According to Dr Gin

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According to Dr Gin

By Tim Farley

Andy Gin knew early in life he wanted to be a doctor, so practicing medicine as a highly-respected neurologist the last 34 years has been a passion.

“If you’re lucky enough to figure out what your mission is…” he said, his voice trailing off into a different thought. “I help people make money in a legal, moral and ethical fashion, and I have fun doing it. I get people well so they can work.”

Indeed.

As a neurologist, Gin has worked with patients who exhibit a number of illnesses or disorders but none has been as complex or difficult to understand as epilepsy. By definition, epilepsy is a brain disorder in which a person has repeated seizures over time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that causes changes in attention or behavior.

Since epilepsy by its name carries an unwarranted social stigma, neurologists like Gin prefer to use the label seizure disorder.

“The practical matter is people black out from diabetes and heart disease just like people with seizure problems,” he said. “The stigma patients encounter is people think you will black out and kill somebody. Say a guy has a seizure; people don’t have that same empathy as if you say you have lung cancer or glaucoma. Epilepsy is a poorly accepted disorder by the public.”

According to Gin, research has proven some epilepsy cases are associated with genetically related diseases, and medications are better at controlling seizure disorders, but the stigma remains nevertheless.

“We didn’t have a lot of seizure meds until 20 years ago,” he said. “Now, we’re controlling the seizures better.”
But can an epilepsy patient be totally seizure-free?

“That’s the Holy Grail,” Gin said. “It’s a Pandora’s Box. The more you research something the more you want to know. The bottom line is epilepsy patients can live normal lives with some restrictions.”

More than medicine

Certainly, Gin has lived a normal life that extends beyond medicine. During the last 34 years, he’s become an entrepreneur, businessman, an adjunct faculty member at Oklahoma City University and a political candidate.
If that wasn’t enough, he continues to educate himself for business and practical reasons. Currently, he’s working on a degree in Predictive Analytics.

“I don’t need the degree as much as I do the information,” he admits. “Analytics is the next coming wave of what companies will gravitate toward in helping them achieve their goals.”

For Gin, the continuing education will benefit his outside business interests as much as his medical practice.

It seems medicine has consistently guided Gin into arenas he wouldn’t normally have entered. For instance, Gin and other officers from the Oklahoma Medical Association visited Oklahoma’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., several years ago to push for tort reform. The reception the physicians encountered was less than expected.

“It was clear that our delegation would not address tort reform on a national level,” Gin recalled.

So, he entered the 2004 Fifth District congressional race against incumbent Ernest Istook.

It turned out to be an eye-opening experience.

“I discovered entering politics has a very low threshold. It exposes friends who are not your friends and gains you friends you would never have thought about. You have friends who promise you a contribution but never make it. Then, the cool part is people you absolutely do not know say ‘I will support you to the max just because you’re running against that SOB,”’ Gin said, with a smile.

However, Gin wasn’t destined for a life of politics. He dropped out of the race before the election was held.
Gin laughs about the telephone call he took from former U.S. Senator Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) who was seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2004.

“He wanted me to set up an event for him in Oklahoma, something that he could make an appearance for. I was amazed when I answered the phone that he would be calling me,” Gin said.

But 2004 wasn’t Gin’s first foray with politicians. He actually grew up around some of Oklahoma’s political legends like former Gov. David Boren, former Oklahoma County Sheriff Bob Turner and former state Attorney General Larry Derryberry.

Those men and many others were regulars at his father’s restaurant, The Golden Pleasant, on N. May Avenue. Gin
attended Northwest Classen High School, which was across the street, so he oftentimes met many politicians who frequented the restaurant.

Although he has branched off into business, academia and politics, Gin always returns to medicine and his passion for helping others. Without a doubt, he found his mission.

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