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Thread: Upsetting Dr. Appointment - Considering Canceling Surgery - Advice Please

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    46

    Upsetting Dr. Appointment - Considering Canceling Surgery - Advice Please

    Hi everyone. I've seen many highly recommended doctors in NY, and choose Dr. Errico for my surgery based on his excellent reputation and the fact that he was so personable and easy to talk to. He was so nice during the first appointment and said I would do well with the surgery. The second appointment, he was different - short and not so personable. The third appointment that I just had was absolutely horrible. His manner was completely different from the first time I saw him and mistakes about my medical information were made. His resident, that came in to see me read in my chart that I was having a "limited" fusion - just a few in the lumbar to ease the pain. (What?!) I had to correct him - it's T4 to sacrum! The doctor made me feel so rushed and extremely uncomfortable, that I didn't ask all of my questions and this was the last visit prior to surgery. The only thing Dr. Errico focused on during the visit were surgical complications. He said I was 100% likely to have a complication, but 80% of the time it is not serious. He said the reason for doing these surgeries was progression and pain, so if I can't stand the pain, then in a few years if I have a problem at least I can say, well I had to do it. He was so negative - a complete about face from my first appointment. I feel almost like the first appointment was to hook me in, then once I was, he was done. I'm concerned because of the mistakes, the negativity, and the fact that he was so different. I am considering canceling my surgery with him because of this. I'm not sure what to do, should I cancel or just go ahead since he has such a good reputation? If I cancelled, there is another surgeon with a great reputation that I've already seen and am very confident of who I would try to use. There are insurance issues however, but I was told he would work with my plan (not sure what that means though). Advice is much appreciated - thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Southern CA
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    I would cancel my surgery and look for another surgeon.
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    21

    Post-op complications and a productive great life on the other side of surgery?

    I just read your post and I can only imagine how upset you must feel. It is so important to feel that not only are you making the right decision about having the surgery, but that it will be successful. I am not sure which other doctors you were thinking of. I saw Dr. Lonner and liked him alot, but only had one visit with him, and the same with Dr. Boachie, although insurance issues might prevent me from pursuing him.

    My question is to many of you out there who have had the surgery as adults. I will have to be fused from T-3 to sacrum and am aware that the recovery will be long and hard and may take up to a year. But after that time, will I be able to work a full-time job, take care of myself as a single, independent woman of 54 years of age? Maybe I am missing posts, but I have not read much about people going back to work full time and maintaining active lives. I have read alot about returning to activities and learning to live differently - but it seems most of the adult scoli surgery patients are retired. I hope I am wrong, and would love to hear some positive feedback.

    Comments like what Dr. Enricco said are the reasons many of us are so afraid to commit to surgery. We know it will only get worse with age, and that it will be a more difficult surgery, but we so need to believe and know that we can live productive lives after it. Any feedback from any one out there would be so helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    3,729
    that sounds strange for a final pre surgery appointment...
    are you saying he did not ask you if you had any questions about the surgery....???
    did he say anything positive or reassuring in any way....?
    i do not blame you for being nervous...

    you did not mention which other surgeons in NY you saw for consults...
    did any of them take your insurance...?
    why did this surgeon's office not get more specific about what, if anything, you
    will be responsible for in terms of bills....?

    i have consulted with many different surgeons, most in NYC, one in LA...
    none were that short with me, and i was only discussing surgery, not pre op
    or with a date scheduled...

    i do not know how you will go into surgery trusting your surgeon after
    those 2 last experiences you had with him....
    my personal suggestion is to consider another surgeon....

    best of luck...
    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 04-09-2012 at 01:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    East Central FL
    Posts
    193
    IMO - You've got to be confident & comfortable with a surgeon - esp for a surgery such as this. I have first hand experience going through a (non-back related) surgery with the same type of dr - great first visit, then cold, distant & non-receptive to questions, turned into Jeckel & Hyde over time. He ultimately messed up the surgery & I found later he had addictions & personal problems. I would stop everything w him & check back w the other surgeon with whom you had a comfort level to see if anything has changed with accepting insurance, payment plans, etc. Insurance & policies change all the time. You might also want to check w one more surgeon in your area. Follow your gut instinct!
    Mom of 14yo son diagnosed Oct 2011
    Surgery 1/3/12 w Dr. Geof Cronen,
    Tampa General Hospital T3 to L1
    Jacob's pre surg curves: T58 & L31 12/28/11
    photos & xrays in "First-Time Surgery" thread "Before & After"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    46
    Thanks guys. Yes, I've been very upset since. Jess, to answer your questions: He did not ask if I had questions, it felt to me like he thought I shouldn't be having another office visit (I don't know, but for giving up my spine for good, I don't think 3 office visits is to much...), and he said nothing positive in any way. I asked some of my questions and he answered briefly, then he talked about complications, then the visit was over. I've seen Drs. Boachie, Neuwirth, and Lonner. I will most likely go back to Dr. Neuwirth he was really my first choice as long as I can get confirmation on pricing as he is not in my insurance (Dr. Errico was). Yes, it was a strange appointment. I thought for the last one prior to surgery he would have been reassuring and informative. He was neither. Thanks for the support.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    2,748
    Ripley,
    It souded like he either didn't have your chart or he had someone else's chart to me. I would go with the other surgeon. You can't risk having this messed up. Is your surgery scheduled? Another option would be to go back to him and tell him what he did and ask him if he had your chart. I would ask what procedure he was planning on doing and if it was different from the first one he told you, ask him why and show you on your x-rays. It really sounds like a mess up in charts to me. I had something similar happen to me, but was not scheduled for surgery. The doc got everything ALL wrong, but he admitted that he was winging it as he forgot to look at my chart and didn't even have it with him...
    Be happy!
    We don't know what tomorrow brings,
    but we are alive today!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    2,748
    Quote Originally Posted by Terrik View Post

    My question is to many of you out there who have had the surgery as adults. I will have to be fused from T-3 to sacrum and am aware that the recovery will be long and hard and may take up to a year. But after that time, will I be able to work a full-time job, take care of myself as a single, independent woman of 54 years of age? Maybe I am missing posts, but I have not read much about people going back to work full time and maintaining active lives. I have read alot about returning to activities and learning to live differently - but it seems most of the adult scoli surgery patients are retired. I hope I am wrong, and would love to hear some positive feedback.
    Terrik,
    I will refer you to titaniumed. He is fused, I believe, from T2 to pelvis with pelvic anchors. He's single and lived alone at the time of his surgery. He works full time now, as far as I know. I think he was about 49 at the time of surgery. I'm trying to remember, it's in his signature. You might shoot him a PM or post on one of his threads. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    I forgot to add, that he was and still is an avid skier. It's very impressive!
    Last edited by rohrer01; 04-09-2012 at 04:28 PM.
    Be happy!
    We don't know what tomorrow brings,
    but we are alive today!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    7,187
    I'm not sure I'd try to find a new surgeon, but I would definitely postpone surgery. I do not like the idea of you going into surgery with such a negative experience. In the meantime, I would send him an email or a letter, outlining your concerns.

    It's important to remember that surgeons are just people, and they have bad days. So, it may have been a bad day, or that may be the norm, and your first appointment was on a good day. If you send him the email or letter, you should be able to judge whether or not you want to go forward with him, or find another surgeon.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    1,956
    That is strange, and would not give me the warm and fuzzy feeling you need to have with your surgeon. I agree with the others and cancel. Maybe he'll want to explain himself because he was having a bad day or something, but PLEASE. It's just not right. If you are putting your life in someone's hands, you have to feel that you are doing the right thing.

    ((Hugs))
    __________________________________________
    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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    332
    Just chiming in agreeing with the other posts. Going into a surgery like this, you have to have the utmost confidence in your Dr. I had a consult with a very reputable surgeon in a major teaching hospital and was totally turned off by his approach. I knew in both my heart and my head when I had found the right surgeon. I think you have to be mentally as well as physically prepared and if you have doubts or you feel as though you are not being heard, it's time to move on. Fortunately, scoli surgery is not an immediate life-threatening situation so you have time. Best of luck to you!


    Anne in PA
    Age 58
    Diagnosed at age 14, untreated, no problem until age 50
    T4 to sacrum fusion
    63 thoracic now 35, 92 lumbar now 53
    Dr. Baron Lonner, 2/2/10
    Am pain-free, balanced, happy & an inch taller !

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,293

    Exclamation surgeon burn-out?

    I am just wondering about Dr. E also. I have actually recommended him to others based on what his patients told me personally. I had an appointment with him but cancelled it. I had an appointment with Boachie and decided, on my first visit, to schedule with him. That was 9 years ago and I am still pain free. Turn 70 next month.
    Original scoliosis surgery 1956 T-4 to L-2 ~100 degree thoracic (triple)curves at age 14. NO hardware-lost correction.
    Anterior/posterior revision T-4 to Sacrum in 2002, age 60, by Dr. Boachie-Adjei @Hospital for Special Surgery, NY = 50% correction

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    213
    I agree you need to have confidence in your surgeon. He took the time to introduce me to another one of his patients who had the surgery four months before me. The surgeon I chose even prayed with me before the surgery. It was comforting. On the funny side, he prayed with me and then in the middle of my surgery, we had an earthquake. Oh well, God got me through it all. :-)

    I agree with Linda, everyone has bad days. Maybe communicate via email how you felt you were treated and see if there is some different behavior on the part of the surgeon.

    When they talk about "working with your insurance", from the best I could glean from a surgeon I almost used who'se staff stated the same thing, they play a bit of a numbers game by stating the surgery was more expensive to get the insurance company to pay more. In the long run, they have a price in mind for the the surgery and you end up paying the difference between what their internal "price" is and what the insurance paid. You also need to find out if the hospital you are going to use is in your insurance plan.

    For Terrik - I am 57 and I think my surgeon was more conservative than some of the others many see on this forum. I still have a bit of curve--he didn't break the bones where they were already fused, but worked around the fused bones and still got me quite a bit straighter, and I gained 2-3 inches of height. I have much better lung capacity now. I wonder if I had a bit easier/faster recovery because of this.

    I have been back to work full time since four months post surgery, but my job is mostly desk work--but I do travel for business, which means pulling my suitcase around the airport (I do check it). I took my first business trip across country when I was between six and seven months post surgery.

    Regarding being back to active...I walk around two miles a day. I'd like to go back to showing my dogs (big dogs), but will wait at least one year post surgery and talking to the surgeon if I can at least lightly run around the ring with one of my silly dogs. I also hope to start back riding my jet ski after a year, although I am pondering getting the SeaDoo that has shock absorbers in the seat.

    I have found in the last two months I have gained quite a bit agility (sorry, dog terms are engrained in me). Actually, for the first time this morning, sitting on a stool, I was able to put my socks (trouser socks) on for the first time without the sock aid.

    My two cents for a Monday evening.
    Discovered scoliosis when 15 years old.
    Wore Milwaulkee Brace for 1.5 years.
    Top curve 85 degrees, bottom curve 60 degrees

    Surgery completed August 23, 2011 (during an earthquake, can you believe that?)
    Dr. Charles Edwards, II
    The Spine Center at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, MD
    Before and after xrays:
    http://www.valley-designs.com/myspine

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Syracuse, NY, USA
    Posts
    158
    Quote Originally Posted by Terrik View Post

    My question is to many of you out there who have had the surgery as adults. I will have to be fused from T-3 to sacrum and am aware that the recovery will be long and hard and may take up to a year. But after that time, will I be able to work a full-time job, take care of myself as a single, independent woman of 54 years of age? Maybe I am missing posts, but I have not read much about people going back to work full time and maintaining active lives. I have read alot about returning to activities and learning to live differently - but it seems most of the adult scoli surgery patients are retired. I hope I am wrong, and would love to hear some positive feedback.
    I haven't returned to work full-time yet, but it is my intention to do so as soon as I possibly can (living off of disability payments won't pay my bills in the long run, and in any case they would only last a maximum of 6 months anyway). When I saw the surgeon last Thursday (11 weeks post-op now), he told me that I could return to work part-time at home (my employer will allow this) "after course of PT" (PT is of course physical therapy, which I start on Wednesday). And he said that I could probably return to work full-time in about 2 to 3 months. I have a desk/computer job, so it is not that physically demanding, other than sitting for long periods of time and using a keyboard and monitor.

    I'm 53, so not far behind you.

    -- Mary

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,729
    i thought it was 2 unsatisfactory visits...Linda...?
    yes, they are people...but people with the life of their patients in their hands, quite literally....
    2 negative appts in a row...? and the last one just prior to scheduled surgery would spook me into
    finding another surgeon...just sayin'

    jess

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