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Old 04-06-2012, 12:09 AM   #1
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19Ed74 HB User
Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

Hello everyone, new to this site and I would just like to thank everyone for sharing their experiences.

This is my experience......

I had an Anterior Spinal Fusion L5-S1 7wks ago.
In the hospital I was fed the night of the surgery (steak and potatoes) which led to severely painful complications and caused me to spend an extra night in the hospital. Thank god that was all that happened, I was informed it could have led to a colostomy bag if things would not have improved. The nurse also decided I no longer needed the Morphine drip I was receiving the night of my surgery. By the time the Doctor showed up the next morning I was in very bad shape. He apologized that the nursing staff fed me and reconnected my morphine drip which took over an hour to start to help with the unbearable pain I was in.

I have only seen the doctor one (1) time-two (2) weeks after the surgery. He has cancelled every appointment since then and has not returned any of my phone calls since that meeting. I am currently taking very low level pain medication that is barley helping with the pain. Two (2) out of the three (3) times I have called for a refill of my medication the prescription was not called in for almost two (2) days. This means I had to go without medication that I desperately needed and was forced to suffer needlessly.

He released me to go back to work lite duty four (4) weeks after my surgery. I had to talk him into giving me two (2) more weeks of recovery time. I tried to return to work on Monday six (6) weeks after surgery and lasted two (2) days. I had to leave work because I can barley walk due to my extreme back pain. I am also numb from the waist down for the last four (4) days.

I have called my doctor for the last five (5) days trying to get him to reconsider sending me back to work which obviously never happened and to schedule an appointment to access my pain level which has increased to a consistent 8 on the pain scale.

Overall this has been a terrible experience.
Reading about what a lot of you have gone thru really helped me come to terms with what I am going thru.

What I would really like to know is:

1) Is there anything that I can do about the fact that my doctor refuses to care for my recovery in any way and in my opinion will cause this surgery to fail?

2) Is there any kind of legal recourse for this level of negligence?

3) How long dos recovery typically take before a person with this type of surgery can start to go back to work?

4) I am in a great deal of pain and don't know what to do since my doctor will not see me or even return my calls.

Any information you might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated.
This has been a very long road.
I feel helpless and stupid that I allowed myself to get in this situation.

Thank you again,
Ed

Last edited by 19Ed74; 04-06-2012 at 12:14 AM.

 
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:09 AM   #2
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Re: Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

Good Heavens. Are you located in the US? I only ask because that is the type of care I am familiar with. I'll be back in a bit to offer a few suggestions.

 
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Old 04-06-2012, 11:26 AM   #3
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Re: Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

Welcome to the board. I'm sorry you have had such a difficult experience with your surgery.

What happens when you call your surgeon's office and request an appointment?

I've really never heard of a doctor being so unresponsive. Usually with a fusion, they want to see you at regularly scheduled intervals to check on bone growth and to be sure hardware has not migrated. Often a first appointment to check for these things occurs at 6-8 weeks post surgery.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find another surgeon who will take over another surgeon's case, especially so early in your recovery. Have you contacted your family doctor or PCP? Perhaps someone like that would be willing to write a prescription for your pain medication. Otherwise you may want to contact an interventional pain management doctor to take on your case...although I would think he/she will want to know what is wrong with your surgeon and why is he neglecting you.

Does your surgeon have a physician's assistant or a partner that covers for him? Did they say why your appointments were being cancelled? It would be best if you could continue some sort of a relationship with this surgeon, at least until you are a bit further along in your recovery.

Regarding when to return to work, this varies from surgeon to surgeon, how the surgery went, etc. With ALIF four weeks strikes me as on the early side of when "most" are able to go back. Six to eight weeks is more common, and sometimes people are off at least 3 months...and that depends on how strenuous the work is that the patient is returning to.

If you continue to get the run around from the surgeon, I would suggest calling your state's medical examining board or the state AMA to report him. Also, call or write the director/President of the hospital and report what happened in the hospital and tell them about the surgeon's lack of follow-up. With all the competition these days, I would think that this experience is something they would want to know.

Legal recourse would be problematic, at least at this point. Any sort of medical malpractice is difficult to prove to begin with; in your case, you cannot assess any damage at this point. Hopefully you will heal properly and there will not be any "damages" to assess.

I'm sure others will have some ideas for you. You certainly have my sympathy. I can't imagine having such an unresponsive surgeon or office staff.

 
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Old 04-06-2012, 12:25 PM   #4
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Re: Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

Lancaster Pa......

No one believes me when I tell them this tale. I have a hard time believing it is happening myself. The sad part is..I left a lot of stuff out. It is actually worse. At the end of the day all I am looking for is a minimum level of care. I am not a squeaky wheel at all. I don't call everyday complaining about anything. I feel that non of this has been provoked by my actions. Started looking into other doctors
Thank you for your response and time.

 
Old 04-06-2012, 12:41 PM   #5
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Re: Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

I had one meeting with his physicians assistant two weeks after the surgery.
I had a meeting scheduled four weeks later which was cancelled due to a "conflict".
I was rescheduled for the next week and that was cancelled due to a "conflict".
My next meeting is in four weeks. That is 10 weeks after my surgery if it is not cancelled shortly before it is supposed to happen.
I have asked for my records so I can start to find another doctor.
It seems nothing he said was true.
I had a cage put in my L5 space but he did not put any screws in to hold everything together. In his office he showed me what was going to be done and the model had screws in it for stability.
I have the same pain as before and for the most part it is worse.
I am just scared that something is wrong. Either he messed up or the surgery did not work. All of these questions could have been answered in one visit if he would treat me like a human being and not a number.
I am not looking for a legal remedy at this time. All I want is to be told the facts of where things are at this point and if everything is ok.
Anyway I really appreciate your responses and your time.
I hope that all your recovers go well and you have positive experiences.
Thanks again for your time.

 
Old 06-23-2012, 12:14 PM   #6
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Re: Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

19Ed74, Hi, I just read your post and feel absolutely awful for you. Did you get anything resolved? How are you feeling now? Was this a neurosurgeon or an orthosurgeon? Did you ever find another doctor to help you out? What state do you live in? My gosh what a horrible thing to have happen, I feel so bad. Hope you are feeling better.

Take care AngelinMichigan Lyn

C5/6 6/7 AC Fusion/Disc. 2003

 
Old 06-23-2012, 03:12 PM   #7
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Re: Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

Hi and welcome on board!

While I agree with "Surgeons in general dont have good bed site manners", what you telling us is very strange and unusual.
Why your app was cancelled due to conflict - what conflict are you talking about?
7 weeks after such surgery is very early to talk about recovery, really. Pain wise is usually pretty bad. I had much more pain after surgery than before.
My surgeons told me that spinal fusions may heal up to one year and more.
It's up to your surgeon when to send you back to work; all depends on complicity of the surgery, and the job you are doing and also the way you heal.
I never heard of such story to be honest with you. Usually you have scheduled app with your surgeon (my Dr wanted to see me every 2 weeks) after your surgery where he is watching your improvement.
After 3 month, when he saw my pain is not getting less, he sent me to PM Dr who manages my pain since.
Prescriptions were sent automatically to the Pharmacy every week; now they are not allowed to do so, so people have to go every month to see your PM Dr (at least in NYC).

Did you ever had any issues with your Rx for pain meds?
I cannot even imagine why they turned off your drip; I was for 3 days on it and wasn't enough, how you, poor soul, handled it, I don know.

Regarding lawyer - not sure if this would work for you at this point. You have long way to recover, and if your DR did everything right during surgery - pain is just one of the symptoms which "comes with the territory". If you want to look for another DR, you should look at different area where they dont know your surgeon. Otherwise, you will have a very hard time to be taken seriously. You will not be able to get right diagnoses.
After my first surgery I developed drop foot right after surgery. My surgeon told me for 8 month to not worry, I will be fine, it will get back to normal. I trusted him with my heart only b/c I never been in this situation and never had experience where DR would not tell the truth.
Only 8 month later I decided to go for second opinion only to hear from the DR same exact words: not to worry, you will heal. Well, I made a mistake going to see a DR who knew my surgeon.
My hubby insisted us to go to HSS in NYC and same day I found out that damages are permanent and my drop foot will never get better.

Now you know why i am telling you all this; based on my own experience; later I found out about experience of others who had to go through same thing as I did.

Hugs and best wishes
Moldova

 
Old 07-02-2012, 10:39 PM   #8
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equinelady12000 HB User
Re: Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

[QUOTE=19Ed74;4956900]I had one meeting with his physicians assistant two weeks after the surgery.
I had a meeting scheduled four weeks later which was cancelled due to a "conflict".
I was rescheduled for the next week and that was cancelled due to a "conflict".
My next meeting is in four weeks. That is 10 weeks after my surgery if it is not cancelled shortly before it is supposed to happen.
I have asked for my records so I can start to find another doctor.
It seems nothing he said was true.
I had a cage put in my L5 space but he did not put any screws in to hold everything together. In his office he showed me what was going to be done and the model had screws in it for stability.
I have the same pain as before and for the most part it is worse.
I am just scared that something is wrong. Either he messed up or the surgery did not work. All of these questions could have been answered in one visit if he would treat me like a human being and not a number.
I am not looking for a legal remedy at this time. All I want is to be told the facts of where things are at this point and if everything is ok.
Anyway I really appreciate your responses and your time.
I hope that all your recovers go well and you have positive experiences.
Thanks again for your time.[/QUOTE]
That is the worst treatment of anyone I have ever heard. This surgeon is neglecting you totally and showing that he sows not care about his patients. The way you were treated in the hospital. Unacceptable. I just had a tri level fusion. L3-S1. I Have been treated with kid gloves by a dari g and compassionate staff including the. Neuro surgeon that did.my surgery. Gosh I was on liquid diet for.5 days but they also went in thru.my.stomach and back

 
Old 07-03-2012, 10:20 AM   #9
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Re: Anterior Spinal Fusion L5 S1

This is totally unacceptable to say the least! This is a major surgery!
One morning about 3 weeks after my surgery, I fainted when I rolled over in the bed.
I didn't even call my Spinal Surgeons office. I just had someone take me there when his office opened, and was seen as soon as he arrived in the office.
I work in the Business Office of a Hospital, and my advice would be to start with a complaint to the CEO regarding the meal you were fed, the night before the surgery. That in itself could have posed a danger. I would tell the CEO that I would like to make a complaint about this, and the Doctor. I would then call the Doctors office and tell them of my plans to call the Medical Board in your state and file a complaint!

 
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l5 s1, return to work, spinal fusion



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