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Results are in but a little too late

I have been waiting on calls from my pain management or PCP regarding the results of both test. Both showed bone infection. I even called my PCP and he said just keep your scheduled appointment with the Neurosurgeon next month. The pain management Dr stated I really doubt this is infection so just go see a surgeon. I go to the surgeon appointment and the Dr comes into the waiting room and says Susan I need to talk to you I am not going to put you in a room because I am going to have to do a consult at the hospital. Why are you here? Stupidly I answer because my Dr sent me here. He then asked what treatment has been done? Nothing. He then proceeds to tell me I should of been hospitalized 30 days ago and was furious asking why nothing had been done by either by pain management doctor or my PCP. He stated I am positive for osteomylitis and to go straight to the hospital and he will call ahead. The blood work the PCP ordered also confirmed this. Well long story short since I am a healthy person my body fought off the infection fairly well but the damage is done. 6 weeks on antibiotics and then surgery to clean up the damage done by the infection. I have been failed by not one but two of my Drs. My PCP has been my Dr for 20 years but I know have to find a new one because I no longer trust his judgement. My pain Dr is a new one for me but I also feel I have to find a new one because she also failed me in my opinion. The surgeon did call the PM office and on my following visit the Dr made if very clear that she did not appreciate another Dr calling her and telling her how to run her own practice. This Dr will be of no loss to me because honestly I do not like her. I realize Drs are not god and know all but how could both of these drs had the test results and chose to completely ignore them, At this point I have no faith in any Drs.


  • I am sorry you had to go through all that. I can certainly relate to your experience. In February of 2005, I woke up with a backache, out of the blue. By that evening, I was sick as a dog, experiencing high fever, vomiting, and full body convulsions, not spasms. The next day I was brought to a walk in clinic because it was a holiday, examined, and sent home because the doctor said I had the flu. I asked why my back was so sore, he said it was the flu and it settled there. Three days later, after still having fevers of 102 and higher and still having body convulsions, and now having trouble walking due to extreme leg weakness, I went to my doctor. He prescribed a steroid regime and sent me home saying I had the flu. Four days later I could no longer walk. I was sent to the hospital by ambulance, admitted for Pneumonia, and spent 4 days there with IV antibiotics and no improvement. Finally, an infectious disease doctor ordered a Cat scan and discovered I had an epidural Absess in the L 2 area. I was then sent into Boston and had emergency surgery at midnight to clean the area out. I had been suffering for 14 days with this and countless doctors misdiagnosed the problem. I had to relearn how to walk, and have permanent nerve damage. I feel your pain and distrust.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • Im so sorry to hear all you've been through! I can't really relate as I've not been through any horrible docs, but know you need to change those two. What needless suffering...thank God for your surgeon.

    What damage did the infection cause that needs to be cleaned up?

  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 09/30/2012 - 9:49 AM
    Hi Susan,
    I'm truly sorry that you are experiencing the less than stellar side of medicine and some careless lack of follow up by two of your doctors. My experiences with that have been less critical than yours I'm afraid, but I do have a couple....being sent for chest xrays and finding out some 6 months later, after not getting well, and many, many different antibiotics that I had bilateral pneumonia and if my primary had bothered to read the report from the xrays, treatment could have been instituted some months earlier...now I have scarring in my lungs because of it...and my other experience was another xray and then MRI scan, which showed osteonecrosis ( bone death in the wrist) due to the steroids that I was put on for several months, and he failed to tell me that I needed to see a surgeon right away...It was already quite advanced but the longer it is not treated, it can result in having to have my wrist fused....and of course, by the time I was finally told about the results several months had passed....this after I was told that I would be called right away...and of course wasn't...the last one was with a gastro doctor I was referred to for a colonoscopy- he actually called me twice with the results- once to tell me that the polyps they found were all clear, only to be followed up by a second phone call the next day telling me that he had my results and several of the polyps were precancerous...big difference in the outcome , don't you think?
    While I know that doctors aren't perfect, if you are sent for tests, whether they are blood tests or any others, there is NO reason that the doctor ordering the tests isn't responsible for calling to let the patient know...
  • Jerome001Jerome001 Cocoa Beach, FloridaPosts: 118
    Sorry to hear of your troubles and I appreciate your sentiments. I too was taught to put MDs on a pedestal but about 10 or 12 years ago I took all doctors off the pedestal. I came to the realization that they are basically diagnosticians or mechanics of a very complex machine, much more so than an automobile of course. I've learned to get copies of my lab results and if any item is out of its normal range, I look it up on the internet and try to educate myself about what the score means. I also got myself a good basic medical book from one of the local medical schools so I can read about various topics. Boards such as this one are also great sources to educate us. I am much more vocal with my MDs now, I am polite though, and I challenge him or her if I find something different from what I've read. I've even suggested a procedure my pain MD had never heard of, and to his credit, he researched the procedure and found a local expert in the procedure and referred me to her for the procedure.

    Best of luck, Jerome
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    The Vertebra has been damaged and along with the disc which will require a fusion of l5-s1. The surgeon told me once he debrides and cleans up there will be no other choice but to fuse. I have my cervical area fused from c3-c7 and I dread the thought of both areas being fused. I know the problems I have with my neck so now we are going to add the back into the mix. I did seek a second opinion concerning this and the answers were the same..
  • Thanks for the clarification. As you know, I've had a 3-lvl cervical, a 1-lvl lumbar and am facing a 2-lvl lumbar fusion in Dec due to instability. It sucks being both, but it almost seems inevitable. My heart goes out to you, but in some sick way, it's comforting to know we're so much alike, as we've discussed in the past.

    By 10 years from now, I'll be fused from T/10 to L/5 and according to my surgeon, that could very well be disability time. We just have to hang in there and stick together, no matter how difficult.

    I'm thinking of you, my friend.
  • That is horrible!! I too have been let down by many doctors but not to that extent. I can't believe how much they missed. I'm so sorry you have to go through all this. We are at the mercy of doctors and insurance companies and we are the ones left to suffer. It's frustrating, I do know that. I hope you feel better soon and find a doctor you can count on. That seems to be harder and harder lately.
  • I'm so sorry. We do have to trust in these people that they will provide us with good care. Sometimes you can forgive them for being busy, not being all that attentive, but to ignore test results and not treat an infection. . . . I hope you find better medical professionals in your future.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/02/2012 - 3:08 AM
    you should never be in this situation! However, that is where you are and I now hope that all the doctors who see and deal with you, will make sure that you receive excellent care.

    I think you will need to change your doctors as it will be difficult to trust their judgement in future never mind having a good relationship.

    I hope that your surgeon will be able to do what is necessary to clean up the damage and that your recovery will be smooth and will lead to a pain free future, (as much as is possible for us spineys.)

    Please let us know how you get on and when you will have the surgery. We will all be here to support you through this.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    You and I do seem to be doing just about everything alike as far our medical, returning to work and then everything falling apart again. I wish I could say that wasnt so. At least one of us would feel better. Lol. I saw the infectious disease Dr for the first time today more blood test ordered and then he will decide if he wants to do the IV antibiotic or just medication in the pill form. My white blood count is coming down on its own and in his words " I am a lucky person that I was so healthy or things could of been alot worse" He also is scheduling a needle biopsy then the treatment will begin. I see my new primary care DR for the first time Friday and hopefully she will be able to send me to a new pain management DR. I see the surgeon on November 16th and if the infection is cleared up Ill have my surgery before the end of the year. So we can recuperate together. So it seems this will be another holiday that will be hard to enjoy. Are you still working? I am attempting to work to keep my insurance and work has been very good about the situation. Cath I also am in agreement with you, after this surgery it may be time to file myself, Oh well you cant say we didnt give it a good fight. I can honestly say I am getting tired of the fight with my spine issues as I am sure you are also. Keep me updated on how things progress as far as your surgery date and such.
  • I'm glad that your white count is coming down on its own and hope the treatment helps. I'm also hoping that the new docs will be able to help you, unlike the others. It's always so hard to see a new doc, not knowing how you'll be treated, if they'll be understanding and listen to you. As your appointment is today, I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    Yeah, if you end up having surgery in late Dec, we can definitely recover together. Christmas is going to be messed up this year with the surgery being on the 18th. I'd have it today if I could the pain gets so intense.

    I am still working and will continue to work after the recovery from this surgery. My surgeon is only doing the two levels so I can go back to work until the levels above this fusion start to go, then it'll be a 4-lvl, from T/10 to L2 and that's when he thinks I'll probably not be able to work any more. He's trying to buy me 5 or so years with this upcoming fusion.

    Like you, I have to work for the insurance as my hubby's company doesn't offer insurance - it's just him and his boss, so it's a very small little company and he gets no benefits. That's why I'll also have to go back to work. Unfortunately, my work is very difficult - I run an in-house printshop and have to lift paper boxes, bend to load the digital presses, etc. But, it's also good in that I can sit, stand and move when I need to, so at least I don't sit at a desk all day.

    Be sure to update us on your appointments - I'm anxious to hear how you like your new PCP today.

    Hang in there, my friend. We're all in this together, right?
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    To say I really liked my new PCP is the understatement. I think I have found a winner. She had me when she told me " As a phy. one of our jobs is to listen to a patient. From what you have told me You were not listened to and ignored . As a phy I am ashamed that this has happened to a patient that has serious medical needs." After a hour long physical , some blood work and discussing medical past she wants me to call her Wed after my infectious disease Dr appointment because she wants to make sure something is being done. AS she says we will leave it in the specialist hands for now and let them do their job but at any time I have questions or feel as not enough is being done she wants me to call her. Her and I are going to get along great I believe. I think this is the first of finding new phys was very successful. She also is sending me to a new pain specialist but first wants to do some research to find a good fit for me. ( most pain drs around here no longer prescribe meds). Everything is starting to look up thank god! And Cath yes we are in this together!
  • I'm glad you found someone that would listen to you and it also sounds like the specialist is going to help you as well. Its just too bad that all that had to happen to you for you to get someone to treat to the way you should have been in the first place.Good luck with your surgery i hope all goes well for you Susan.
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