Anonymous - firstname.lastname@example.org
I was injured at work during the year 1993. I consulted with 16 neurosurgeons and 16 orthopedic surgeons and was informed by every surgeon that I visited that I had a 80%/20% percent chance of ever walking again. I took a chance and had my first surgery performed at a hospital in San Mateo (cannot disclose due to legal issues) by one of their doctors. The surgery was performed, but I came out feeling worse then when I went in.
I remember pushing myself off on my back, though the anesthetic hadn't worn off, and I knew as awareness came upon me that something was seriously wrong. During the monitoring stage of my "recovery" I continually complaining to the surgeon that something was seriously not right, however, for my "treatment" (I really think he didn't want to hear what was wrong) he prescribed drugs from A-Z to treat the "symptoms". Eventually he "diagnosed" me as "asymptomatic", though I was still in a wheelchair and my pain level had reached 80%.
Knowing that this didn't feel normal as I was in worst pain then when I went in, as well as knowing that my spouse had overheard most of his patients complaining of the same symptoms (more pain then before surgery) I started my search for another answer. I conducted a thorough research for another surgeon and came upon many articles on Dr. Edward Katz (orthopedic surgeon) and Dr. George Koenig (neurosurgeon) and went in for a consultation (see Doctors and specialists in the USA).
After explaining went I had recently undergone, they conducted MRI scans and found numerous "issues", e.g. spine unstable, tissue, muscle and nerve damages, disc particle remains, and my S1 & S2 broken. (I had not gone in with this originally destroyed)! After determining if I wanted to proceed with another surgery in the year of 1993 Dr. Katz & Koenig placed me in a full body cast (for one full year) so that the internal injuries conducted by the first surgeon could heal before attempting to perform a second repairable surgery.
After completion of the second surgery and while being transferred into the recovery room, I overheard my husband inquiry why they had the bed guard rails up, the nurse in Sequoia explained that during my first surgery, as they were transferring me from the surgery table to the recovery table the doctor and he staff had dropped me and as a precautionary measure they wanted to ensure that nothing went wrong. (Keep in mind that THIS WAS NOT DISCLOSED (the staff dropping me) during my first surgery and when I first complained about feeling more discomfort then when I went in the "doctor" diagnosed me as "asymptomatic").
Dr. Katz & Dr. Koenig took their time and explained the procedures and the work I would need to put in to get my life back. (I was a runner, and played on a girls softball team in college, I was also physically fit and being disabled was debilitating not only physically, but mentally). It took two long painful years to relearn how to walk, however I went from being in a wheelchair, to being in a walker, to crutches, to a cane. 14 years have passed and I have some limitations because of the first surgeon and am clinically considered 30% disabled, however I can still walk in heels, ride my motorcycle and do things most normal females can do. I have titanium screws in my back and have been fused from the L4/L5/S1 & S2, and am so very thankful to both surgeons for giving me my life.
Dr. Katz and Dr. Koenig literally saved me. They care about their patients, I am saddened that Dr. Katz will no longer be my surgeon (he will be retiring on March of 2008. [I still visit him to ensure that the screws don't climb and I haven't done anything stupid]. I would recommend them both to anyone looking for great, caring doctors/surgeons. They work out of the Sequoia Hospital, and have their own private clinic. Dr. Katz will still be on the board for Sequoia, however he will no longer be practicing. Dr. Koenig is still going strong. I wish Dr. Katz the best and hope to find another surgeon who has the same heart, patience and care for his patient that he has shown me as well as many others. He will be missed.