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S
urGery
...C
onSiderationS
b
efore
G
oinG
"u
nder
the
k
nife
"
L
ong-term, sustained pain is a powerful
motivator for surgery. Recently, my sister
was sent to a surgeon for relief from chronic
back pain. To her surprise, he recommended major
surgery. While she considered it, Teri began to
feel uncomfortable with the recommendation.
Thankfully, she listened to the small voice in her
head (and her sister), and scheduled a second
opinion consultation with a spine center. To her
surprise, the second physician told her that he
would never recommend the extensive surgery
unless she was debilitated with enough pain to
keep her bedridden. Even more concerning, he
advised that the surgery would potentially not
solve the problem...and it could actually make her
back even worse!
"Back pain is extremely common, and surgery often
fails to relieve it." ~ Mayo Clinic
There are many articles online discussing the
"overprescription" of different types of surgery,
such as a 2010 article by Walter Olson called Journal
of American Medical Association: back surgeries
overprescribed: "Part of the litigation explosion
includes every other person with a back injury
claim being sent for invasive `fusion' or other drastic
spinal surgery. Of course, defendants, often through
insurance, foot the bill for these very expensive
procedures. In my time I saw dozens of cases
involving, say, a 5-mph fender bender that resulted
in these surgeries. The cost of some surgeries can
approach $100,000. A few doctors were known
for never seeing a patient who didn't `need' these
surgeries. A study in JAMA now confirms these
are grossly overprescribed and often a really bad
idea, medically." Other types of surgery on the
potentially overprescribed list include C-sections,
hysterectomies, and even heart surgeries.
Frightening, isn't it? Where surgery is
concerned, there are risks involved with every
procedure. When surgery is recommended...
Healthcare
p
dvocacy
The Patient
Advocate
A Monthly Healthcare Advocacy Editorial by Joni
Aldrich, Christopher Jerry, and Graham Whiteside