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Started by contentment1700 on 05/21/2010 8:49pm

6 or 7 years go, I underwent two failed discectomies and then had screws and fusion. My leg pain got better. The surgeon wanted to wait for my back to heal, 9 months to a year, then fuse my neck. I never really got better and I swore off cervical fusion until I was in complete agony. My most recent MRI shows 2 herniations pressing against the spine and one approaching the spine with bone spurring at the base of the neck. I advised my pain mgmt Dr. of 7 years that I would like to be treated closer to home. He replied by sending me a certified letter of discharge stating the reason as "you want to try a place closer to home". He also stated that regardless of whether the new facility takes me as a patient or not, he does not wish to continue our doctor/patient relationship. I had my usual every other month visit scheduled with him in June. Everything was fine until I wanted a change. I'm older, tired, and the ride to his office is lengthy for me and uncomfortable. The new facility I chose, chose NOT to see me as a patient stating they had nothing to offer me. They have on-site edidural injections, physical therapy, radio frequency therapy, in other words, everything I was hoping for. Obviously, after 7 years at the same place, there was no problem or he would have discharged me years ago. I am baffled as to why the new facility would reject me without even seeing me first. Just looking over records faxed by the Dr. that discharged me for no reason. Something stinks here. Is this physician abandonment? And, why is the new Dr. rejecting me?

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12 Responses


I have heard of doctors getting a little personal when a patient wants to leave. Maybe you could have asked a bit more diplomatically in hindsight, offering praise to your paindoc before you said you wanted to leave; not that you should have to. You never mentioned what the treatment was when you did visit every other month??? Maybe the closer treatment center is fully booked for your type of treatment but it does seem something else is up.
I am a little confused, I was under the impression that a discectomy was plates and screws fusion? I have just had a minimally invasive anterior discectomy of the C3-C4 spine. The disc was replaced and plated and screwed. The surgery was done to stabilize my neck before surgery for a neurological disorder called Occipital Neuralgia which is an inoperable disorder that causes 24/7 headaches/migraines with severe spasms. I also had severe light and sound sensitivity with this. One week after my discectomy my light and sound sensitivity started to decrease rapidly allowing me to venture out in the sunshine for the first time in a few years. I had the best experience thanks to Dr. Hooman Melamed, I feel like I have won lotto... and have some quality of life back. Technology has come a long way in the past few years. Please see your surgeon or change surgeons if you weren't happy with your last treatment. Then you will not need your pain management doc.


Oh My
It sounds as if you may have offended your last Dr.
Then again it may not even be that.
I hate to say this and scare anyone, but a close friend of mine with several disablities was also dismissed by her pain Dr. last week. The one she saw years
stopped taking medicare. So he refered her. Then she was sent to another Dr. this Dr cut her medications in half.
The woman was so upset and crying she was not even told by the Dr. This girl got the notice in the mail Cerified. I understand she is scheduled to go to another Dr. I do not know but with all the talk about this new health care —we may start to see a change in the way things are handled.
Most Dr’s take medicare on a basis of total paid. They were paid 80%, now with the new OBama deal they will only get 50% of their wages. Can you imagine these men and women just getting out of school and have $ 200,000 or more in schooling fees hanging over their heads, plus Malpratice insurance and all the other over head to pay as well?

It may not have been you at all, it may as I stated be like what happened to my friend. This just happened to her 1 week ago.
I do not know about anyone else but I’m very concerned to what is going to trans-pire. It may already be starting.
They do not have to treat us. They do not have to accept medicare. That Dr of hers quit taking it Medicare and now only accepts private insurance. This is something some of us may have to face.......
Please keep us all informed as to what happens with your siduation.
If your Dr would not see you find out why he would not allow you to return.
I have to drive to see one, I had considered changing, but with all I have seen just go on
I am staying with my Dr.
It is a distance thing, nothing against him,. I wish you all the luck, I agree with the other person
maybe talking with your last Dr. is the best route.
They take it hard if they think a patient isnt appreciative. If he thought this maybe a well written letter —if they said you could not come back, he may not allow you to even make an appointment. This is why I suggest a letter.
The only other thing is if your one medication you with drawl on, seems that this would be a case of your heath, stroke, heart attack many things if you begin going into withdrawl.
This may be the way you get back in at least until he finds someone to take you.
It seems to me they would have known you were refused if they set up your appointment. Or did you leave with out them actually refering you? I know you have some rights, have or did you sign a drug contract?
If you did I understand that they can fire you if you are tested and it comes back wrong, other drugs show up in it or not the level that should be.
This year they just started the drug test thing. Maybe this was to help? Or a way out of treating.
Gosh I really do not know what to believe anymore. My friend dismissed and now you having this ordeal, plus what many DR’s had said about the new Medical system......????? Just all sounds fishy.
I wish everyone the best......ANY ONE ELSE HAVE THIS PROBLEM???


I had an accident one day I was doing well than the next I was down with so much pain it wasn't funny, I went through so many doctors trying to find the answers. Then 1 Doctor found part of it it had to do with my spinal cord was clog they had to go in and unclog it. I am not sure what it was called this was a few years back, when I was released I was doing well at first, but the pain started coming back, only to find out that they had to go higher. it was up in my upper part of my back. AT the time they were kept looking at my lower part of my back which the accident cased bulging dis, and said it started the Dis degernrative L5 S1S2 Did they do an MRI through your whole back not just your lower back?


Hi Everyone: I didn't know anyone responded until just now. Sorry for the delay. I discussed the long drive with the Dr. and his P.A.'s on many occasions. He even said he knew good docs in my area, this was about two or three years ago, and said he would refer me if I wanted. I was reluctant because I trusted him to insert a needle (epidural) so close to my spine. So, this request to go to the facility across the street should not have even been a surprise. He does have some vicious mood swings. My best friend stopped going to him because he terrified her. You never knew if he was going to be Jeckly or Hyde that day. I just saw my Nurse Practitioner to go over my latest bone density tests. I told her what happened. She asked if he was bi-polar. :) I think he may be. Big ego, only wants to see you if you're going to have a procedure, otherwise I only saw his P.A.,s and they just took notes, and did medication management. Anyway, my N.P. is referring me to a pain doc some of her patients go to and like very much. She said I'm one of those people who really can't go without pain mgmt. But, you HAVE to be referred these days. It had been so long, I just forgot. I probably should have waited until my return appt. in June and talked about it in person to save his ego. But, I was excited about all the offerings of the new place, all onsite, you don't have to go to a surgery center for anything. P.T. onsite, radiotherapy, I don't even know what that is but lots of things I never heard of and was excited about trying. The weakness in my legs and arms is progressing, I have no energy or stamina, can't even open a jar anymore without a gizmo to help. I want to stop the progression of weakness if I can, without going through another surgery. Pain mgmt helped me get out of bed, get a PT job, feel useful again. I've lowered my meds on my own, no prompting from the doc. I've cut them in half. I was hoping to cut them out completely, if I could through a slow weaning process. Anyway, I think the most I would do now is file a complaint to help ensure he'll think twice before being so cruel to someone else. Docs are supposed to put the welfare of their patients above their own self-interest, according to the Code of Ethics and yes, Patient Abandonment falls under Malpractice, according to a lawyer I've communicated with online. I'm not interested in compensaton or taking him to court, that would stop me from moving forward and I have to. I just want my reputation as a good patient and good person restored. Nothing else. Oh, all the drug testing he did, I always came up clean. I never worried about that. He told me about things he found in other patients urine. Cocaine, heroin, pot, some did not have the drugs he prescribed in their system either. He told me he had to kick out some patients but the people with pot in their system didn't concern him, he didn't care. Just told those patients to stop for a couple of days, come back and test again. Now, there's a reason for discharge but he kept them. He's a lunatic, I'll be much better off without him. It takes me days to think clearly, but eventually I do and realize everything happens for a reason. This will work out one way or another and for the best.


My appts. with the pain mgmt doc were every other month, and I think that's the minimum requirement for medication management. I was drug tested at every appt. which I never worried about. I had the meds prescribed in my system and nothing else. If I requested an epidural, and that was only if I was in complete agony, the doc would see me. That's something they make money on and he was trying to get me to have epidurals when I didn't need them. When my last MRI of my neck came in ( last July) and showed an increase in number and size of herniations,Sprian/trauma/damage to left shoulder muscle, I really wasn't feeling any pain at the time except for a ridiculously tight shoulder muscle that ran up the side of my neck. It felt like it was locked up, and had been that way for 4 months. It was driving me nut. . He wanted to do an epidural, I said I wasn't in pain, he said don't you get headaches. So, yeah, sure doesn't everybody? Transportaton to his surgery center was next to impossible. I would have to ask my sister to take a day off work. I did get the epidural injection he wanted to give me, but I was hoping it would make that muscle realease. Two days before the procedure, the muscle relaxed on it's own. That's when I felt some pain. So, I don't know if the injection helped to keep it at bay or not, I couldn't tell you. A significant find at the last epidural was he found that my carotid arteries were visible on film.He checked all the way back to a film from 2003 and saw that they were visible then too. They're not supposed to be. He had me back in his office for vascular studies (I thought, pain mgmt for vascular studies?) but didn't say anything. Findings were 45% blockage in one artery and 24% in the other. I'd been at high risk for stroke for over 7 years and didn't know. Good thing. I flipped out and thought for days after that I would have a stroke and drop dead. Anyway, I'm grateful he found it. I didn't blame him for not seeing it before, doesn't matter. He found it now and at least I know. He was going to monitor it himself but, like I said, he dumped me.


HI Good for you contentment 1700—for speaking out!!!

I also go every other month to my pain Dr. Then I now go every other month and have drug tests.
My Dr’s office did not start this until this year { I have gone to him almost 10 yrs. } he was asked to over see my Pain medications. I agree about what you said concerning the Dr’s doing many injections and surgery. My Story;
I was under control as far as my pain. I ask to be refered to just a MD so he could write the prescriptions, seems to me most people I have spoke to have walked pretty much the same road as you and I have at some point. Once we are in a place things are under control we really have to tread carefull!

There are some Dr’s who seem to have seen me as a big $ sign. Surgery’s and trials til it actually was exausting me.
I always do as ask, I want help. Seem’s that some Dr’s are quick to operate and others just wait until they have no other choice—which is best.
It came to [ procedures ] were costing my insurance more than $100,000, but what was the problem was how he went about things.
I had the spineal stimulator implanted at one point and it cost $39,000 just for the device before implanted then $7,000 every time it was programed. Needless to say I was a walking money machine.
I ask this Dr to take me off some of the many narctics I was on. I had kindney failure.
It was because of the medications. I was at a point I could not breath. I stopped the medication cold turkey—not knowing what would happen. In 3 days I was in total with-drawl. OUCH!
I went to my pain Dr. { not who I see now—this was my first one ever }
he in no uncertin terms took his finger less than 1” from my nose and stated as he pointed “ If you do not get back on those drugs and have another electrode inplanted in your spine I will not treat you!”
WOW!!! I was shocked and did not know what to say.
I had been in the hospital 5 days and was unable to go to the bathroom, so I ask him to help me come off some of the medications. { I was willing to try and see where I was as far as pain went } he would not hear of it.
Needless to say I walked out crying and I went to another pain Dr.
I never told that Dr what happened. I did come off some of the drugs, I actually was able to cut down about 1/2 the whole dose.
Then I became a very informed patient. I bought books and studied and did all I could to learn.
I regained use of my kidney’s, so it was the medications that actually shut them down.
What I went through I would never wish another soul to endure.
I look back upon what happened to me. This man was just out of college. I was taking so many drugs at first he did help me, but it became to much. I regained use of my body and once I was better it would have seemed any Dr would have wel-comed a patient to ask them to try and help go down on medication. I recall OXYCONTINE being new to the market. It was $500.00 a bottle. I was on so much of that stuff along with Fentanyl and about 6 other drugs. When he did that and I walked out I never went back! I did have a difficult time getting another Dr at first!

I eventually found a wonderful Dr who had just gradutated at Yale.
I was 40 and he was 35 years old. This man- DR. I told him my story and he worked with me not operating or drugging me beyond what I needed. I was just ignorant with the first Dr. I had no one who had been through all I went through. No one to give me advise.
I did begin to understand it was all the drugs affecting my kidneys.
I was in so much pain in my lower back, I thought it was my spine. It was my kidneys!

Once I had gained this insight, I have been very careful as to what I allow done unto me.
I have a cousin who owns the pharmacy I buy all medications. They always give me the directions and what side effects to watch out for.
If any of you get with a Dr who acts like this or as contenment 1700 talks about, get away from them and try to get a Dr who is someone who will work with you. Be ever so careful how you approach them, some do misunderstand what is going on, or what we are attempting to say. All they have to go on are test and our exsplaining out symptoms.
Like 1700 exsplains some seem over worked or up or down emotionally, it could be over work
some Dr’s have so many patients they cant give each one of us the time we need.
Those Dr’s have so much on their plate it can overwhelm them.
They have the code of conduct to abide by, I feel some may abuse it. Not knowing.
Check with the Better Business to see when or how long they have been in your state. I watched 20-20 once about Dr’s being in trouble in one State then just moving to a different State.
We have good Dr’s, but remember they can and do make mistakes, if we get one who thinks to high of themself we can suffer. I applaud anyone willing to write about the terrible things we endure
sometimes at the hand of a person who is sworn to an oath! THanks Contentment 1700 for bring this to light -while most Dr’s are really good we know by trail and era, there are bound to be some who are not.
It just goes to figure some will be great others not so great even abusive.....Be watchful because it is your body plus life that will suffer! Good luck to all.......


Hi Regional: Thanks for your comments. It's nice (but unfortunate) to know I'm not alone. You wouldn't happen to have been treated in Florida would you? Our former docs sounds alike. Maybe the same one. When I saw my Nurse Practitioner last week, I told her the story of my discharge. She was stunned and just said is he bi-polar"? I guess lowering my meds, passing all drug tests, never calling the office for more meds, showing up early for appts., none of that counts towards being a good patient. Only if you can make him money. That's why he only saw me when he absolutely had too and passed me off to P.A.s, which was fine with me until new symptoms came up, like the weakness in my legs has been going on for quite a while. The P.A.s just said "yup, people wth bad backs get that". No investigating, nobody there has examined me or touched me in years. My nurse examined me last week and said that everywhere she touched there was spasm. She wants me checked for some vague connective tissue disorder. Long ago, I worked at Yale Med School. I went to their Pain Mgmt. dept. They would draw X's on my back where they saw muscle knots. I would count 10, 20....then I would get a needle injected in every one of them. After that, off to a chiropractor to "bust up" the medications in the knots. He wasn't careful at all. I told him not to touch my neck, but he twisted it multiplte times to my agony. 6 weeks of inections later, as I was being drawn on again, the head of the Pain unit happened to walk by and told the "Fellow" (doctor in training) to stop. He could still see all the knots in my back all the way back from the doorway. This obviously wasn't working. It's been so long, I would just like to re-gain what strenght I can through more physical therapy, I 'm getting so weak, I can't open a jar anymore. Atrophy is setting in and I don't know if it's reversible. Oh to feel normal again.

This former doc of mine has an ego so big I don't know how it fits in his facility. He really thinks a lot of himself and not much of his Medicare patients. Did I mention last year one of his P.A.s asked me if I wanted a new back brace? I said no. He said it would help with everything I was complaing about, no energy, stamina, posture, and , Medicare would cover the cost. So, as long as I don't have to pay for it, I said OK. It took 3 months to come in and when it did, I was swimming in it. Nobody bothered to measure me. I was told to come in and a P.A would show me how to put it on. OK, how stupid do you think I am? The instructions were removed from the package (LOL, I downloded them from the web) and Medicare got charged $45 for the 5 minutes it took to show me how to put it on. I can't even tell you the outrageous amount of money Medicare was charged, I almost gagged. But, Medicare actually allows them to charge that much. The docs reimbursement was 4 times what the brace really costs. Well, then, thats, between the doc and insurance. Then, next time I went for my every other month appt.,I was told I had a $250 co-pay. Then I really panicked. I found the identical brace online for $240 and I was being charge more than that for a co-pay? I was furious. I must have caught the doc in a good mood at the next visit because he wrote off the ENTIRE amount. He explained to me about how much he has to pay his staff, how he pays the drug reps, durable med. equpment reps, yadda, yadda, yadda. I already paid $100 towards it, but never received a credit. The next scheduled epidural, the office was calling me for my co-pay before I got home from their office. I said I should have a credit, but they said they could only find $50. Then, right after that, the surgery center called for their co-payment. The epidural wasn't until the following week. Don't we all wish we could get paid in advance for work we haven't done yet? Oh, I could go on and on. Thanks everyone for your stories too. I really appreciate it. Keep 'em coming!


They did you wrong on the back brace ordeal! I tell ya that was just down right wrong! They were out for money. I also have heard them complain about what they pay out for staff and all. The fact is they are making a forune off us!

We are ill and desperate to be well. They know this and get our hopes up.
They told me we have new medications coming out all the time.
They may but what about the side affects.
I have not been on I have been so sick last 3 days. I had spine surgery and have R.S.D. plus acid refulx and sever gastitous.
I have did nothing but throw up. Sorry that sounds so vile. IT WAS!! LOL at least I can laugh when I think of how I wanted to drop !!!

I ‘m weak so this will be short. I have found there are some major problems with our health care.
While we are all so ill they are getting rich.
I know they have been to school for 35 years. I respect the fact. They need to respect us as ill patients as one person has spoken after another I see patterns. Not just here in Ark. but other states.
I have been on others sights writing people, and everyone has told many of the same things I have read here! It looks like we are being abused —some of us......many of us if not now we have been.
Check some other sights and see if you see stories like what we have spoke about here.....
Gotta go feeling so weak, just praying I will not be admitted...........


Hi Regional: I am so sorry to hear how sick you are. I can relate. As all of us here can. The brace was outrageous, yes. But Medicare needs to stop allowing that. I was credited for it, but as I said, I never got my $100 back. Now, I'm dealing with the three herniations in my neck. A year ago when they were discovered on MRI, they weren't bothering me at all. Now, it's become a major problem with the weakness, headaches, etc. I still haven't found a new pain mgmt doc, but now, I think I need to talk to a surgeon. That's the last thing I wanted. I was hoping physical therapy would help to delay that, but I think it's too late. I want my strength and my life back. I just moved and just getting here took almost a month because of my condition, and trying to get this place in order is taking way too long because I'm physically weak. I'm starting to become depressed, afraid I could lose the one thing that keeps me sane, my part-time job. My boss is so understanding, they let me do whatever I need to, to get through a lousy 3 hours a day. Years ago, after the fusion, my goal was to go back to full-time work. But, as the years went by, I only got worse. My hopes of that are gone. I'll have to stay on disability for the rest of my life. Certainly not where I pictured myself after working 35+ years. I only want the help I need. I hate to depend on anyone for help and I dread the day I may have no choice. My nurse practitioner isn't moving on getting me into see a new pain mgmt doc fast enough. The docs name she gave me turned out to be a G.P. Not what I needed. I cleared that up with the office but haven't heard back yet. She also wants the doctor in her office to check me for connective tissue disorders. She said he's really good at finding weird conditions, but I haven't been setup for that either. I hate to call docs offices more than once and look like a pain in the butt, but this is getting harder to deal with on my own. I talked to a neighbor who has a titanium plate in his neck. He said his strength returned after surgery. That gives me some hope. Ah, I'm rambling. Sorry about that. I don't want to whine about this to my mom, she's 87 and doesn't need to worry about me. It's kinda tough being on my own....nobody at home to talk to or help with everyday junk. It's all on me and there's so much to do. Ugh!


To contentment1700:
Don't knock pot if you haven't tried it! It has many medicinal properties,including pain releif. I was taking 75 mg. of oral methadone daily for pain. I'm facing four spine surgeries in the next 8 months,and I needed to cut back on my pain meds before then. Smoking a little pot daily has let me step down to 15 mg. daily. I was amazed at the difference it makes, and I sleep better too. In some states or cities you can do so legally for medical reasons. Thank God attitudes about pot are beginning to change. Drinking is much worse for you and you can die from an alcohol overdose. You cannot OD on pot! It doesn't make you lose control either, like some people think. It's good for nausea, if you have that with intense pain as I do. It also gives you an appetite if you're having trouble with that issue.


I recently went from my wifes insurance to medicare as my primary and immediately I was told by my pain doc that he didn't know why he should bother to treat me and went into a big speech about my not wanting to take the shots because of the cost to me. He was getting $1600 a shot with the insurance and now gets about $200 from medicare. Gee what an ahole. I'm looking for another doc now who actually cares if they make you better. BTW the shots were having no effect but he required me to take them to get my pain meds.


The problem with pot is as follows: Unless you live in a state with medical marijuana and the PAIN DR RX'S IT, then you will fail the urine drug screen and get discharged. If its illegal, ie no medical marijuana, and you smoke it, and fail the drug screen you will get discharged. You might also get arrested if you buy from an undercover cop or whatever. So, despite how much I want to try pot, and how much it may help, I cant until the medical pot situation is set up here. I am sure that applies to most people since only a handful of states have it up and running.

ALso, patient abandonment is when the dr wont see you and you run out of meds and go into withdrawal. In your case they sent you a letter discharging you, and probably gave you a month supply of rx's. There is a difference. I had a dentist abandon me once. He had done a bunch of work and had several temporary crowns and a bridge in. He basically just disappeared and I found out he moved to another location. He didn't tell anyone and didn't give any forwarding address. I was stuck becasue I had paid him and supposedly, he had my permanent dental work.

I had to write the dental board who then put pressure on him to resolve, and he said he didn't have the permanenet teeth, the lab lost them. They then put pressure on him to refund me in full, and of course he fought that tooth and nail. That is patient abandomment.

Any dr has the right to not see you if they dont want to. If you are a patient, then they have to send you a letter and make your records available. There is no law they have to continue seeing you.

Good luck!