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Doug  Lindsay

Doug Lindsay

Inspiring Innovator & Transformational Thought Leader

Doug Lindsay

Inspiring Innovator & Transformational Thought Leader


“Doug’s presentation mesmerized not only me, but the crowds. His presentation style is as captivating as his incredible story; smart, funny, down to earth and very motivational. We all walked away from his presentation remembering to never stop trying, never stop believing and to never give up.” -American Health Information Management Association

"I cannot imagine anyone who won't be inspired by this story. He is a great choice for sales launches and meetings!" -Director of Learning and Development Solutions for TGaS Advisors

“Your live presentation that conveyed your personal journey was well-received and showed us what happens when 'Reimagine, Reinvent, and Reinvest' is a priority for improving oneself. By sharing your personal experiences during your presentation, we are sure everyone is feeling more inspired than ever to improve patient lives through the work they do with our organization. Once again, thank you for sharing your personal and inspiring journey with us!" -NCPDP

CNN Health’s top story of 2019, Doug Lindsay is a standing ovation TEDx speaker who inspires audiences to take on seemingly impossible challenges with hope, innovation and perseverance. His against-all-odds success story of inventing his own surgery to cure his extremely rare medical condition has attracted the attention of movie producers, patients, and organizations seeking to develop the skills and mindset to innovate and achieve transformational change. Enthralling audiences with his remarkable life experiences, Doug has spoken at venues ranging from the medical schools at Harvard and Stanford to nationally recognized conferences and association meetings — always winning high marks for his ability to inspire, motivate and champion the power of hope.

Doug’s incredible 14-year medical odyssey, celebrated in CNN Health’s top story of 2019, began in 1999. The 21-year-old biology major suffered a mysterious and extremely debilitating illness that defied diagnosis and baffled specialist after specialist. So weak that he could not stand for more than a few minutes, Doug spent the next 11 years homebound, bedridden, and fiercely determined to take control. Working from a hospital bed in his living room, he dedicated his life to finding the answers that had eluded the experts. He poured through medical textbooks and journals, immersed himself in research, and saw endocrinologists, neurologists and other specialists. His breakthrough finally came while reviewing an old medical textbook. Zeroing in on the adrenal glands, Doug theorized that his condition was related to the autonomic nervous system. He presented this hypothesis from his wheelchair at the American Autonomic Society’s annual conference, earning the attention of Dr. Cecil Coghlan of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who later agreed to take his case. After scanning Doug’s adrenal glands, Dr. Coghlan diagnosed bilateral adrenal medullary hyperplasia, a condition so rare, there were only 32 recorded cases and no documented treatment or cure. Ever hopeful, Doug became convinced that removing the part of his adrenal glands that was overproducing adrenaline would be his cure — only to learn that such a surgery was considered impossible. Undaunted, he continued his research, eventually developing a brand-new surgery based on obscure research conducted decades earlier on dogs. Finally, after a total of 11 years of patient-led research and collaboration, working with 35 senior faculty at 28 different institutions, developing new uses for five existing prescription drugs and winning a national case for patients’ rights, Doug underwent the surgery that he had invented. Within a matter of days, he went from wheelchair to walking and eventually, on to a normal life.

Underlying Doug’s quest is a universal and highly motivational message: Almost nothing is impossible. Believing that almost any obstacle can be overcome, he shares the skills to tackle problems like a scientist, take control, take the lead, and take on the impossible with imagination, innovation, and creativity. His talks and workshops leave audiences invigorated by the power of hope and perseverance — inspired, empowered, and ready to take on any goal or challenge.

Speaker Videos

TEDx: Operation: Adrenal Gland

Ruff Cases Trailer

Meet Doug Lindsay

Create Your Own Data

Inventing Surgery

How to Give it Your All, Fail, Live with That... Until Your Win!


Speech Topics

Going from Impossible to Possible

How do you achieve a goal that people tell you is impossible? How do you harness the power of hope to defy all odds? At TEDx, Doug Lindsay received a rousing standing ovation when he shared his incredible story of faith, perseverance, innovative thinking over adversity, and saving his own life. His saga later went on to become CNN Health’s story of the year. Asserting that you must face obstacles with the conviction that they can be overcome, Doug shares how to “think like a scientist” to solve any problem. His highly motivational insights leave audiences inspired to take on challenges. After all, as Doug’s remarkable story demonstrates, almost no challenge is impossible — it’s all a matter of whether you let it control you or you choose to control it.

Bet on Hope: Viewing Innovation & Disruption in a Different Light

In our rapidly changing world, most people see innovation within the context of disruption — there are winners, losers, those that fall behind and those who leap ahead. Doug Lindsay sees innovation in a totally different light: through the lens of hope. Hope, as he sees it, means being open to change, believing that any problem is solvable and that any challenge can be overcome. It is this hopeful mindset that drives creative vision and breakthrough innovation. Using his own odds-beating story as a dramatic example of achieving the seemingly impossible, Doug examines your organization’s specific challenges or goals. Then, he lays out solutions and strategies that bet on hope as the key driver of success.

How Effective Patient Advocacy & Collaboration Saved My Life

During his 14 years as a patient leading groundbreaking research that eventually cured his extremely rare medical condition, Doug Lindsay collaborated with 35 senior faculty at 28 institutions. He also developed new uses for five prescription drugs and won a national court case protecting patients’ rights. Now an inspiring advocate for patients, including those with rare conditions, he shares the invaluable skills and strategies to productively and collaboratively engage your healthcare team in care and treatment. Telling the story of how he saved his own life by inventing a surgery for “Lindsay Syndrome,” Doug emphasizes the importance of collaborative healthcare partnerships.

Never Give Up: The Power of Hope & Perseverance

From solving the opioid crisis to breaking the cycle of poverty, organizations helping others face insurmountable challenges. According to Doug Lindsay, there is a powerful strategy for overcoming any challenge:  perseverance, powered by hope. In this inspiring speech for social services, healthcare and community organizations, Doug tells his amazing story of inventing the surgery that saved his life — a story with lessons for anyone determined to make things happen because lives are on the line. Sharing how to cultivate a mindset that sees any problem as solvable, Doug celebrates the power of hope and perseverance in overcoming seemingly impossible odds.