Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why does my Duke University orthopedic surgeon practice medicine?

I am no fan of Obama Care.  I am a firm believer that every responsible person should have some sort of medical insurance.  It is responsible.  There should not be a "pre existing" issue because people should not ever be without insurance.

And this comes from a person with a history of cancer and orthopedic issues.

At this moment, I have osteomyelitis in my left tibia.  I had surgery to clean out the bone infection on 9-13-2010.  Sadly, the surgery was not a success.  

The reason for the surgery's failure is less important than the fact that no one in the hospital listened to me when I mentioned that the wound was opening two days after the surgery or that the wound was wide open on the day of discharge.  

My surgeon (who is featured on the video) never explained the surgery to me, never scheduled a follow up appointment with me.  And why should he?  He earns much more money as the surgical advisor for:

1.  Speakers Bureau: Zimmer Orthopedics 
2.  Consultant:  Zimmer Orthopedics 
3.  Consultant:  Biomet
4.  Consultant:  Total Joint Orthopedic
5.  Consultant:  Amedica Corporation
6.  Research Funding:  United States Federal Clinical Trials (NIH, Pfizer)
7.  Stockholder:  Amedica Corporation
8.  Stockholder:  Total Joint Orthopedic
9.  Research Support:  Zimmer, DePuy, Johnson & Johnson, Wright Medical 

[  as reference for above]

I begrudge no one making money.  I am a capitalist.  The problem I have is that joint replacements are becoming a money maker ---- like cosmetic Botox injections being given by dentists.  

I want my orthopedic surgeon to be first and foremost a surgeon with his fiduciary duty to me, the patient.  I become concerned when the orthopedic surgeon ignores me.  When I then learn that he is not first and foremost interested in patient care, I become concerned about the practice of physicians becoming too involved with the suppliers who provide significant income to the surgeon and his facility.

Then I begin to wonder how an orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Michael Bolognesi) with so few years experience can become the Director of Adult Reconstruction Orthopedic Surgery at Duke University.  

There are many more experienced orthopedic surgeons at Duke.  Perhaps those more experienced orthopedic surgeons at don't have the corporate contacts. 

Regardless of experience, even orthopedic "surgical advisers" like Dr. Bolognesi doesn't know how to prevent, diagnose, treat osteomyelitis (a bone infection which is common for immune compromised patients who have foreign metal objects placed in their body).

My orthopedic surgeon had no intention of following my care and everyone knew the wound was open when I discharged from the hospital. Dr. Michael Bolognesi scheduled the first post op for a day he was in surgery!

What if I was 75 years old, rehabbing from a hip replacement and in a nursing home?  Chances would be heightened that I would have a complicated wound issue.  

My metal was placed in December 2004 and hurt everyday until it was removed in July 2010.  The infection did not become obvious until the metal was removed.  And, it is very difficult to locate a surgeon that can properly treat the bone infection.

Ask questions before agreeing to have metal (especially joint replacement) placed in your body.  Is your orthopedic surgeon a surgeon or a sales rep for an orthopedic device company?

By the way, thanks Dr. Chris Dangles (Carle Clinic in Urbana, Illinois) for performing the unnecessary surgeries in 2000 & 2001 that started the last 10 years of nightmare.

And of course thanks to the orthopedic doctors who knew what Dr. Dangles did (and the fact that he stated under oath "I don't know why I performed the surgery" and "I think Cheryl fell down a lot because she had a drinking problem") - Dr. Mark Easley and Dr. Armen Kelikian.  Protecting bad doctors corrupts your profession.  

Please -  remember first do no harm and always remember the patient comes first.

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