Finding Great Medical Care

In recent years, the medical system in the country has come under enormous pressure. I was fortunate to be a beneficiary of a shining moment that resulted in great medical care. When very talented doctors work in highly sophisticated hospitals on complicated ailments and diseases, the outcome is usually very beneficial for patients. In my situation, a surgeon listened to me carefully and was courageous in making his own diagnosis, even while others disagreed.

Several weeks ago, I experienced significant pain affiliated with my Achilles tendon. The pain persisted, and I went to see an orthopedic surgeon who treated my family on several other occasions. After perusing an MRI of my tendon, he said that I did not need surgery.

Note: the Achilles tendon is the thickest tendon in our bodies. When the tendon rips apart, surgery is the recommended treatment. When the tendon is partially ripped, it is possible to avoid surgery with intense rehab. The tendon does grow back. 

While away on vacation, I was casually walking indoors and heard a popping noise that emanated from my ankle. This was followed by significant pain for just a moment. I reported the situation to my doctor, who asked me to take another MRI. It showed the tear in my Achilles tendon worsened.

I began to take rehab and spoke with two foot specialists about the situation. One of them emphatically told me that the injury was serious and should be surgically repaired.

I asked the orthopedic surgeon to reconsider my situation, and he tentatively decided to repair the Achilles tendon with surgery.

I scheduled surgery and prepared myself to deal with an extraordinarily difficult rehab regimen. While doing so I noticed that my tendon was feeling a little better. I reported this to my doctor who said that before he did the surgery, he would take one more look at my injury.

On Tuesday, I checked in to get the surgery done with the assurance that the surgeon would consider my treatment one more time. I entered the surgical preparation room, disrobed, had my leg shaved and was hooked up to an IV. Suddenly, the doctor appeared.

He reexamined the area in question and definitively decided to not do surgery. He did not want to subject me to an extended rehab regime and wanted to avoid the perils of an invasive treatment. I was unhooked from the IV and walked out the door with gratitude. Before I left, the doctor said that he was not equivocating when he said, I should not do the surgery. It gave me great comfort that it was the right decision. I am extremely thankful that the surgeon made a tough call.

With confident, talented and experienced doctors, common sense and a strong desire to get well, we can all make better health care decisions and ensure our health. We only hear about situations where doctors and patients have erred and rarely hear about the great moments.

Thank you to my doctors, my wife, the rehab specialist, and all the others that participated in my final decision to not do surgery. 

Leave a Reply