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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Delay in Diagnosis of a Painful Back Condition

    My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: PA
    Patient was fit, No medical history of pain or other serious conditions.
    What started out as severe pain in leg where the patient could not walk anymore, spreads into other leg, spasms in body, lead up to severe back pain & disabled

    Patient goes to ER for severe leg pain, after lying down there pain subsides, of course lying down no activity. Xrays done nothing found follow up with MD
    Excruciating pain both legs ER , xray again, follow up with MD rx for a drug called Gabapentin which only helps a little, patient cannot grocery shop or do normal daily activities
    MD rx's 1 low dose Vicodin 5/500 mg, more tests, more ER visits, ER sometimes rx-d pain med which patient did not fill, patient wanted answers

    This went on for 8 months, patient felt the doctors thought they were drug seeking. Only allowed 2nd pain pill 6 months later low dose Vicodin
    Neuro spasms start to spread throughout body as if spiders are crawling inside. Patient now disabled due to pain, rx-ed non narcotic dilantin

    Patient sent to pain clinic 1 yr later, living in pain all this time.
    Seen all the specialists including Cleveland Clinic, every possible test done, excluding PET scan or MRI with contrast, condition is getting worse.
    Neuro cannot understand what is wrong, vascular don't know, they just shake their heads.

    Insurance playing games and denying an MRI for months, patient now develops severe back pain, patient goes to phys therapy per insurance, insurance sends letter to outside appeal people, rewording what patient wrote to them, patient can see its worded as if they were seeking drugs. Patient appeals 3rd time, denied, patient contacts medicare, miraculously MRI granted.

    The back pain could have been avoided if insurance would have granted the MRI the 1st time. Recent dx is displacement of lumbar invert disc by xray. Drs. have called it some arthritis, some? excruciating pain that would knock you down? as if it were no big deal after losing 2 yrs of normal life.
    All this time patient wanted to be able to walk, a dx, not drug seeking, left in pain for 2 yrs and only recent given a pain patch. Now scheduled for epidural x 3.

    Patient doesn't expect that anything legal can be done, seems the Drs. Insurers have the upper hand, a patient does not have thousands of dollars to pursue this.

    Is this the normal of how a patient is to be treated? as if everyone is lying about pain, to go through more and more tests to seek drugs? Spending thousands of dollars for that? Patient feels that is how the Drs. looked at it or they missed something on all of the tests and xrays. Years of normal life gone, waiting for one OV after another, months between tests, patient feels like nobody gave a damn, a person in pain would want the epidural, constantly taking pain meds is not the answer.

    This is beyond belief that Drs. would just let a patient go like this, pain pills help but to keep walking or putting pressure on something already there made matters worse. What a horrid mess our medical system.

    Now will need to sign the consent for the epidural hopefully to take pain away or after that surgery.

    Thanks for reading

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Somewhere near Canada

    Default Re: Patient Cannot Walk Due to Pain for 2 Years Now is Nobody Responsible

    Well, I can promise you that several posters here also deal with chronic pain issues.

    The problem is, pain doesn't really prove a darned thing (obviously) and it's subjective. What might be a "stabbing" pain of 8 on the scale of 1-10, may be only a 3 to someone else (and vice versa).

    Your pain presented in something of an atypical pattern, too - generally sciatica, disk problems and arthritis spread downwards, not upwards. I can - truthfully - understand why an MRI wasn't immediately indicated. An x-ray can't show a damaged disk, but it can give a general idea of how much wear and tear is present...and they're a hell of a lot cheaper, too. Your weight can affect things, too.

    Ultimately, most decent pain specialists start with the most conservative treatments possible. Diagnosing the underlying condition is something of a hit-and-miss, and what you've described isn't really unusual. Mild pain killers and PT are often the first step. They can try meds intended for neuropathy (such as the gabapentin), anti-convulsants (the dilantin), and muscle relaxers (flexeril and the like). Anti-depressants can help. Getting the right "cocktail" is also hit and miss, unfortunately. And to make matters worse, back surgeries have a high failure rate - it's something of a crapshoot, and the doctors won't know the results until you've actually had it done.

    I understand your frustration. It does sometimes feel as if you're just a number and nothing more. But it's not so much the doctors letting a patient stay in pain for so long - it's that without an obvious reason for the pain (a break, cancer, that fun stuff), they're actually quite limited.

    Sooo...that's really all we have. There's no wrong-doing as far as I can see (an earlier MRI may have made no difference, truthfully).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Re: Patient Cannot Walk Due to Pain for 2 Years Now is Nobody Responsible

    [QUOTE=Dogmatique;784088]Well, I can promise you that several posters here also deal with chronic pain issues.

    Sooo...that's really all we have. There's no wrong-doing as far as I can see (an earlier MRI may have made no difference, truthfully).[/QUOTE]

    Yes, that what I think. I questioned the Dr. about the epidural doing more harm than good, reply was no and keep patient walking. Ah..the way of the world

    Thanks for quick reply

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Default Re: Patient Cannot Walk Due to Pain for 2 Years Now is Nobody Responsible

    If your complaint is that all this could have been avoided with an MRI why are you blasting the physicians?

    From your own posting, it's YOUR insurance company that dragged their feet approving the MRI.

    In addition, ER's are not supposed to be your primary care provider.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Patient Cannot Walk Due to Pain for 2 Years Now is Nobody Responsible

    Also, you may want to keep a detailed journal of your pain. What type of pain you are having, what helps, what makes it worse? Does lying down relieve it? Is there any stiffness or numbness involved? Does a heating pad help? All of this will help your doctor give you a good diagnosis and treatment. The previous poster is correct. Try to see the same practitioner. An ER doc is not going to know you or your history as well.

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