Sunday, December 5, 2010

NC DePuy Hip & Zimmer Recall Patients-Rethink Dr Michael Bolognesi/Duke Orthopedics as your fix

I have to admit that being an advocate for my dad (although I was not particularly good at defeating the mighty Duke's insistence that my dad just die) was a breeze compared to being an advocate for myself.

For dad, all I expected from Duke was that they treat him with respect and humanity. I had no idea that I should have been concerned with competency and quality until it was too late. In caring for my dad, I was naive and believed that Duke University Medical wanted to help patients.  Silly me.

Even before I grasped that the fundamental issue at Duke was competency, I thought perhaps Duke just rationed care (which they are IMHO still doing).

Dad was dying, IMHO Duke's ignoring dad/lack of basic medical competence/rationing of care was the proximate cause of dad's death.

So my care-giving to my dad sucked.

Fast forward 9 months since dad's death. I am 30 years younger than my dad. Rationing of care? Revenge? Why mistreat me? Why insult me?

I have same osteomyelitis as my dad. But the infection is not hereditary or contagious?  Then why?  The only common denominators are that both dad and I had metal hardware placed in our legs by Dr. Mark Easley and then Duke oncology administered chemotherapy for our respective cancers.  Both of our pleas for pain relief from the orthopedic department were ignored.

Okay, so the same Duke orthopedic surgeons treated both of us. I should have taken dad to Cleveland when it was obvious that Duke orthopedics didn't know how to treat osteomyelitis. 

Yeah, there is a lot of guilt. But maybe I didn't really accept Duke orthopedic's incompetence until I actually read dad's  autopsy report.

My plea now is that those who have the trauma of recalled DePuy or Zimmer or other joint replacements chose their orthopedic surgeons carefully.  

Any time metal is placed in your bone, you risk a bone infection (osteomyelitis). It is a very serious infection.  Osteomyelitis usually hits children or the elderly.  But I am neither.

I was 42 years old when metal hardware was placed in my tibia.  I told the Duke orthopedic surgeon that it hurt.  Nothing was done.  

Now I am 48 years old.  I have seen my father die from osteomyelitis while being treated at Duke Medical in Durham, NC.  And coincidentally nine months after dad's death, I am suffering with the same infection.

By all empirical evidence, Dr Michael Bolognesi (Duke Orthopedics) botched my surgery.  The wound did not close, he actually refused to look at the opened wound - he just discharged me instead.  ("hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil" . . . if Dr Bolognesi did not see the wound opened then it must have been closed.  He must have learned that in a medical school risk management course).

When I tried to go to UNC Orthopedics (a nearby medical facility), Dr Bolognesi (or his orthopedic team) sent a letter degrading me and sabotaging my ability to get local care.  Other than breaking HIPAA violations, lying and compromising my ability to obtain medical care . . . well, other than all that Dr Bolognesi really did nothing wrong.)

Now I have to travel to Ohio to get my bone infection and now dead tibia bone removed.  It's expensive.  But I feel safe.

The Duke Infectious Disease physician and the orthopedic surgeon Dr Michael Bolognesi both claim that they do not know why the wound did not close.  

  • If Bolognesi really does not understand that his failure to remove all of the infection caused the osteomyelitis surgical wound to open then Dr Bolognesi is (IMHO) a really bad clinician/orthopedic surgeon and should not be placing any hardware in a human being - or even a domesticated family pet.  
  • If Dr Michael Bolognesi does understand that my osteomyelitis surgical wound did not heal because he failed to remove all of the infection/dead bone then (IMHO) Dr Bolognesi lacks the basic human integrity necessary to practice medicine as an ethical surgeon because he is unable to admit his errors.  In lieu of being honest with patients such as myself, Dr Bolognesi (or his orthopedic team) prepare and transmit disparaging reports about me to other orthopedic surgeons in an apparent attempt to sabotage my ability to get well.  In such an event, Dr Bolognesi is (IMHO) a really bad clinician/orthopedic surgeon and should not be placing any human being - or even a domesticated family pet.  
Did you have a DePuy Hip Replacement or other recalled orthopedic implant?  My goodness, if you received a letter telling you that another hip replacement looms in your future then you have suffered enough. 

My advise is that you should not jump to the first orthopedic surgeon that is placed in front of you.  

Osteomyelitis (bone infection) is a real possibility for you the more that an orthopedic surgeon enters you body and messes with your bone.  At a minimum, make sure that the orthopedic surgeon has  the knowledge to prevent, diagnose and treat the infection.  

If the orthopedic cannot prevent, diagnose and prevent osteomyelitis then you will end up like me . . . with actual dad bone in your body.  It hurts very bad and it is scary.

Dr Michael Bolognesi is an orthopedic surgeon at Duke University Medical.  He  answers questions at WebMD and is anxious to perform the reparative surgeries.  It seems logical that DePuy and Zimmer want Dr Bolognesi to perform the surgeries.

Dr Michael Bolognesi is an orthopedic surgical advisor for DePuy and ZimmerBolognesi for his medical surgical advise.  In fact Dr Bolognesi was in all likelihood the very medical advisor for DePuy and Zimmer at the time the recalled implants were being used.  

And where has Dr Bolognesi's advise left recall victims?   Needing surgery from DePuy and Zimmer surgical advisors such as Duke Medical's Dr. Bolognesi.  Hmmm. Interesting.  Ironic?  Coincidence? Insidious?  

Please just work with your attorney and make sure the orthopedic surgeon that is going to fix the recall: 

(1) is your physician and is 100% vested in your care - ideally, you would get to pick your own orthopedic surgeon; 

(2) does not have an on-going relationship with DePuy or Zimmer because if the surgeon does his/her incentive will be to fix and close you without close inspection of the implant. A surgeon who has an on-going relationship with DePuy would not be likely to take tissue to determine whether the implant caused a bone infection.  

Remember the surgeon wants to make his "deep pockets" client happy - you are just a nuisance and the surgeon is helping the device company keep damages down.

Moreover, why would you want that surgeon to fix your recall issue - especially when if you have a bone infection no one at Duke Orthopedics has demonstrated (at least to my family) that they can save address the infection?

Good luck to you all.

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