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How APB Speaker Doug Lindsay Invented His Own Surgery

29 Jun 2023

How APB Speaker Doug Lindsay Invented His Own Surgery

What happens when you have a mysterious illness that leaves you so weak that you’re confined to a hospital bed at just 21 years old? If you are APB Speaker Doug Lindsay, you find a cure yourself, including inventing your own surgery.

Lindsay was recently the featured guest on fellow APB Speaker David Pogue’s podcast Unsung Science, where he shared his journey. The podcast from Pogue, an Emmy-winning CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, Nova host and former New York Times columnist, features untold stories of mind-blowing achievements in science and tech.

Lindsay spent his childhood taking care of his mother and aunt. Both suffered from an unknown disease that left them too weak to leave the house or walk up the stairs. Doctors had no idea what was wrong. Lindsay started having the same symptoms. He had to quit school and spent the next 11 years mostly confined to a hospital bed with no answers from the doctors.

Instead of giving up, though, Lindsay began researching on his own to find out what was wrong. “So even though I was bedbound 22 hours a day and could walk only 50 feet, I decided to take control,” Lindsay said. “I would partner with the doctors, sure, but where answers eluded us, I would take the lead, and I would tackle my problem like a scientist.”

Lindsay spent every minute reading medical and scientific journals. He said when he realized the medical system didn’t have a plan for him or his family, he made one for them—researching their conditions and collaborating with doctors and scientists.

Lindsay worked with 35 senior faculty at 28 institutions trying to learn what was wrong. He developed new uses for five existing prescription drugs and two successful, innovative adrenal surgeries.

All of his work took Lindsay from a wheelchair to walking and back to school. His mom, who doctors predicted only had six months, lived another eight years because of his research. And his aunt is healthier now because Lindsay developed a new use for an old drug for her case. “My aunt is now healthier in her seventies than she was in her thirties because of that same new use for an old drug,’ Lindsay said. “She ties her own shoes. She drives a car. She can sit on an exercise bike. And so she’s living a life that she never believed was possible.”

+Learn More About Doug Lindsay

+Learn More About David Pogue