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Thread: Why do they do it?

  1. #11
    We did go back to ICU and they were so sincerely happy to see us.
    Dave was driving his chair with sip n puff and showing off his tilt etc.
    The nurses and RTs were happy to hear his voice and the fact he had clothes on and we were living in our community.
    They were all rooting for him to get accepted at Craig and I had sent them a postcard from there.
    We never did see the surgeon again, but know he was involved with a high profile law enforcement officer in our area who was shot and had SCI and TBI.
    Maybe he did not understand complete and incomplete.
    But hey-if you can show them wrong go visit!
    I promise they will be happy to see you.

  2. #12
    I did not want to touch this post, but I could not resist for these reasons as a physician:

    1. Valid points are made; giving hope to a patient can sometimes give that extra motivation to work harder in rehab (I do believe as physicians we have an ethical obligation to tell you the facts--good, bad, and ugly) But, we can do it with better bedside manner.
    2. Depending where you are injured and what trauma center you are taken to; your doctors may have the necessary knowledge to accurately access your injuries-- so I do not agree that all doctors have no idea what they are taking about long term.
    3. The idea of writing the physicians and surgeons that treated you is excellent. Just like a kind word (hopefully you would send kind and encouraging) goes a long way for you-- it does for physicians as well.
    4. Anger perhaps should not be directed at your doctors, remember the body is very complex and we do just "practice" medicine with informed decisions, case history, and tons of education.
    5. Never be afraid to question your doctor, or make them take time to answer questions. If you don't understand or simply want more information ask and make them answer to the best of their knowledge. Keep in mind you may not like what they say, but there is an ethic obligation to take time with you so you make informed and reasonable decisions.

    Lastly, physicians are not always correct. They are only human and the body can throw curve balls to you and them alike.

    But, do keep in mind and show your kindness to the nursing staff, because behind every doctor--typically there is a good nurse and those nurses can prove a valuable resource and advocate in your care.
    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  3. #13
    They told my parents I would never walk again, but I walked out of rehab. I thought the doctors had been better to say they didn't know, but a friend of mine broke his back and they said he was so lucky because the break was so nice and he would walk again and after 6 years he is still in a chair.

    Happily they did not tell me anything and in my case it was so stupid to say I would never walk since they never found out the diagnosis and still haven't.
    TH 12, 43 years post

  4. #14
    Because I could move my toes after surgery I was given false hope. I would much rather had been told an honest, "We do not know. Every injury is different."

    My cervical laminectomy was sheer hell. Do they give more than a local now? The neurosurgeon rode up in the elevator with me and expressed his sorrow for what I had gone through and how he hated having to perform that surgery. I was touched and have never forgotten his compassion.

    I was injured in 1964. One of the ICU nurses gave my 19 yr old husband the key to her house so he could sleep in her guest bed when he drove the many miles over from the university to see me. Thirty years later we found her in a rest home in the state we had moved to and were able to visit her. She kept repeating in amazement, "You're still alive!!"

    1964 C5/C6

  5. #15
    This is a tough question. In the early days of my nursing career, I worked an acute neuro rehab unit. Patients and particularly families, at the early stages, are not satisfied with an "I don't know" response regarding prognosis. It seems the limbo of an open ended prognosis is, for many, very difficult. Now, of course, we have the Internet. With just a few "key words" gleaned from a conversation with a doctor, families fly to the Web to fill in the blanks.

  6. #16
    don't think my doctors aid anything to me about prognosis and I did not ask.

  7. #17
    Senior Member fromnwmont's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Northwest Montana
    While in hospital I was diagnosed & "seen " via Internet for my spinal injuries by doctor in a larger city due to out rural hospital, while my broken pelvis was treated inhouse I was told my spinal injuries were stable & i would bounce back, would walk out hospital and have NO lasting issues, That was 11 months ago 2 months ago i became so frustrated & blamed myself because I wet myself AGAIN, could not regain strength on my left side, the PT told me "that's just how its going to be get used to it " I gave up, became depressed & I just recently pulled myself out of my funk vowing not to let all the pain etc. To beat me!! I believe saying every injury is different might have made me feel better

  8. #18
    My Doctor at Craig after he saw my x-rays knew I'd never walk again, 4 crushed vertabraes, a complete T8. He didn't want to completely deflate me so he said up to two years things can improve. Personally if he'd told me I'd never walk and I did, the least important thing in the world to me would be I proved him, or anyone else wrong. These rehab docs have a tough job, no med students I know want to be one.

  9. #19
    I was told that I would never walk again in the ER at Shock Trauma. It hit my family and me pretty hard, but after the initial shock of hearing those words, I set out to defy them. Boy was I naive. I have since regained the ability to walk with crutches, but my attitude had nothing to do with my funtional return. If it hadn't been in the cards for me my attitude wouldn't have changed that. Sure my attitude helped me struggle to maximize my return and I have worked my ass off, but that has nothing to with my nerves.
    In rehab they were more stoic and were always deflecting walk talk. We'll have to wait and see was their mantra. Maybe these doctors know that the vast majority of us will be sent home with our spinal cord injury handbook, some cathetors, and maybe a prescription for viagra and little else. They know that rehab for us is woefully inadequate and the top nuero recovery places have year long waiting lists. So unless you are rich or have cadillac insurance' we will have to go it alone.
    The crazy thing is that we do it everyday. We walk and prove them wrong all the time. Most of us on our own. If you are lucky enough to get return; don't be angry. You should be stoked.
    Besides, what my surgeon lacked in bedside manner, he more than made uop for with his knife skills.

  10. #20
    I don't want to speak for surgeons out there because I am not sure how they all think, but the "prognosis talk" is probably based solely on what they know they have control over in the operating room and what they have seen as a result.

    The nervous system is very complex and when a spinal cord or nerves are injured, bruised or damaged partially or completely, the nerves are in charge of how they restore themselves or not. I have spent the past 12 years caring for spinal cord injured people to live with a spinal cord injury. Many people come with a lot of hope out of rehab - which is great - but they miss the teaching on how to live with a SCI. I have seen two people make full recoveries following a SCI in the past 12 years. They were so happy to have proved the doctors wrong. We tell our patients that after a SCI it can take up to one year to see improvement in function or sensation. I don't think that is cruel. Everyone needs to have hope to make it to the next day for the future.


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