic was one of my destinations.
When Dr. Mary lectured for ICIM at our Indianapolis conference “Seeking Global Advances in Medicine,” his evaluations were sky high. People appreciated his informal, easy manner and his lecture, packed full of practical, well documented information on intravenous vitamin C.
Chuck arranged to meet me at an old-world Italian restaurant called Antonia’s, where the food was great and the bartenders friendly. One thing I noticed right away was that Chuck seemed to know everyone in the place, most of whom called him by name. This was clearly his comfort zone, and it gave me a sense that I was talking to a well-connected person, admired in his community.
We drove to his office a few blocks away. In true New Orleans form the office is on the second floor, surrounded by a lovely wrought iron balcony railing. Inside the office is slightly cluttered, the kind of “organized” where the right people know exactly where everything is. The Mary Medical Clinic is designed to have a warm, homey atmosphere, and they certainly succeed. Immediately inside the door is a collection of drawings, gifts from patients, including a study of cockroaches, an immediate clue that this doc is not devoid of humor. In fact, art is everywhere, so much of it that Chuck rotates the pictures through so that people have plenty of new things to look at. Some of the works are his own. Chuck is an accomplished batik artist. One of his brightly colored framed clothes depicted a detailed, psychedelic Jimmy Hendrix. Luckily, during Katrina, though the office flooded from the roof, these batik pieces were spared.
Along with vitamin C, another one of Chuck Mary’s expertise is fishing. There are mementos of fishing all over the office, including the long IV room, which features a very large wooden tropical fish that I have to say reminded me a little of needles. Chuck says he wants his patients to think of him as a real person. He points to a white coat displayed in his exam room wall, “I haven’t worn that since I graduated,” he says, smiling. His exam table is a relic from his grandfather, a dentist. It was lovingly restored and refurbished by his dad, and Chuck likes it because it the wood is warmer, less medical than standard metal frames. Family photos contribute to this personal touch, as does framed proverbs and other religious inspiration stemming from Chuck’s strong Catholic faith.
As I visit ICIM doctors, I am finding similarities in the feel of their office space. There are the familiar shelves of supplements, the IV prep area, and the faint, familiar scent of vitamin B. The fact that so many of our members create a space that is beautiful, friendly and personal points to the shared philosophy of holistic medicine. As Charles Mary III says on his informed consent form:
It has been shown in several extensive studies that patients with a positive attitude progress further, and with more success in their recovery, regardless of the diagnosis. We here at the Clinic truly believe that positive thinking breeds good health. Negativity will keep me sick. It is our intention to make this Clinic as much of a positive influence on recovery as possible. Thinking healthy can easily equal being healthy. There is no quick fix for ill health. It is a lifelong endeavor of balanced nutrition, thought, attitude, and interaction with others that keeps us healthy-physically, mentally and spiritually.When it was time to go, Chuck had another appointment and said he regretted not being able to drive me back to my hotel. Instead he made a quick arrangement for his friend “Big Mike” get me safely home, a friend who he said he could count on to come any time Chuck needed a little help getting out of a “situation.” To my surprise, Big Mike arrived at the door with a huge white stretch limo. As I watched the streets of the French Quarter fly by I asked Big Mike. “Why do you do stuff for Dr. Mary any time he asks?” wondering what he was getting in return. “He’s got good vitamins,” said Big Mike. And that said it all.