Dr. Ernesto Contreras, Sr. - In 1963, the late Ernesto Contreras, Sr., MD, opened the Oasis of Hope Hospital and initiated what would become a healing tradition known as the Total Care Approach. Dr. Contreras is recognized throughout the world as a pioneer in what has come to be known as holistic medicine. Dr. Contreras' Total Care Approach recognized that the physical disease that a patient had was intimately connected with their mental, emotional and spiritual condition, and that addressing these topics was often essential in order to heal the body. At the foundation of his philosophy were two principles inspired, respectively, by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and Jesus Christ, The Great Physician: 1) First, do no harm; and 2) Love your patient as you love yourself.
Because of his philosophy, Dr. Contreras taught his medical staff to never prescribe treatments that would destroy the quality of life of the patient. He also insisted that Oasis of Hope physicians offer only those therapies that they would be willing to take if they were in the same circumstances. His emphasis on the doctor-patient relationship, along with his integration of natural and conventional therapies with emotional and spiritual counseling, were the principle reasons why more than 100,000 patients from 55 nations have come to Oasis of Hope for treatment over the last 47 years.
Medicine is considered a science, but it is also called the medical "arts." Dr. Ernesto Contreras believed that good medicine was a blend of both science and art. In treating all of his patients, Dr. Contreras looked beyond what the lab results or images presented. He considered every patient as an inconceivably complex and subtle whole human being. He used his experience and intuition to determine the root needs of each patient, and customize therapy programs to address those needs.
Dr. Contreras' scientific zeal and unfailing professionalism made him a great doctor. He explored literally hundreds of therapies, never stopping to look for ways to improve Oasis of Hope's protocols. He was an inspiration to both his patients and his staff. It was his authentic, natural and deep compassion, however, that made him beloved by tens of thousands of patients and colleagues.
In 2003, at the age of 88, and after 62 years of medical practice, Dr. Contreras went on to be with the Lord. He made a tremendous contribution to mankind in creating Oasis of Hope as a model of integrative medicine, and as a platform for unceasing research to treat, control, reverse and ultimately prevent cancer. Today his son, medical director Dr. Francisco Contreras, and the entire medical, research and support staffs of the Oasis of Hope, feel proud and privileged to continue that legacy with the same energy, faith and compassion.