I am still waiting for permission to print this… but I believe judging from the email I was sent the person who wrote it (who I shall keep hidden until I get the ok) wants it public.
Let me say that Bill Ryan and I met Dr. V when he contacted us because he admired our work. He had lots of money he believed he would one day gain access to in the Philippines. That day never came.
We went to lunch and he spoke eloquently for hours on all topics. He had been down the rabbit hole. I believe he said he worked for the CIA… at one time until they tried to kill him. That’s how he lost his legs.
We met him when he was already in a wheel chair. After that, I stayed in touch with him, for a while, then we lost touch and then got back in touch recently over a certain matter. He was charming, erudite and brilliant. He will be missed. And yes, I do suspect he was murdered. Likely over the Philippine money and related matters….
I was introduced to Dr. Michael at the Evergreen Hotel in Davao City. It was my second trip to Davao to promote the Kabir, an Israeli chicken I was establishing in the Philippines. The Evergreen’s owner was fascinated with my chickens, and told Dr. Michael about them. When Michael heard about the American and his chickens, he asked to be introduced to me.
The Dr. Michael I met was a neatly-dressed, well-groomed, gentleman, who moved with the power of a body-builder, the grace of a dancer, and the confidence of a man accustomed to command. Strikingly handsome, with sky-blue eyes that held one’s attention, he spoke with a high British accent. He joined me for dinner, where he probed me with questions about my life and purpose, and about my work in the Philippines. Finally, he explained that he needed to know if I was real before telling me about himself.
Dr. Michael was a man on mission. Once, he opened the Bible that was always near his bed, turning to a passage where God said he would reveal all the hidden wealth in the world, and restore it to the people. Dr. Michael told me that God had commissioned him to fulfill that promise, to relieve poverty, to renew the land, and to restore Creation to its intended state. In nearly every conversation with me, Dr. Michael found an opportunity to affirm his commitment to returning to the poor and oppressed that which had been taken from them. He was passionate about building a world network of teaching hospitals and vocational education centers, and engaged in an unrelenting search for the necessary resources.
Dr. Michael was a healer. The Evergreen Hotel’s owner told me that when his wife had cancer he took her to a series of oncologists, the best in Asia. After the specialists had done all they could, the cancer was pronounced incurable and in its final stages, and she was sent home to die. A guest in the family’s hotel, Dr. Michael, asked if he could help. Under his care this young wife and mother was restored to vibrant health. It was this family, in their Evergreen Hotel, who introduced me to Michael. In Davao Dr. Michael was the healer of last resort. There I saw a steady stream of people, from high and low circumstance, seeking his help.
When I returned to the United States I met and heard from many who had been touched by Dr. Michael, and was able to introduce others to him. In recent months, in central Mexico, our town mayor was told, after years of medical care, that her leukemia was finally beyond treatment, and that she would not live many months longer. Dr. Michael responded to my call, sending rare materials and a protocol. Within six months this young woman’s blood count was normal, and recent tests reveal no evidence of leukemia.
Dr. Michael gave freely. I never knew him to charge for his services, neither his time nor his out-of-pocket costs.
Dr. Michael healed himself. He meditated daily, did regular exercise and strength training, and prepared his own food in the hotel kitchen. At age sixty-four he would bound up four stories of stairway to his room, with no accelerated breathing.
After breakfast one fateful day, we parted ways. Dr. Michael, formally attired in a 3-piece suit, went to a meeting, while I took care of business related to the rural youth center I was building. We agreed to meet again an hour later, to discuss a rural development proposal that had been handed to Dr. Michael.
Less than an hour later, I was stepping out of my room when I heard the explosion. I ran down the hall, turning two corners, and arriving at Dr. Michael’s room within seconds. Heavy black smoke and extreme heat were pouring out of his door. Two streams of blood led me away from his door and down the stairway. Several flights down I saw two men dragging the corners of a bed sheet in which the body was wrapped. On the street a red pickup truck was waiting, into which the body was dumped. As the body fell out of the sheet, the Dr. Michael I saw looked absolutely like a well-burned road kill, with limbs twisted at impossible angles. The pickup truck sped off through the heavy traffic, and out of sight.
A few hours later, after initial surgery, the attending plastic surgeon met me in the hall at Doctor’s Hospital, Davao’s finest. The surgeon informed me that the patient had sustained third-degree burns, much of it full-thickness, over forty-eight percent of his body, had severe burns of his mouth and throat, had inhaled and ingested flame-retarding chemicals, had lost the lower portion of both legs, and would probably lose his left arm. The damage was far beyond the threshold for human survival. That the patient still lived was miraculous, he said, but the attending physicians had no expectation that he would survive much longer.
When Dr. Michael was returned to his room, he was wrapped in gauze from top to bottom, with only a space for pulmonary and stomach tubes, and just his right ear, arm and hand free. (Think “The Invisible Man”!) He immediately signaled with his free hand that he wished to write. I put a pen in his hand and held a legal pad on which he scribbled, “Better to be a live dog than a dead lion!” Over those difficult days, by writing humor and showing a personal interest in each person attending him, he kept everyone in his environment in a positive attitude. Dr. Michael wrote instructions to his attending physicians, many quite unconventional, but all exhibiting a deep knowledge of trauma medicine. He did not lose consciousness, always refused anesthesia, and never appeared to sleep. He insisted upon inserting his own breathing and feeding tubes, and dictated his own healing diet. On the third day, one doctor told me, “We don’t know who he is, but we are learning much from this man.” Although he credited me with saving his life, ultimately it was Dr. Michael himself who was responsible for his survival.
After more than a decade of special friendship, I am deeply saddened to learn of Dr. Michael’s passing. My own life is diminished by this loss. I offer my condolences to Dr. Michael’s family and all those who were true friends.–from a friend of a friend, to be revealed once permission is received
He will be missed.