Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Yes it's true, the Medicine Man and his Wife have both returned to the Seattle area.

Alex has started a new position as an outpatient based pediatrician at Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) at their Canyon Park, Bothell clinic.

He's also already written an article about surviving seasonal allergies in Seattle and appeared on Q13 FOX for a quick TV spot!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Year Long Departure...

Follow the Medicine Man's latest adventures as he travels and works over-seas in Japan!

I'm sad to be leaving Seattle after living in the Greenlake and Pinehurst areas for the past 3 1/2 years, but a great contract position for pediatrics opened up working at NAF Atsugi that Heidi and I couldn't pass up.

Let's hope it's a great year long adventure!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

News from my Local Paper

The Herald, while not actually my local paper, is a the news paper that covers the Everett and Snohomish County area (one of my primary work locations.)  Thursday's Feb 7th, 2013 had a collection of some very best and interesting articles that I've seen in a single day's collection in quite some time:

1. Postal Service to end Saturday mail delivery in August - NO!!!!!  As we all know how much I love the mail system! (#2)
    a. Along with it's first corollary that Ending Saturday mail affects ballot returns in state.
    b. At least someone stands to benefit, as Saturday mail cut is good news for Netflix

2. Changes to one of Atlantic City's most beloved game pieces: with the recent FB poll for the game of Monopoly.  Here's a hint =>   >^..^<

3. Big Win for those who love the outdoors and work towards local and national land conservation efforts! Welcome Sally Jewell to the Department of the Interior.

Note: I'm still, and most likely will always, be confused over how the National Parks (DOI), National Forests (DOAg), Fish and Wildlife Services (DOI), National Wilderness (DOI), and Bureau of Land Management (DOI) all work and play together.

4. A quick recap in the Herald from a piece in The Bellingham Herald that supports 1st amendment rights as Gun sign alarms some.  

5. Practice your coin tossing skills, as it could make the difference in a City Council selection.

6. Home plan designs from the AP for a "Net-Zero Energy Consumption" home.

7. Even Ziggy has a commentary on the American healthcare system:

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Monday, January 21, 2013

Never Shall the TWAIN Meet

Having found the wonders and joys of the Neat Receipt portable scanner, I decided to explore the options of it's full capabilities and stretch my ideas to the digital limit.

Heidi was able to use Image Capture after just a click of the button and scan in COLOR and at 600 dpi!!!!  Her documents looked great!  I, on the other hand, was first limited to B&W and at 300 dpi by using the Neat software package (so far really the best way to keep receipts organized for tax and accounting/business purposes.)

I was NOT to be defeated by a Mac and so tried to use Nitro Pro 8 to scan in color and boost up my dots per inch!

Attempt 1: I received a "Failed to load TWAIN data sources" message and was instructed to re-install the program.  Stupid "technology without an important name" sitting between me and my impressive, but not imperative, dream of being able to scan in old high school awards and news paper clippings:

But which program should I tackle first to correct this fatal error?

Surly my Nitro Pro 8 was not the cause as with all it's wonders, I am able to: 1. open pdf files, 2. combine different pdf documents into one lager pdf, and 3. even save just the pages I wanted within a larger pdf file.

So it must have been my Neat scanner/software.... however everything else with scanning and detecting receipts, documents  and contacts from business cards worked perfectly (but only in B&W and at lower then optimal scan quality.)

Through tireless searching I found the solution!  Don't uninstall or re-install anything. Instead, delete the folders that had "Neat" from "C:\WINDOWS\TWAIN_32" and leave your "C:\WINDOWS\TWAIN_64" files alone.

Attempt 2: SOLVED!  Take that Mr. Samuel L Clemens!

Scans in color and at 600 dpi look great with Nitro Pro 8 and I'm able to save files as I choose, with OCR for better searching.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Friday, December 28, 2012

An Open Letter to the US Army Corps of Engineers. RE: Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point

The US Army Corps of Engineers held an open, public, hearing on December 13th, 2012, in conjunction with the Department of Ecology and with representatives from Whatcom County in regards to the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point and how an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Scoping Process could look going forward.  

As a Board Member for Washington Physicians' for Social Responsibility, I gave a 2 minute professional testimony asking to expand the EIS scope to include impacts of personal and public health. To see my speech jump to 2:47:45

Here is the text of my speech: 

Hello, I’m Alex Hamling, a pediatrician in the Seattle area and a Board Member of Washington Physician’s For Social Responsibility. 

I’m here to ask for an increase in scope of the Health Impact Assessment regarding the coal export from the Cherry Point terminal in Whatcom County. 

The coal export terminal would degrade community health by increasing pulmonary, cardiac, cancer, and safety risks because of the diesel particulate matter, coal dust, and noise exposure. U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has shown that coal dust exposures at high levels and for prolonged periods of time in coal miners has been linked to increased cases of bronchitis, emphysema, and black lung disease. 

The increased train traffic, and the amount of coal being transported will negatively impact local homes and business with the coal dust deposits. The areas affected are vast: locally they include the Downtown Seattle waterfront, Hiram Chittenden Locks, and Golden Gardens.

There is also a risk for localized pollution to air, surface water, groundwater, and soil in communities ranging from Wyoming to China where coal extraction, transportation, and combustion take place. Under-represented communities including the Nooksack River valley would be affected with increased exposure to coal dust from trains.

The coal trains have a negative health impact on people and also on the local ecosystems in Whatcom County.  There will be increased stresses on endemic herring in Bellingham Bay, which are an at risk keystone species in the Salish Sea food web. There is risk of contaminating the composition of topsoil within 0.62 miles of Cherry Point terminal, caused by upwards of ~20% coal by weight. Local water sources could be adversely affected by the potential of introducing invasive species when barges empty ballast water at Cherry Point.

I worry that these facts conflict with the values of the community and further that we all have a civic responsibility to the communities of which we are an intricate part. 

There is real harm related to the impacts on the local environment and economy, community health, and social equity that should not be overlooked. 

Thank you,

Alex Hamling

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex

Thursday, October 25, 2012

WPSR Community Forums for Health Professionals

Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility 
Engaging the community to create a healthy, peaceful and sustainable world.
You’re Invited! 
Join WPSR health professionals, friends, family, and colleagues for a unique health forum:

“Critical News & Views: Preventing Environment Related Disease”
Thursday, November 15     
4:45 – 7:00 pm
Ramblin Jack’s, 520 East 4th AveOlympia, WA

Expect brief & lively presentations on the latest research and implications for practice by WPSR and our Olympia partners. Light appetizers, spirits & spirited discussion on the issues WPSR supports:

  • Why multiple coal trains in the state of Washington may be harmful to human health
  • How we can protect children from exposure to toxic chemicals in their environment 
  • Why nuclear power plants are a threat to public health
  • How some Washington hospitals are leading the healthy food revolution 
We are delighted to offer this program to the Olympia community! RSVP’s welcome: mary@wpsr.org.  

Hosted By:

Alex Hamling, MD, MBA, Board Member and Tracy Bier, M ED, Executive Director, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

Evan Hirsch, MD, ABIHM, Hirsch Holistic Family Medicine                                          

Beth Doglio, Campaign Director, Climate Solutions

Edward Cates, MD, Pioneer Family Medicine

1604 NE 50th Street, Seattle WA 98105 ~ Phone: 206.547.2630  ~  www.wpsr.org

Friday, October 5, 2012

Marking the passing of Sebastian and Colonel

I call your attention, for this evening and tomorrow morning will mark the farewell passing and final rights of Heidi's and I's two beloved chickens: Sebastian and Colonel.
Sebastian with his butt facing you! 

Colonel on her roost pole and peaking out from the way back! 

These two chickens represent one third of the new influx of six pullets that we raised through their "teenage" years as the matured into their "adult" life and development of their chicken personalities.

Seeing how this is our second round of pullets, with the first ending in 4 out of 4 being hens that remarkably walked, talked, and acted like roosters and all headed back to Vashon Island, Heidi and I were immediately suspicious about Sebastian.  With good foresight, we named him with a HIM name!  He just always had that "rooster" look over his smug beak.

As we know, here in Seattle, "roosters are not permitted" and must be dealt with accordingly; even if the day you decide to do the deed is the day prior to your wedding.  For more ideas about what is permitted and not permitted, I'll direct your readings towards the Seattle Municipal Code, Title 23 - Land Use Code.
Ariel and Billina (alive and well!)

Not having the expertise on dispatching live animals, there was a mighty battle that lead to the subduing of the crowing Sebastian.  His fresh carcass promptly went into the freezer after being double bagged, while Heidi and I headed off to our "Non-rehearsal Rehearsal Dinner" at Mamma Melina:

Dr. Alex and Heidi at our "Non-rehearsal Rehearsal Dinner."

For weeks Seb remained alone in his cold dark tomb until last week when Colonel joined him after she had a presumed and unfortunate neck injury that never healed well.  For the past two weeks, Colonel had a  constant creak in her neck and was unable to walk.  Eventually, despite setting up water and feed bowls close to her beak she was unable to successfully heal and we had to do what was right for her too.

Go figure! Here in King County there are handy guidelines on how to dispose of dead fowl:
     1. "Individual dead birds weighing less than 15 pounds can be disposed of in the household garbage. Place the bird in two sealed plastic bags."
     2. "A bird weighing less than 15 pounds may also be buried on the owners' property. But disposal in the garbage is usually a better option to avoid predators digging up the carcass."

We chose option 1, and this action will be carried about the time the sun rises this morning.

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Alex