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Old 07-28-09, 07:24 PM   #1
DnvrFox
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OT a bit - A Medical Rant and the 1st Annual Ride

OT a bit - A Medical Rant and the 1st Annual Ride

My son, Andy, is profoundly developmentally disabled. He has a difficult time showing us where pain is, and is very stoic. One has to be an expert at reading him and his face to know when he is hurting.

Andy is a very hard worker, and extremely determined. He has osteopenia (a bit less that osteoporosis).

In February, coming our of a building, Andy fell, and could no longer put weight on his left leg. His long-term, loving and excelllent caretaker immediately took him to the ER. There, they examined him, took an X-Ray of his knee, and pronounced that he was OK, and was strained, etc.

He had to give up riding his bicycle, one of his great joys. He couldn't walk and used a wheelchair.

There followed failed physical therapy (where the therapist chided him for "not trying"), other visits to medical folks, a hospitalization for another reason, where I pleaded with the doctor for further examination of why he would put no weight on his leg, but - no - that was not what he was admittied for, therefore, they could not do anythng anout his leg. Finally, Andy's PCP referred him to a Physiatrist (specialist in rehab medicine) who stated he did not think it was his knee at all, and ordered a full bone scan of his left side from the waist down.

Well, we discovered last Thursday that Andy has had a broken femur for 6 months now. For 6 months, he has been outting up with all of the pain from a broken leg. One has to wonder why the ER did not simply do an X-Ray of the hip, upper bone area upon the first exam in February.

We are now faced with surgery for that broken leg - which has not healed - and will see our first surgeon tomorrow. We will be seeing more than one surgeon, because we want a couple of opinions on a course of action.

Then, most likely, we will shortly be having surgery and whatever afterwards that entails. While his caretaker is excellent (he lives in her home) we still need (and want) to be around during this time.

Which brings me to the first Annual Ride on August 31.

Right at this time, I don't know whether or not I will make it. It will depend a lot on the course of action and success, etc.

Sorry about that, but life always brings unexpected turns.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-28-09 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 07-28-09, 07:32 PM   #2
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Man that is horrible that he was walking around with a broken leg for 6 months!
I cant understand the medical profession these days.
Also why didn't they take a x-ray of the whole leg from the beginning? He fell on it and was having trouble with weight on it. Sounds too simple to look at the whole leg to me.

I hope Andy gets better now that you all know whats wrong. Speedy recovery. My thoughts are with you guys.
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Old 07-28-09, 07:34 PM   #3
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Man that is horrible that he was walking around with a broken leg for 6 months!
I cant understand the medical profession these days.
Also why didn't they take a x-ray of the whole leg from the beginning? He fell on it and was having trouble with weight on it. Sounds too simple to look at the whole leg to me.

I hope Andy gets better now that you all know whats wrong. Speedy recovery. My thoughts are with you guys.

No, he wan't walking. He was in a wheelchair and at times a walker. He could not weight bear on the leg, period.
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Old 07-28-09, 08:12 PM   #4
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No, he wan't walking. He was in a wheelchair and at times a walker. He could not weight bear on the leg, period.
Sorry for the confusion on my part, still a broken leg for 6 months is nuts.
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Old 07-29-09, 07:29 AM   #5
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An attorney would be helpful at this point.
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Old 07-29-09, 07:52 AM   #6
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An attorney would be helpful at this point.

Nope

1. He is under Medicaid - any results from a suit would go to Medicaid, either now or in the future. Any assets over $2,000, and he is off Medicaid.

2. The legal process (depositions, et al) would absolutely freak out his caregiver, and, somehow, they would figure out how to make her the fall guy (gal). She would leave us and him, most likely. I can't take that chance.

3. My son and daughter-in-law are both attorneys if need be, and are highly involved in this situation.

4. That doesn't mean we are not going to take any action, but it will not be in the form of a lawsuit.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:08 AM   #7
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Aw geez, DnvrFox, I am so sorry to read this. I can't imagine the pain he must have endured...What courage he has to have put up with it.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:18 AM   #8
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Not all heroes in life gets a podium to stand on. I hope he heals fast and can get back on his bike.
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Old 07-29-09, 12:10 PM   #9
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Best wishes to you an your entire family, Denver. I know both of your sons have been through a lot.

Given his inability to bear any weight on the leg, I am amazed that it took so long to diagnose a fracture.
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Old 07-29-09, 12:32 PM   #10
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I feel your pain, even from this distance. From our discussions I feel certain you know your way around the system and know ways to make the medical folks accountable, as they should be for such callous treatment, without excessive fallout to others.

Our prayers are with your family.
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Old 07-29-09, 01:10 PM   #11
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Gosh, Denver, I'm so sorry for your son, your family, and this unfortunate turn of events. I'm at a loss for words, other than to say that I hope this will lead to something positive for all of you.
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Old 07-29-09, 02:36 PM   #12
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Saw the first Ortho surgeon today.

1. He does not agree with the Physiatrist nor the radiologist, stating the bone may (or may not) be healed incorrectly at the wrong angle. Stated that only a CAT scan can tell. The radiologist and physiatrist state it is not healed.

2. This ortho we saw does not do this kind of surgery, and states that this is now so rare (because almost everyone else is diagnosed correctly at the time of injury and repaired at that time, not 6 months later) that few surgeons will know for sure how to handle it.

Options are:

1. Leave alone at about 20 degress off (if CAT scan shows it is healed)
2. If healed, break the bone and reset.
3. Total femur head and partial hip replacement.

Too bad the ER doc didn't see fit to do just ONE more X-Ray (of the femur) from a non-communicating patient with severe pain, after suffering a significant fall, with osteopenia. That would sure have saved a lot of future pain and trouble.

We see a 2nd surgeon tomorrow for another opinion.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-29-09 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 07-29-09, 04:48 PM   #13
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Dnver, I can't even begin to imagine the anguish you and your family must be dealing with.

This sounds like one of the worst possible examples of U.S. healthcare I've read about yet. People's jobs should be in jeapordy over this incident! It's no wonder that Europeans are terrified to visit this country for fear that they may become victims of this broken system.

My thoughts are of your son and your family. I pray you find a Specialist who is qualified and able to relieve your Son of his pain and suffering.

God Bless
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Old 07-29-09, 04:56 PM   #14
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Dnver, I can't even begin to imagine the anguish you and your family must be dealing with.

God Bless
My thoughts exactly. That is an awful thing for you and your family to deal with.

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Old 07-29-09, 11:42 PM   #15
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After your description I think the word, callous, that I used is appropriate. Maybe even incompetent.

You might ask the surgeon what the allowed deviation is for a femur repair. Off the top of my head I don't know how many degrees are generally allowed for an otherwise mobile patient. But the surgeon should know and be able to tell you. If the current deviation exceeds that I would think you would be able to negotiate a result that is satisfactory to your son and your family.

How important it is to achieve that standard is a judgement call I would guess and depends on whether achieving that standard would result in an improvement in quality of life for your son. I guess you and your wife are in the catbird seat for that. There are many fine orthopods in the Denver area so I'm sure you will be able to find someone to carry out your wishes.

In the meantime please know your son and your family will continue in my prayers.
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Old 07-29-09, 11:52 PM   #16
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We all wish for the best possible outcome for your son! (when I was a youngster, I wore a leg brace for 2 years and now have full mobility)

You sound like a very dedicated Father - don't give up until your son can walk and experience the joy of riding a Bike again ... God bless you ...
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Old 07-29-09, 11:54 PM   #17
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I'm so sorry to hear this. I feel for Andy; can't imagine the pain he's been enduring because the medical professionals blew him off. That's so wrong.

Keeping all of you in our thoughts...so sad, unnecessary, avoidable, angering, frustrating. I hope you get his leg fixed with the least amount of pain possible.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:47 AM   #18
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It's a horrible situation.

For some reason I've atracted many patients with severe disabilities in my practice. Part of it is that I'm a lowish volume doc (by modern standards) who makes time for what's required for these folks. You can't be in a hurry with them, they have their own timing and rhythm.

Some of it is "world view". I'm not a utilitarian, so I try not to judge patients on their "potential contribution to society".

Unfortunately if you look at the current health care proposals, they all invoke utilitarianism. For example, limiting seniors access to certain types of health care, as they do in UK, is utilitrianism at it's rankest.

So this kind of thing will get worse over the next decade, not better.

That's all. If you disagree and want to counter rant, PM me, don't derail this thread.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:15 AM   #19
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We see a 2nd surgeon tomorrow for another opinion.
I'm not only not a doctor but I don't even play one over the internet. When you are getting a divergent range of opinions, seeking one more definitely sounds prudent to me.

FWIW, you can count me as one more person who is holding your son in my thoughts.
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Old 07-30-09, 10:07 AM   #20
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DnvrFox,

Sorry to hear about this. Your son is lucky to have such an ornery cuss* as a Dad who is going to get this straightened out. Best of luck to all of you -

BB

*meant as a compliment
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Old 07-30-09, 12:09 PM   #21
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It's a horrible situation.

For some reason I've atracted many patients with severe disabilities in my practice. Part of it is that I'm a lowish volume doc (by modern standards) who makes time for what's required for these folks. You can't be in a hurry with them, they have their own timing and rhythm.

Some of it is "world view". I'm not a utilitarian, so I try not to judge patients on their "potential contribution to society".

Unfortunately if you look at the current health care proposals, they all invoke utilitarianism. For example, limiting seniors access to certain types of health care, as they do in UK, is utilitrianism at it's rankest.

So this kind of thing will get worse over the next decade, not better.

That's all. If you disagree and want to counter rant, PM me, don't derail this thread.
Not a further hijack at all. Not even a counter rant, or even a rant for that matter. Just a perspective comment.

In my opinion the situation presented by the OP is but an example of what goes on every day in our medical system. There is way too much emphasis on "cookbook medicine". Which combined with some combination of focus on profit and/or lack of consideration of patients as people results in inferior outcome. Correction will require leadership to do the right thing rather than using the situation to further power and financial agendas.

I pray for Denver and his family. I am also sorrowful because although the details may vary there are many others in similar straits.
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Old 07-30-09, 02:41 PM   #22
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Best of luck working through all this. All of us support whatever is best for your son and you!
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Old 07-30-09, 02:48 PM   #23
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Just came back from the 2nd opinion. He believes that Andy will need to go to a special program in downtown Denver, due to the contractures developed while he used the wheelchair instead of walking, and may need tendon lengthening, etc.

So, we now have another appointment scheduled.

So, what could have been prevented by a $25 dollar X-Ray, a pinning and some common sense is now costing thousands and thousands of dollars.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:56 PM   #24
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Just came back from the 2nd opinion. He believes that Andy will need to go to a special program in downtown Denver, due to the contractures developed while he used the wheelchair instead of walking, and may need tendon lengthening, etc.

So, we now have another appointment scheduled.

So, what could have been prevented by a $25 dollar X-Ray, a pinning and some common sense is now costing thousands and thousands of dollars.
Oh Denver, I feel for you and your family. Hopefully, at least the medics involved will take responsibility and give you some first class priority and treatment and will pick up the cost. That is the absolute least they should do.
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Old 07-30-09, 08:23 PM   #25
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Oh Denver, I feel for you and your family. Hopefully, at least the medics involved will take responsibility and give you some first class priority and treatment and will pick up the cost. That is the absolute least they should do.
Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

Totally different folks and departments (and facilities). They would never admit any responsibility. Maybe Alaska is different, but not around here. Actually, they don't even know about it. ER docs are usually docs hired on an extra basis - sort of an extra job, and change a lot.
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