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How One Medical Breakthrough Changed My Career Path

Dennis Diaz, managing partner at Ketamine Health Centers

My daily agenda consists of running a business and saving lives. No, I am not a superhero; but in my medical career, I always had an itch to unite my entrepreneurial spirit with the ability to make a difference through healthcare.

After spending years working in South Florida hospitals as a certified registered nurse anesthetist, I was finally able to accomplish this dream. Through the revolutionary use of ketamine infusion therapy treatment for individuals suffering from mental and chronic pain conditions, I co-founded Ketamine Health Centers.

I was familiar with ketamine. It has long been used as a general anesthetic to help prevent pain and discomfort during medical procedures. In fact, it was adopted in hospitals nearly 50 years ago when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ketamine anesthesia for use with adults and the elderly. Furthermore, since 1985, The World Health Organization has maintained ketamine as an “essential medicine,” among the safest and most efficacious products known to science.

Despite its primary use for anesthetic purposes, I was intrigued by the studies that revealed the positive impact low-doses of ketamine, administered intravenously, has in treating a variety of mental and chronic pain conditions, such as depression, suicidal ideation, PTSD, OCD, Fibromyalgia and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. This breakthrough drug, which was recently featured on the cover of TIME magazine, has been helping the once hopeless regain their lives and the balance between their mind, body and soul.

Knowing this, I saw an opportunity to relieve the millions of Americans affected by these conditions. Depression alone is the leading disability in the nation, impacting more than 16 million people in the U.S. every day. Yet, studies reveal that 30 percent of patients taking antidepressants are resistant to these medications. Additionally, it may take four to six weeks until they experience relief, whereas ketamine infusions provide relief within hours.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average, there are 121 suicides per day. The immediate need to treat this growing demographic is what led me to delve into my entrepreneurial inclinations and, in partnership with some of the best medical professionals in the city, to develop an official business plan that offers ketamine infusion therapy throughout Miami’s medical market.

Ketamine Health Centers is the only full-service health center in South Florida dedicated to ketamine infusion therapy via the joint expertise of board-certified anesthesiologist Dr. Raul Cruz and psychiatrist Dr. Francisco Cruz – both partners in the practice. We are committed to delivering long-term solutions that incorporate ketamine infusions with a holistic, multidisciplinary approach. The practice has seen outstanding success rates of more than 80 percent effectiveness – higher than the national average.

Many more clinics are emerging throughout the nation as ketamine infusion continues to gain nationwide recognition. What sets us apart from them is that we actively implement psychotherapy into our patient’s plan for recovery, led by Dr. Francisco Cruz. He has an extensive background in general psychiatry and addiction medicine; and through psychotherapy, our patients can begin their journey of healing and mental recovery.

Combined with psychotherapy is Dr. Raul Cruz’s decade of expertise as a practicing anesthesiologist; each ketamine infusion that our patients receive is overseen by him in a medically-monitored setting. He's treated individuals with depression, anxiety, PTSD and neuropathic pain syndromes.

Ketamine is changing lives. We’re still at a loss for words when patients tell us that ketamine has helped them form a positive outlook on life. It’s an indication that our job has just begun, and we need to continue providing a real and tangible solution for patients to live their lives without restrictions.

About the author: Dennis Diaz is the managing partner at Ketamine Health Centers, a full-service health center based in Miami, Florida. KHC is a pioneer in ketamine infusion therapy via joint expertise of a board-certified anesthesiologist, and psychiatrist.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Sammi Caramela.

Image Credit: Ketamine Health Centers