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Doug  Lindsay

Doug Lindsay

Innovation Keynote Speaker on Hope & Character, ePatient & Filmmaker


Now a successful and inspirational speaker on leadership, innovation, and problem solving, Doug Lindsay realized seven years into the illness that left him homebound for 11 years that his future hinged on just one thing: Could he develop a successful surgery to treat his own rare disease and build the medical team to pull it off? In one of the most incredible stories of ingenuity, leadership, and perseverance you’ll ever hear, Doug will tell you how he did just that. Esteemed as a speaker for his authenticity and humor, in his talks Doug shares the secrets he learned about the skills it takes to make unlikely things happen. Read More >

Doug Lindsay got sick at 21 with an unknown debilitating illness that forced him to drop out of college. He spent the next 11 years homebound and bed bound, researching his condition from a hospital bed in his living room. Despite being a college dropout who was physically disabled and had a learning disability, Doug investigated his own case until he figured out what was wrong, developed novel treatments to keep his rare autonomic-adrenal condition at bay, and eventually developed the innovative adrenal surgery doctors used to fix him.

Over his 14-year medical odyssey, Doug developed new uses for five existing prescription drugs and worked with 35 senior faculty from 28 different institutions. Now recovered, Doug has stunned and delighted audiences from the TEDx stage, at Stanford Medicine X, at Harvard Medical School, at Health Datapalooza, and nationally at conferences and corporate events.

Doug also has a Personal Medical Consultant service that works to help a small number of rare disease and complex condition patients who find themselves trapped in the medical system. He’s chairman of Washington University in St. Louis’s Community Advisory Board for the Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences and the Institute for Public Health. And Doug also wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the full-length comedic feature film RUFF CASES, where he stars as “The Dog Attorney” Max Spikeman and plays opposite a diverse cast of models, comedians, performers, and animals – including the World’s Smallest Horse, Thumbelina. Read Less ^

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

The Art of Impossible & the Science of Unknown

In “The Art of Impossible and the Science of Unknown” Doug takes you through the toughest emotional moments and the thorniest scientific obstacles that threatened his life and stood between him and regaining his health during the 11 years he spent homebound, suffering from a mysterious debilitating illness. This talk is an experience! Full of astounding moments and unforgettable wisdom. Few people have spent over a decade bed bound, developed their own surgery to fix themselves, developed new uses for five existing prescription drugs, regained their life… and can tell you what it took to do all of that with wit, humor, energy, and charm. Doug can.

Bet on Hope

From gurus to bosses, the list of people are legion who’ll shout themselves hoarse telling you “Hope isn’t a strategy.” But that does nothing to tell you what hope is or how it can power your efforts to solve your most important problems and challenges. In “Bet on Hope,” Doug shares the amazing story of his 14-year medical odyssey that culminated in him developing the surgery doctors used to fix him. From there, he explains what hope is and then shows you specific situations where anything other than hope would have left him still bed bound or long dead. Hope doesn’t change the facts, it doesn’t change the odds of something happening, but it does change your assessment of things and of what is possible… and that’s the first step to solving any problem.

How to Measure Whether You’re Truly Doing Your Best

Doug Lindsay was homebound and bed bound for 11 years. For four of those years, Doug knew he needed a surgery. Every day he asked himself two questions: You need a surgery; why aren’t you calling the surgeons? And if you’re not calling them, how can you say you’re truly doing your best? The answer to the first question was that he was developing the surgery he needed because it didn’t exist. Doug’s answer to the second question was a boon of wisdom for anyone tackling big challenges. Doug developed a tool that lets anyone measure whether they’re truly doing their best. In this talk, he’ll share it with you.

Lessons from Leading Models, Doctors & the World’s Smallest Horse

How do you lead your betters? Doug was a sick, disabled, homebound college dropout who – over the course of his 14-year medical odyssey – worked with some of the world’s top doctors, scientists, and academics, so he’ll explain.  Further, how did working with doctors and scientists help him lead first-time actors when he directed and starred in the quirky comedic feature film RUFF CASES? Doug will share with you the one thing that enables a leader to lead up the ladder and down… all the way down to 17 inches tall, like Thumbelina, the World’s Smallest Horse and one of the stars RUFF CASES. In this entertaining talk, Doug explains.

Your Grandma Lied to You

Doug Lindsay got sick at 21 and spent 11 years homebound and bed bound until he got the two innovative surgeries he developed to treat his own rare, disabling autonomic-adrenal condition. After Doug got his health back in his 30s, he went back to finish college. In this talk, based on his 2017 Commencement speech of the same name, Doug will explain why recent grads become disillusioned and what to do about it. He’ll also explain why colleges are special and how he was able to lead his superiors – some of the world’s top academics, scientists, and doctors – to bring about the medical miracle surgery that took him from wheelchair back to walking.