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KENNETH DECK, MD, San Juan Capistrano

I read with interest the guest opinion from Dr. Michelle Hure regarding the City Council’s approval of adding an In-N-Out establishment in San Juan Capistrano. Dr. Hure extensively describes her ability to diagnose and treat patients, and how one must take into consideration all of the data before making a diagnosis because it will not only affect the patient but the entire family.

“A good physician will look at all of the evidence and treat the patient holistically.” I found this to be worthy of commentary. While I have little background in holistic medicine per se, I do have extensive training in traditional medicine. Without going into my extensive background as Dr. Hure felt necessary to do, I have been a physician in Orange County since 1980. I am a board-certified general surgeon, with fellowships in vascular and breast surgery. I also was very involved in the initial implementation of the trauma center at Mission Community Hospital.

With that background, I am compelled to describe how a physician makes a diagnosis and proposes treatment. Having treated thousands of cancer patients over a professional lifetime spanning 40 years, I fully realize how decisions can affect not only the patient’s life but many others. While one “cannot marry a test,” if a mammogram tells a physician that a patient has breast cancer, one certainly cannot ignore this and just “trust your gut.”

I think her comments about the City Council and the individuals performing the traffic study are both disingenuous  and disrespectful. She states the traffic study was flawed but gives no evidence to support that comment. I sat in a meeting listening for 45 minutes to the traffic study, how extensive it was, discussions how the traffic would be impacted compared to other local In-N-Out sites, how the outside eating area will be so much larger, and so on. I believe in our elected City Council members, and to insinuate that they would look no further than a single study to make this decision is just wrong.

It is highly objectionable that Dr. Hure and her approach to medicine should illustrate how to guide our city planning. In looking at her web site it says she specializes in chemical peels, antiaging treatments, acne and eyebrow treatments, and other cosmetic procedures. I am not sure how much of “gut decision-making” is involved in aesthetic medicine, and I suggest the members of the City Council and Traffic Commission deserve an apology. There is no question that they had an arduous task, and I believe they took their jobs seriously.  I am confident that when all was said and done, they relied on more than just “their gut.”

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comments (3)

  • Ad hominem hit pieces like this, one physician not only cherrypicking regarding the facts (Dr. Hure’s thought processes and credentials), but demeaning another professional tells us a lot about this person.
    Since you’re quoted as telling your patients to please call you “Ken,” so I will too.
    First, an online search reveals that you only gets 2.5 stars out of 5 rated by your patients:
    Next, Dr. Hure gets 5 stars out of 5 at YELP . So maybe these patients ratings reveal just whom exactly excels? I do know that a lot of the attendees at the San Juan Coffee chat trust her judgment, and many have admitted to being patients.
    Second, Ken, did you know that a lot of your major civic leaders and community influencers are her patients? I’ve personally heard Vice Mayor Hart and Councilman Taylor openly admit that.
    3rd, your City Manager is a neighbor of mine, is fair skinned like myself, and we discovered to our mutual surprise in a chat on the street that we both were patients of hers, both trust her judgment.
    An online search reveals that (then) Mayor Taylor last December awarded her the Business of the Year honor, plus my research reveals that she’s been awarded (by other County-wide physicians) Dermatopathologist of the Year over numerous years.
    And how disengenuous of you, to demean her by solely focusing upon the dermatology aspect of her practice: She’s also an MD, and dermatopathologists are in a much more rarified skill set job than dermatologists. Guess you either didn’t know that or intentionally chose to ignore her credentials? What don’t you know and when didn’t you know it?
    Did you intentionally leave that out, her stellar diagnostic capacity and history? No you diminished her, a woman who has become successful in a male-dominated field, medicine.
    I find no such prestigious awards as voted upon by other physicians in your portfolio. In practice for nearly 50 years, I think you must be pushing 80, so maybe that old school mindset, You know, when women stayed at home and baked cookies instead of speaking up is pretty much how you’re wired, ingrained in your thinking?
    I AM a professional in the land use and environmental analysis field, look me up at LINKEDIN and I’ve posted a lot of comments here in the CD (thank you Collin Breaux), this project has a lot of serious flaws, the Traffic Circulation Study just one of many fatally flawed inputs.
    So when you sat for 45 minutes and watched/heard it discussed, that was a brief, short term analysis (polaroid shot) under anomalous Covid conditions late last year: Delta raging and Omicron surging., you were seeing a snapshot under unusua , not typical conditions (under circulation stress during normal vehicular use peak hours).
    And you have no OJT or expertise in my field.
    As REM sang, “What’s Your Frequency, Kenny?” so why are you attacking a pillar of your own community?
    You’ve smeared, slandered a fellow physician, possibly affecting her sole proprietor business it’s taken her years to develop, and what did you gain from it?

  • Wow, I am very honored that my humble and respectful opinion as a resident and business owner has garnered such rebuke and ire from the powers that be. I must be onto something! How easy would it have been to simply ignore my column and let the ball keep rolling? No, we can’t have even one ounce of opposition against this decision that might cast a shadow of doubt on the altruism of the members of council who had to do “the right thing”. Instead, they felt it necessary to find someone, anyone, to try to disparage me and my opinion.

    Dr. Deck, who makes it a point to impart “equality and mutual respect” to his patients according to his website, doesn’t feel that should apply to anyone else who disagrees with him or his puppet masters. He clearly didn’t even bother to read my column, which states that things like “cancer and such aside” were obvious diagnoses that didn’t apply to what I was writing about.

    Perhaps Dr. Deck doesn’t understand the art of medicine as he is a surgeon. Many people may not realize that specializing in surgery means that not even one year of clinical medicine like internal medicine, family medicine or any other specialty is required that didn’t involve cutting a body open. But I digress. Let’s assume he’s wonderful, then he should know that physicians should look at the whole patient and make the best decision based on all the evidence and the patient’s personal situation. Not sure how “holistic” is a bad thing. Is he trying to connote that I’m an alternative medicine pseudo doctor using essential oils and reiki? Maybe his type of traditional medicine could benefit from a small dose of holism.

    Poor Dr. Deck doesn’t even understand dermatology or dermatopathology as specialties. Most of my practice is medical dermatology and I deal with diagnosing and treating cancer on a daily basis. The wonderful world of dermatology means that we take care of all aspects of hair, skin, and nails. Dr. Deck, do you make your patients feel bad if they want breast augmentation because you consider “aesthetic medicine” less deserving?

    He makes one point that I agree with, I owe an apology. I apologize for caring about my community and trying to make my voice heard. I apologize for respectfully questioning the powers that be. I apologize for making sure I stayed above the fray and did not attempt to personally disparage anyone. I apologize for loving my city and trying to get involved. I apologize for being a strong, opinionated, female, professional, business owner trying to do what I feel is right. Just kidding…I don’t apologize for any of that.

    It still doesn’t change the fact that we need a traffic study that accurately reflects the current state of affairs of the area. The study should look at the current traffic flow at similar franchise locations that are “off the 5 fwy” instead of the two unrepresentative locations used, the OCSD traffic accidents on the routes in question and take the Target traffic into account since it wasn’t open when the study was conducted. This also comes down to the safety of our children walking across Ortega at El Camino Real during school pickup. With so many near misses during the morning without high traffic, how will it be during lunch time with the egress flow using that street to get back to the freeway?

    That is all I’m asking to have addressed prior to approval. How is that such a problem to warrant all this negativity?

  • I am disappointed with the tone of this letter.. Neighbors can have honest disagreements but remain respectful of each other. While I disagree with Dr. Hure on this matter, I know her from personal experience to be an outstanding dermopathologist and a trusted advisor on many other issues. I would hope that we can move forward as a community foregoing such unwarranted personal attacks.

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