Lessons From a ‘Difficult Patient’ With a Painless Operation
Last week, I received a call from an 8-year-old little boy with a severe back injury, including a possible spinal shock caused by the fall. Over the past 2 weeks, his injury has only been aggravated.
The little boy was rushed to the emergency room about a year ago for the same sort of injury, and he had two surgeries, one of which (a posterior lumbar fusion) had a pretty horrific outcome.
In the past year, he has had several operations as well as several visits to the emergency room. During one of the visits, a doctor told me the boy had a ruptured disk in his lower back at C&L spine, and that one of these surgeries had been necessary.
I asked the doctor to elaborate on a ruptured disk, and she explained that it’s a condition that occurs when the disks in the spine have been injured. The back pain caused by this is usually from the disk’s pressure compressing the nerves in the spinal column.
The doctor explained to me that the ruptured disk that had previously been implanted is now permanently in the boy’s backbone, and the spine has to be fused to re-seal the disk.
When I asked her how it was possible for the disk to rupture, she stated that the disk was never implanted, it just leaked fluid, and it caused the tissue damage that caused the ruptured disk.
I asked her if this could happen spontaneously, and she responded that it probably would, given the pressure from the disk, and some of the boy’s symptoms that were related to the previous surgeries.
She said the only way the disk might rupture is if the boy’s back gets violent movements. These violent movements happen when the spine gets bent to the extreme as the boy bounces around on his crutches, and this also applies if the boys stands straight on the crutches.
I was shocked, because I thought that the boy would never be able to physically do the things that he was already doing, and that the disk injury would be something that would