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Thread: Dr. Darrell Hanson - Houston, TX

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, TX
    Posts
    142

    Thumbs down Dr. Darrell Hanson - Houston, TX

    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
    Last edited by Houston Curves; 01-26-2009 at 02:58 PM.
    44 year old female
    Surgery on Nov. 1, 2010
    Dr. Darrell Hanson, Methodist Hospital
    Posterior Only, 9 hours
    Presurgical: T 61 Degrees, L 58 degrees, with 15 degrees of thoracolumbar rotation
    Postsurgical: T 26, L 25

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,955
    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,
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Salina, Ks
    Posts
    126
    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. 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.
    Nancy Joy

    Surgery- Posterior- Oct. 8th, 2008
    Anterior- Nov. 10th, 2008
    Age 54
    T10 to Sacrum
    Curve 65 degrees
    Very straight now!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    389
    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    bucks county PA
    Posts
    156
    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.
    2 60* curves, DDD, left trunk shift, some rotation, rib and lumbar humps, annular tear at L5-S1
    surgery 5/08 planning fusion T3 or T4 to sacrum with iliac fixation
    Dr. Anderson at Rothman Institute
    5/16/08 ALIF L1-L5
    5/23/08 fused T2-sacrum w/fixation and I'm all Titanium
    6/4/08 open all back up to clean out for Staph infection
    (left open with just clear dressing)
    6/6/08 recleaned and closed
    3/30/2012 revision planned, broken rod and removal of iliac bolts

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    237
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    bucks county PA
    Posts
    156
    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. 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.
    2 60* curves, DDD, left trunk shift, some rotation, rib and lumbar humps, annular tear at L5-S1
    surgery 5/08 planning fusion T3 or T4 to sacrum with iliac fixation
    Dr. Anderson at Rothman Institute
    5/16/08 ALIF L1-L5
    5/23/08 fused T2-sacrum w/fixation and I'm all Titanium
    6/4/08 open all back up to clean out for Staph infection
    (left open with just clear dressing)
    6/6/08 recleaned and closed
    3/30/2012 revision planned, broken rod and removal of iliac bolts

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    east coast
    Posts
    299
    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.
    Last edited by green m&m; 01-08-2009 at 06:52 PM.
    30 something...

    2003 - T45, L???
    2005 - T50, L31
    bunch of measurements between...

    2011 - T60, L32
    2013 - T65, L?

    Posterior Fusion T3 - L3 09/15/14

    Before and After X-Ray


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,891
    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.
    63, and feeling better with each year-- Life is good!
    2007 major curve @ 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15-- and Tickled Pink!!!


    Click to view my pics: [url=http://s244.photobucket.com/albums/gg25/SusieB1951/pics%20of%20scoli%20x-rays/,[/url] digital x-rays, and pics of me

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, TX
    Posts
    142

    Thank you all!!

    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
    Last edited by Houston Curves; 01-26-2009 at 02:53 PM.
    44 year old female
    Surgery on Nov. 1, 2010
    Dr. Darrell Hanson, Methodist Hospital
    Posterior Only, 9 hours
    Presurgical: T 61 Degrees, L 58 degrees, with 15 degrees of thoracolumbar rotation
    Postsurgical: T 26, L 25

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    6

    dysautonomia

    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.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Houston TX
    Posts
    288
    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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Woodlands, TX
    Posts
    142

    Some of the issues mentioned below

    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.
    44 year old female
    Surgery on Nov. 1, 2010
    Dr. Darrell Hanson, Methodist Hospital
    Posterior Only, 9 hours
    Presurgical: T 61 Degrees, L 58 degrees, with 15 degrees of thoracolumbar rotation
    Postsurgical: T 26, L 25

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Houston TX
    Posts
    288
    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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Near Houston, TX
    Posts
    493
    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!
    Sherie
    Mom to 2
    Sheena, 20 (56T/62L, Surgery with Dr. Lenke 11/15/07, Fused T4-L4, great correction)
    Bijan, 17

    link to photos and xrays
    http://s232.photobucket.com/albums/e...urgery%202007/

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