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The Importance of a Second Opinion

I just spoke to our very dear friend who had a back operation on Saturday and, thanks to being in the right hands at the right hospital, is already walking and going home today.

This was not the situation when I first heard about her being in the hospital last Tuesday. I called her on Wednesday and she was scheduled to have surgery at 6:00 pm that night. She was crying and so was I as the prognosis of how to deal with the three shattered discs in her back was not at all positive. She had fallen last year at a girlfriend’s cottage and although she had some lower back pain over the last year it was not serious enough for her to go to the doctor. This decision was taken out of her hands the week-end before last when she was moving something and all of a sudden could not walk.

She was rushed into the hospital and a subsequent MRI showed that three discs in her back were seriously damaged. The procedure recommended was to remove the damaged discs and hope the bone fused and if not they would go back in in a year to insert a steel plate. Meanwhile she would lose some height and probably never play golf again. It would most likely be weeks or months before she would walk again.

After I got off the phone with her I called another one of our mutual friends from a family we trust literally with our lives and told him we needed a second opinion. He was all over it and had already called my friend’s husband with the name and contact information of their family bone doctor. This doctor was contacted and he had a very different procedure in mind.

This was rather than remove the damaged discs he would repair them with titanium, pads and springs which would preclude the necessity of any fusion or later steel plate insertion. It was left up to my friend and she very much liked the new doctor and the more current and agreeable procedur he had suggested.

Then it was a question of getting the proper blood type which we succeeded in doing on facebook and all the moving parts needed for the repairing of the discs. Everything was procured and the surgery took place last Saturday night as scheduled.

I have spoken to my friend every day and am so grateful they got a second opinion and that she is now walking and going home. There naturally will be a recovery period of exercise and physical therapy but the procedure went exactly as the doctor had hoped.

I want to stress that it is always essential to get a second opinion when faced with a diagnosis. I have always believed that you have to grab the reins of your own health and even get a third opinion until you are comfortable and certain the proscribed treatment is what is best for you.

Also remember early detection saves lives.


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