Years ago, I interviewed a stockbroker, looking for someone I could trust. Someone with good judgement. Someone with a good documented track record. I found a person that had all the above, but their answers were so impersonal that I just could not give him my business...very practiced answers...I was just another source of income...give me your money or move on type of person.
My wife's best friend has a sister who is a nurse at HEI, so we contacted her and she had a doctor there call me after looking at my MRI. He was someone I could trust. Someone with good judgement. Someone with a documented track record. But his answers were impersonal...and it is the first time I realized how much of a BUSINESS the medical profession is. I was just another source of income...a house payment, a car payment. Now, that was just MY feelings. It is not a reflection the HEI, but I got the same feeling that Irobie got.
But, I wanted the best treatment, and EVERYONE was talking about the HEI as the best in the world. Even Rush Limbaugh went there. Couple of problems here. I live in Texas, and HEI is in LA. What if I have a problem and need some follow up? Another trip out west...more travel expense...not very convenient...stay in a hotel...built in problems. So I contacted Texas posters about their medical experiences right here at home, and used PMs for more information.
I found a great team in Houston. They were all business. ANs are what they do. No BS answers. They told me what to expect if I got radio treatment vs surgery, but did not try to sway me one way or the other. I just knew instantly that this was going to be my doctor. Absolute pros. I decide for surgery, and it has worked out very well for me.
I have no doubt that HEI is a great place, based on the responses from their patients. It just was not a comfortable place for me. I am positive there are lots of first rate teams in all the major cities in the USA. After my surgery, I told my doc I was the benefactor of his intelligence, his skill, and his discipline. This surgery is about YOU, not the doctor. Find one you are comfortable with. There are lots of great docs out there. Wishing good luck for you!
Thanks for that incisive input.
Upon my AN diagnosis, I was seeking a 'local' doctor to treat me but the first neurosurgeon I consulted seemed intimidated by the size (4.5 cm
) of my tumor and the fact that it was pressing hard on my brain stem. After looking at my MRI films, he said he'd "have to get back to me"
. As my wife and I left his office we looked at each other and, almost as one, exclaimed "no way!"
The next day, my wife contacted the neurosurgeon that had operated on her spine a few years earlier (he doesn't operate on ANs
) and asked his secretary if this doctor could refer us to a neurosurgeon that could handle my case. She said that the practice (7 doctors
) just happened to have the best AN neurosurgeon in the state on staff. She immediately contacted this doctor's secretary, made an appointment (for the next day, at a time we picked
) and said that this doctor would have my MRI CD sent to him (it was done at a hospital next to his office
) and he would have a plan ready to present when we saw him (approximately 24 hours later
). I was impressed. The doctor, a courtly gentleman (originally from Georgia and a Yale Medical school graduate
) was in his 60's and had over 35 years of experience operating on acoustic neuromas. He was very attentive to my concerns regarding the (inevitable
) risk of post-op facial paralysis, headaches (he planned to use the Retrosigmoid surgical approach
) and, overall, my desire to maintain my quality of life, post-op. His attentivness - 45 minutes and no inturruptions, compassion and obvious concern for my post-op condition were manifested in his carefully formulated plan. 'Debulk' the large AN to relieve the pressure on my brain stem and then, 90 days later, employ FSR to radiate the remaining tumor and render it essentially unable to replicate while apsring the surrounding brain tissue as much as possible.
Long story short: I enthusiastically hired this impressive neurosurgeon - and he 'delivered'. The 9-hour surgery went very well; no headaches or facial paralysis and I was home from the hospital within 5 days. My recovery was relatively swift. The FSR was completely uneventful and within a few months I was able to resume my normal activities. The neurosurgeon had agreed, with no coaxing, to accept whatever fee my insurance carrier paid. They paid $23,000. - and that was shared with his protege who assisted him in the surgery. In comparison, the hospital bill (paid by my insurance
) came to just under $60,000. for barely 5 days.
My point is to amplify yours; that there are many excellent neurosurgeons out there. I consider myself very blessed to have found one of them (Dr. Isaac Goodrich
). As a coda to my story: my wife and I had previously agreed that if we couldn't find a 'local' doctor to perform the necessary AN surgery, I would have it done at HEI (we live in Connecticut). Who knew? Jim