PDA

View Full Version : Dr. Darrell Hanson - Houston, TX



Houston Curves
01-07-2009, 03:59 PM
OK. I have given myself 2.5 weeks to calm down, and I just wanted to post some information. I originally saw Dr. Hanson in January of 2007, and my initial impression was that he didn't have a lot of compassion for the pain associated with scoliosis. However, after losing my sister, finding out I was pregnant, having a healthy little girl, and at the recommendation of another person who has had fusion surgery with him, I gave Dr. Hanson another try. His office rescheduled me twice and I finally saw him in on 11/4/2008. He didn't seem impressed with the 5 degree change since 1/2007, but agreed that I am progressing and would eventually need surgery. We agreed that Ellie, my youngest, should be 2 or 3 before we proceeded.

So, I asked him if he would manage my pain meds as Dr. Shelokov had previously. He agreed, but didn't know what Tizanidine was (when I got home it turned out to be the generic for Zanaflex) and only proscribed Soma, once a day I think, and no refills. So, as instructed, emailed Dr. Hanson about my prescriptions that Dr. Shelokov had written. Dr. Hanson had his PA call me to talk about it. I Had been prescribed Soma, Zanaflex and Hydrocodone. His PA said by phone that Dr. Hanson didn't see why I was on 2 muscle relaxants, and just limited it to Soma (the less effective one of the two) and said I could take it twice a day. When I asked him about the pain medication, 1/2 to 1 tab of hydrocodone (Vicoden)twice a day (which I really only taking PRN), he said he didn't want to prescribe that, but would prescribe Darvocet instead. When they called it in, however, somehow it was only for the Soma (no Darvocet) and, while it said to take the Soma twice a day, it was only for 30 pills. My insurance will not fill again 1/2 through the month. So, I just had the pharmacy request a correction...three requests until they finally rejected the request.

So, I called them explaining that all three of my girls had RSV, as did I and my husband, and my special needs child had just been admitted to the hospital for dehydration and RSV. I was sleeping on a pull ot chair bed, when I was sleeping at all. They told me that it was against their "protocols" to fill any Rx for more than 30 pills. So, I told them their protocol was ignorant and, if they write an Rx for twice a day they should fill it for 60 pills for a month! Soma isn't a pain killer, it's a muscle relaxer and not a very good one at that. I had gone for a month and a half without complaining while I had to carry my special needs 3 year old every where in the house, put her in her stander, take her out, put her in her wheel chair, take her out, work on OT and PT on the floor with her, feed her with an eye dropper to prevent her from dehydrating, etc., etc., etc., on a daily basis.

I have had chronic pain since my 20s, [I] have had Rhizotomies, I have lost a sister due to complications from the surgery for scoliosis and medications. Therefore, I do NOT take this surgery lightly! I do NOT take the medications lightly! And, I do NOT like being made to feel like a liar when I tell a specialist in the field that I have pain!!!! Also, I took NOTHING for pain while pregnant, and I never abuse the stuff when not pregnant. A month Rx of pain meds can last me 3-4 months! I guess first impressions should be trusted, I just don't think he cares at all.

While I have no doubt that he has excellent surgical abilities, I cannot recommend Dr. Hanson if you need pain management. I would also have to question how much pain he will think I would be in AFTER the surgery. I have no idea what I will do at this point to find a surgeon, but I am certain I will end up at a pain management doctor for my medication management.

Anyway, thank you for letting me vent, and I apologize if your views are different. I just have my own. Thanks and I hope everyone out their has there best New Year ever!!!

Ann

debbei
01-07-2009, 04:43 PM
Hi Ann,

I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with the new doctor. Is there any way that your old doctor can manage your meds until the time when you chose to have surgery?

The new guy is sounding inflexible; however, I guess he's just worried about patients becoming dependent. Believe me, I now understand that as I am in the process of weaning myself off these meds after surgery, and it isn't fun. I guess his office has their basic policies that they like all patients to follow. Unfortunately, we are not all from the same cookie cutter so things don't work the same for everyone.

Good luck,

Nancy Joy
01-07-2009, 08:50 PM
Hi Ann~

I think it is rather incredible that a Dr. can decide in advance what you might need for pain after the surgery. I think it is fortunate you asked in advance as I probably would not have even thought to ask.:o I think you are wise to really think about this, especially with the history you have. Good luck in your search and decision making process.

JoAnn5
01-08-2009, 10:17 AM
Can your General Practitioner help you when your prescription runs out? He/she probably knows more what kind of person you are and knows that you wouldn't abuse the drugs. I know that you can't get medications from both doctors at once, of course. But unless there is a definite and NEAR date for surgery, i'd leave the surgeon alone and ask my trusted and familiar doctor for the prescriptions. After the surgery, then Dr. Hanson would be in charge of your medication for a certain length of time, but beforehand, i'd depend on my own doc if i were you. If he/she thinks it's necessary, a pain management specialist can be recommended from that office. Good luck, hon. It cannot easy for you with all you have on your plate.

Sharshe
01-08-2009, 11:22 AM
Hi Ann,
Sorry to hear about your problems with the surgeon. But just wanted to let you know you're not alone about pain meds. My insurance wouldn't let me have more then 5 days worth at a time, this even directly after surgery! So every few days I had to call the surgeon for a renewal. Then get someone to go to the pharmacy to pick it up (as I wasn't allowed to drive). At the time I was in a wheel chair or finally using a walker. I think because the pain meds are narcotics might have something to do with it. Good luck with either finding a new surgeon or pain management til you can get surgery.

theizzard
01-08-2009, 12:00 PM
sharshe, that sounds unbelievable. what narcotics were you taking that they would only dispense 5 at a time. i do think that most of these doctors are completely clueless when it comes to managing pain. just the stress of having to refill something every 5 days is madness.
avis

Sharshe
01-08-2009, 03:43 PM
Hi Avis,
I came home from the hospital (1st time) and from rehab (after surgeries 3 and 4 surgeries) on oxycodone and the oxy quick release. after a couple weeks they had me on hydrocodone (10mg) and valium. I still occassionally take 1/2 a hydrocodone (5mg). I never had problems getting more if I needed it but they wouldn't give me more then 5 days worth at a time. I get 30 hydro. but directions still call for 1-2 every 4-6 hours (and believe me 2 every 4-6 hours wasn't doing much those 1 few weeks, especially when I was dealing with a severe staph infection at the time). Now I can make them last a few months but in the beginning it was a real pain:mad:. I definitely think Drs or the insurance people need a dose of reality when it comes to pain. I hated having to always ask for refills because it made me feel like I shouldn't be hurting.

green m&m
01-08-2009, 05:49 PM
Most surgeons are not good at pain management. They don't have the training or experience in doing PM, which is why he prob didn't know about the Tizanidine, there are so many meds out there, even a PM doctor will know about every single pain med/muscle relaxant out there. Many non-PM docs are weary of prescribing narcotics b/c of the dependancy issue, and the occational newsblasts on doctors getting arrested for 'over prescribing' narcotics.

You should go see a pain management specialist instead of using a surgeon for your pain. PM docs will be better suited, it'll be much more efficient in the end. Is darvocet a narcotic? if it's and is schedule II, it can't be called in, they have to be in some sort of print form, faxed/real script... though that might be different in your state, only a couple of states allow that though.

Also it sounds like the office staff is to blame as well... they are the ones ignoring the pharmacy requests for correction. He may not even know the requests were made.

Susie*Bee
01-25-2009, 02:33 PM
Ann-- I'm sorry that you were so frustrated and disappointed with Dr. Hanson, but I agree with greenm&m about seeing a pain management doctor for pain meds.

It's funny (as in peculiar) how people can have such varied opinions of the same people-- in all sorts of situations, not just our doctors. This is the same doctor that did Pam's (txmarinemom) surgery and she always said he was fantastic. Although I do not know him at all, I did write him once via email, to thank him for taking those pics of Pam's surgery that so many of us were able to see. That (the photographing of the surgery) seemed way "above and beyond" to me. He actually took the time to write a nice note back to me. So one reason I am posting, even after this has died down for a little while, is because it's been bothering me-- I don't want people who are searching for a surgeon in Houston to get the wrong idea. We all look for different things in doctors. I believe Dr. Hanson's reputation as an excellent surgeon is above question. What may remain questionable (from what you've said) is his manner with at least some of his patients. If given the choice between pleasant and understanding against skill, I know I would choose skill. Sometimes it's possible to have it all.

I hope you have received some help with your pain meds and that things are going well.

Houston Curves
01-26-2009, 01:50 PM
Thank you all for your replies!! I had no idea that others has such different experiences with doctors. Every back doctor I have ever seen (and I am not a spring chicken) has handled my pain meds to be sure they knew exactly what I was taking and when. So, it is a new (and eye opening) experience to run into a doctor's office that isn't expert at doing just that. However, from your posts, I see that my past experiences are in the minority. Thank you for the information as this COMPLETELY changes my view if the situation. Thank you everyone!!

Ann :o

Mary jane
01-27-2009, 07:39 PM
I am finding that doctors who treat dysautonomia are not at all familiar with other illness and the comlications that can come from having duo diagnosis.
My daughter has a rare illness and a 58 degree curve and we before went to the Mayo clinic we were called crazy, I was accused of being a bad mother, she was diagosed with so many illnesses that were just guesses. I have to remember that doctors are just human and not very perfect at all. It is gets hard to stand up for yourself, but right not insurance companies kind of run things. When I think of putting my 17 year old on pain meds, I get very nervous and have to rely on the doctors. Addiction can be a side affect of misuse of pain meds. I am so sorry for your pain. I praay that you will find a good pain clinic and get some help with living with chronic pain.

PNUTTRO
01-28-2009, 08:52 PM
Hi Ann

I just wanted to toss my opinion in on this discussion. My experience with Dr. Hanson was very positive. I didn't have the prescription issues that you did, but when I asked for anything, he tried to accommodate me. He also was very helpful using email. Just ask if you can have his email. Its great. You can send off your questions as they come up and you won't have to wait until your appointment--especially after surgery.

Regarding the scheduling problems, there were a lot of changes made to his schedule around the time of the hurricane. I also got rescheduled because Hanson had to go to court--not as a defendant BTW.

Best wishes.
p

Houston Curves
01-29-2009, 09:50 AM
Mary Jane, I was only on Motrin in my early 20s. 800 mg PRN. The pain, if you're one of the unlucky ones that have pain, tends to progress with your curves. I wasn't on anything harder than Motrin until my late 20s.

PNUTTRO, I've emailed him and he doesn't reply. He gets someone in his of staff to call usually. I'm not sure if I will go back to see him again though. Two bad experiences are hard to ignore. However, a person with great skill may be worth the effort...I just still wonder if we will be able to communicate effectively and well. Thanks for your input!! Perhaps it is just a personality conflict and it won't be resolved...perhaps it will. Only time will tell. Thanks again.

PNUTTRO
01-29-2009, 10:21 AM
You are right. Sometimes its all about personalities meeting. If you don't feel good about it, you shouldn't go back.

I hope you can find a good pain management doctor in Houston. Keep us posted. All the best to you and your little one.

p

Sherie
01-29-2009, 11:30 AM
Hi Ann

Congratulations on your baby, I'm glad that all turned out well.

Here's a link and credentials of a local surgeon that I was going to use in case Sheena had any post op problems (we traveled to St. Louis for surgery). I was really impressed with his education and he seemed very nice when we visited. Can't comment on his surgical skills.

http://www.baylorclinic.com/services/orthopedic/

Jacob Weinberg, MD, assistant professor of Orthopedic Surgery, specializes in orthopedic surgery of the spine for pediatric and adult patients, with a focus on scoliosis. After graduating summa cum laude from Columbia University in New York, Dr. Weinberg earned his medical degree from John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. He completed his internship in general surgery and a residency in orthopedic surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New Hyde Park, NY. He completed a fellowship in adult spine surgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston and a fellowship in pediatric orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School/Children's Hospital.

Best wishes!

txmarinemom
02-04-2009, 07:04 PM
PNUTTRO, I've emailed him and he doesn't reply. He gets someone in his of staff to call usually. ...

And, I do NOT like being made to feel like a liar when I tell a specialist in the field that I have pain!!!!


Tomorrow (February 5th, 2009) will be my one year fusion anniversary by Hanson.

Ann, I have never known him to leave a coherent, purposeful email unanswered. He *always* writes me back, but I also try not to bug him with things John or Pete can answer.

Also, I NEVER had problems with pain/med management (I'm still on Valium, Gabapentin and 2 Norco in the mornings, FYI. He's STILL managing it a year out). Then again, there's some credence to what people are saying here about pain management doctors: They manage pain ... period. Hanson KNEW I'd seen one for 4 years, and he knew *I* knew what my body could handle ... and that I have an *extremely* high tolerance to pain meds. He has always managed my pain taking all that into consideration.

Hanson told me on my VERY FIRST consult that he believes scoliosis can *absolutely* cause pain. It sounds a bit like you went in telling him what protocol to follow. (Shelokov's?)

I'm not sure why you think Zanaflex is stronger than Soma. I also don't understand why you were on 2 muscle relaxers at the same time before (especially 2 that have moderate risk of interaction), but that's neither here nor there.

As a patient of his, I'm pretty put off by your "thumbs down" (because of an apparent personality conflict), and hope people aren't turned away due to your poor opinion of an excellent surgeon formed in TWO visits. PNUTTRO and both are surgical patients of his - not consults - and neither of us have anything bad to say about him. I'm really puzzled how the person you describe is so vastly different than how the 50+ some odd patients (pre/post consult and pre/post op) of his who've emailed me have felt they were treated. There's something missing here.

He's attentive, compassionate, and he does care. He sat with me for over two hours - answering questions - when I was trying to decide on surgery. TWO HOURS. And I know the man doesn't have two hours to spare. Never once did he rush me, nor did he ever look at the clock.

You didn't say what you emailed him, but if it was as negative/frantic as your post (after 2-1/2 weeks of calming down???), maybe that's a factor in why he didn't answer. He's NEVER had staff call when I send an email to his personal address.

Perhaps as has been said, he's not the doctor for you; certainly, you should get a pain management doctor. He did fantastically with me pre-op and post-op, and my post op pain management protocol was VERY aggressive due to my tolerance. In the first few days after surgery, it took Percodan, Norco and Dilaudid PCA to keep me comfortable - and at levels that would probably drop a 300 lb. man.

I think it's a bit irresponsible of you to tell this list he can't/won't handle a patient's pain because he wouldn't give you the meds you wanted. From my experience, I'd counter he takes pain very seriously, and manages it well based on patient needs.

Anyone who has questions for an actual surgical patient of his is welcome to email me.

Regards,
Pam

WNCmom
02-04-2009, 08:39 PM
Pam--

Just want to congratulate you on your one year post-op mark. It's been quite a year!

Mary Ellen

txmarinemom
02-04-2009, 09:00 PM
Just want to congratulate you on your one year post-op mark. It's been quite a year!

Thanks, Mary Ellen - and, yes, it certainly has been. It's not one I regret (not even for one minute), but not one I'd particularly care to repeat - LOL! Given the same scenario, however, I'd make the same choices.

A year ago, I had no REAL knowledge of what my limitations would be post-op, and I'm glad to say today I have NONE (other than morning creakiness - and maybe that's from 40 years of banging up my body).

I certainly didn't think I'd be anxiously waiting for the water to warm up enough so I can wakeboard! ;-).

Regards,
Pam

Houston Curves
02-13-2009, 06:24 PM
Wow, Pam. I'm sorry to have offended you so much. I am entitled to my opinion, and NO, my email merely answered his question about what meds I was on. That's it. I didn't insist in him following Shelokov's protocals and was VERY open to new meds his PA suggested, but they never called them in. Then they refused to fix the quantities on the ONE that we discussed that they had called in. That was a big issue for me. I'm very sorry that bothers you.

As a side note, I did try to remove/edit the thumbs down after reading everyone's posts about pain management drs., but was not able to remove it. However, that isn't the point. I am sorry that you are so angry about my opinions. He has been resistant, in my situation, to hear about my pain and does not seem sensitive to my issues. That is a fact. I'm very glad that he was different to you. I also believe that I posted in a later message that it might just be a personality difference. So, I DO NOT think that is irresponsible. Sorry to disagree, and I am truly sorry that my opinion offends you so much. I think you're an incredible and strong person, not just from your posts here, but from our emails. Sorry to lose you as an "email friend" over an opinion. Good luck, and congrats on your one year post op.

Ann

txmarinemom
02-13-2009, 07:37 PM
I am sorry that you are so angry about my opinions. He has been resistant, in my situation, to hear about my pain and does not seem sensitive to my issues. That is a fact. I'm very glad that he was different to you. I also believe that I posted in a later message that it might just be a personality difference. So, I DO NOT think that is irresponsible. Sorry to disagree, and I am truly sorry that my opinion offends you so much.

Ann,

Yes, you have a right to your opinion.

What you wrote was a *rant* (I don't know what else to call it) from the limited perspective of a consult patient looking for med management. It was SO patently negative that despite your later acquiescence to "a possible personality difference" you sullied the reputation of a VERY good surgeon you *barely know*.

I'm still not sure what the long paragraph about your family's medical condition has to do with him. Regrettable, but not in the least pertinent.

I do find what you wrote irresponsible, and *will* every time I see it come up as the first hit when you search his name on this forum. Eventually, it'll work its way towards the top of Google via your post.

You've done a great disservice to many (and, yes, that's simply MY opinion).

Pam

csbaby
02-13-2009, 09:01 PM
Hi there,

You mentioned you were a Shelokov patient (as am I). Not sure if Shelokov referred you to Hansen in Houston - but I would definitely get a referral from him to help find the right surgeon for you in your area, as well as a pain management doctor.

And if he did refer you to Hansen, ask Shelokov's office to help get your meds / scripts written the way you want them. I believe they will help negotiate this with Hansen's office on your behalf. It just sounds bizarre to me that a back surgeon would only write a script for 30 pills as opposed to a 30 day supply.

Insurance companies pay copays based on 30 day supply, not 30 total pills. Somehow there is a huge misunderstanding and you are being shortchanged, as well as overcharged for your prescription costs.

My two cents - best of luck. Christy

txmarinemom
02-13-2009, 10:32 PM
Hi there,

You mentioned you were a Shelokov patient (as am I). Not sure if Shelokov referred you to Hansen in Houston - but I would definitely get a referral from him to help find the right surgeon for you in your area, as well as a pain management doctor.

And if he did refer you to Hansen, ask Shelokov's office to help get your meds / scripts written the way you want them. I believe they will help negotiate this with Hansen's office on your behalf. It just sounds bizarre to me that a back surgeon would only write a script for 30 pills as opposed to a 30 day supply.

Insurance companies pay copays based on 30 day supply, not 30 total pills. Somehow there is a huge misunderstanding and you are being shortchanged, as well as overcharged for your prescription costs.

My two cents - best of luck. Christy

Why doesn't Shelokov just write her prescriptions vs. "pleading her case" to Hanson? She's made her opinion of him crystal clear, and it would be ridiculous to think an intervention by another surgeon is going to make her one bit more pleased with him.

Time to find another surgeon - and yes, a pain management doctor too.

I do have to ask, Ann, if you were so pleased with Shelokov (and his medication protocol), why aren't you still seeing him?

BTW, Christy, even right after surgery (when I went home), I received 30 pills at a time from Hanson ... which lasted me about 5 days with my tolerance.

It wasn't always easy ~convenient~ to have the office call in a refill authorization (although they ALWAYS did in < 4 hours ... and still do, usually in < ONE hour - unless it's during lunch).

It also wasn't always ~convenient~ to get to the pharmacy to pick refills (I used it as one more excuse to walk) that often in the weeks post-op, but neither did I scream about his insensitivity to my pain. I realize a surgeon can easily be accused of being a pill pusher - and didn't take it personally.

Prescribing qty 30 IS normal for him, and with the way narcotics are abused, it's prudent until (and maybe not even then) a surgeon KNOWS a patient well. I get mine written for qty 90 at a time now, but I'm also a year post-op.

BTW, as far as "shortchanged" and "overcharged", every med she listed is available in generic (and even paying FULL price, as I do, they're CHEAP). Whether it's 2 generic co-pays a month, or 2 full price generic pickups every 15 days, the cost is minimal.

FYI, my generic Norco (Hydrocodone 10/325), qty 30, full price, runs $21.97 in the SAME city (Houston) at CVS. Gabapentin and Valium are nearly 1/2 that price.

If she wants a month of meds at a time, she needs a pain management doctor. What she's asking Hanson to do is a HUGE liability for him - *especially* for a PRE-op patient, after 2 long apart consults, with no scheduled surgery.

$.02 more in the kitty.

Pam

Houston Curves
02-19-2009, 01:27 PM
Pam:

Not too long ago, you posted a comment about possibly not writing on the forum anymore because someone had a disagreement with you. I supported your right to an opinion. I'm sorry that it is only your opinion that seems to matter to you. Your hostility at my post is over dramatic. I believe that anyone on this forum is intelligent enough to read a post and form their own opinions. I doubt that I have truly "sullied" anyone's reputation over my own opinions. As for the comment about my family, don't even go there. You have NO right.

As far as the cost of prescriptions, that isn't the point. I'm glad you were able to visit the pharmacy regularly for your meds, but I have 3 kids under 4 years old, one is in a wheel chair, and one is an infant. So, I don't have a lot of freedom to get to the store.

As for Shelokov being my doctor, he WAS. I haven't seen him in a while and he WILL BE my surgeon if I choose to travel that far for surgery. I will choose my own surgeon in my own time and based upon my own opinions.

Pam, I hope it makes you pleased that you have now done what I told you no one on this forum has the right to do...to drive someone away. I have enough stress in my life without your rudeness. Enjoy the forum. Maybe soon you'll be the only one left.

Ann

txmarinemom
02-19-2009, 02:48 PM
I think we need to define "over(ly) dramatic", and no, Ann ... I doubt I'll drive everyone off: That statement is what I'd qualify as "over(ly) dramatic".

I will continue to express my educated/experienced opinion of Hanson to combat your original irrational post, full of exclamation marks and contradictions. Future patients deserve that.

All I mentioned about your family (and the out of context paragraph in your rant) is that it has no relevancy. I still say that. Everyone faces challenges, and if you think for one second I was "able to visit the pharmacy" just after surgery EASILY, you're way off the mark. We all do what we need/want to do - and we can choose to play the victim or not: I drug 2 babies around for years as a single Mom. Later, I fought the Special Ed system for 12 years. Was it easy? No. Did I ever use it as an excuse for anything? No. That's where we're very different.

BTW, your excuses are bouncing all over the place now ...

Your original post cites insurance issues with the quantity written. You claim Hanson made you feel like a liar about your pain (although you never said why, other than he wouldn't give you > 30 pills).

In your last post, you state insurance/cost isn't the issue. Now you say the issue is getting your kids to the pharmacy.

You don't have to drag 4 kids to the pharmacy, Ann. There are other ways to get refills (mail order, have someone else pick them up, etc.) I'm pretty sure you have a *husband*, correct?

After all the ranting about the quantity prescribed and why that was SUCH an issue for you (the only issue I can even vaguely determine), you finish your original post with:


"A month Rx of pain meds can last me 3-4 months!"

Based on that (your own words), shouldn't 30 pills last you at least a month? I fail to see the problem other than you seem to need someone to blame.