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Heather Mills - Amputee Forum
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Kender

Doctors think they own you.

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What the heck is up with this. I just got back from an appt with my primary ortho and I am pissed at his attitude towards my treatment.

Ok, first a little back story of this weeks events. I went to a secondary ortho because on a previous appt with him he was more receptive to my input. He said that we could try one more save attempt but it was up to me since I had to live with it. I told him I just wanted to get it over with, so he referred me to a vascular surgeon. Then today I went to the first ortho and he said he would do the surgery to save the leg. I told him that I didn't really want to go that route as it would be the 5th save attempt and I am tired of the constant pain and my life being on hold. I asked him what my options were if I decided not to have the save surgery. He said if I didn't want the save surgery then my only option was to live with the pain. At first it didn't hit me but after the appt I realized that he basically told me that I could do it his way or no way. What the hell is wrong with this guy? I have no input at all over my medical care. He is going to dictate what treatment my knee gets regardless of what effect it has on me THE PATIENT, and totally ignoring the fact that it is MY knee not his. This was the last straw, I'm switching to the 2nd ortho and using him as my primary.

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Hi Kender, I totally get what you're feeling. I don't understand these Dr's. They want to save a leg etc...but you think after so many tries they would see that it's not working, the person's pain is still there. They just have no idea what we go through!! Our situations are different but in the end we both want an amputation, if it will give me my life back! My ortho Dr and the rehab Dr both say it's my prosthetic, funny how my prosthetist has tried to make me a new prosthesis and my pain is still there. So, here I go to the rehab to see a prosthetist there, hmmm, what can they do that my prosthetist at Hangars haven't tried? Anyways, this is my last try...then these Dr's better listen to me.

We do have a say about our medical care, seems like we don't with these Dr's. They just don't listen or hear what we say. I hope you get further with your 2nd ortho. All the best!

Mary

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Hi Kender, I totally get what you're feeling. I don't understand these Dr's. They want to save a leg etc...but you think after so many tries they would see that it's not working, the person's pain is still there. They just have no idea what we go through!! Our situations are different but in the end we both want an amputation, if it will give me my life back! My ortho Dr and the rehab Dr both say it's my prosthetic, funny how my prosthetist has tried to make me a new prosthesis and my pain is still there. So, here I go to the rehab to see a prosthetist there, hmmm, what can they do that my prosthetist at Hangars haven't tried? Anyways, this is my last try...then these Dr's better listen to me.

We do have a say about our medical care, seems like we don't with these Dr's. They just don't listen or hear what we say. I hope you get further with your 2nd ortho. All the best!

Mary

Thanks. The 2nd ortho was great. He is recommended by other doctors and is considered top shelf in this area. Luckily he is a real doctor and realizes that his first duty is the care and welfare of the patient, his second concern is for his specialty. He gave me his thoughts and said "It's your choice though, I'm not the one that has to go through it." He understood that I wasn't coming in with a hangnail on my first visit and asking for an amputation. He considered my past and that I have suffered through enough that I should be able to have a say. I think the fact that I had done my research and could speak knowledgeably about amputation showed him that I was taking responsibility to be informed and not just be a passenger on a health care rollercoaster. Workers comp said they just need to get the paperwork from the DR. that refers me to the vascular surgeon and they will set up my appt. They are ok with the amputation as long as the Dr agrees with it, they just can't take my word for it due to liability. So 2 down 1 to go, I need a vascular that will agree to it. Hopefully since this ortho has agreed to it and I have an actual medical justification the vascular Dr will be agreeable. I can't help but think that the original ortho might be taking it as a personal failure and refuses to control his ego for the patients well being. If these doctors went through just 2 weeks of what we deal with they wouldn't second guess us again.

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I guess that I was lucky...once my various orthos had run through their range of possible repair strategies, they were upfront with me, said that they would be willing to try all the procedures a second time to see "if we can get one to work" but that amputation was also an option that I might want to consider. And then they left the choice up to me! Of course, when one of my repair attempts failed, my foot re-fractured, so I suppose they had to give me the choice......

It's true that some surgeons simply view an amputation as a "failure" on their part. Once I'd decided on the amputation, I was automatically referred to a surgeon who was experienced with amputations, who did quite a lovely job of it. If you both are dealing with surgeons who can't present a compelling reason to make another "save" attempt, and you've done your homework and can deal with the act of intentionally losing a body part, I think you're well within your rights to look for a doctor who is willing to work with you instead of against you.

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It's sad, but they are trained to save. Docs think it's a failure if they can't save something. They don't realize your sanity is saved if they go ahead and get rid of the pain. Since your knee isn't life-threatening at this point, he isn't even considering amputation. Sounds like your 2nd doc is the one to rely on now. I've heard that vascular surgeons do a much better amputation than orthos. Good luck.

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Some doctors take amputation very seriously and as a last resort. My ortho was a Korean War MASH doctor who saw many amputations. My Dad told me when the ortho doctor told him I would have to lose the leg he also told Dad that amputation was like losing the patient. Too bad old Doc John Monahan is not around to see me making a living 30 years later. Doc Monahan helped to save my life that day.

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