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  • tomk
    Post count: 2

    Hey Doc,

    I have a sister who is in amazing shape and is the mother of three children in Murrieta, CA. Her daughter, is severely autistic and the care for her treatment has drained my sister of any funds to even afford health insurance and although both parents work, they were foreclosed upon a few years ago. She was in a motorcycle accident 20 years ago and works out rigorously each day just to maintain the status quo with her failing back Bulging disc problems in lower back have made her unable to feel her feet on most days, and they are starting to turn blueish, and obviously would require surgery to repair. Is this something you would consider looking at doing pro-bono?
    It is a shot in the dark, but I am feeling desparate at this point to help my sister. You are performing surgery on a friend of mine from Iowa City, and I am anxiously awaiting the results!

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 8436

    I can probably help with the diagnosis and point to treatment but there is a problem with pro bono work in surgery. For a deserving individual, I will sometimes work for free and pay the salary of my physicians assistant and my own nurses on my dime. However, when someone undergoes surgery- the individuals and corporations involved are not just my responsibility. The hospital charges for the operating room use (somewhere about $100.00/ minute- they have to pay nurses, supplies, equipment, electricity, drugs and even mortgage on the space). The anesthesiologist has to get paid, the spinal cord monitoring company and the cell saver representative have payment requirements. Finally, the spinal companies would need to donate up to $20,000.00 in free implants to see a pro bono surgery come to fruition. It can be done but getting everyone and not just me on board takes an act of God sometimes.

    In regards to your sister, her inability to feel her feet may not be directly related to her back. Compression of the spinal nerves normally does not cause bilateral numbness of the feet (although that can rarely happen). Typically, peripheral neuropathy causes bilateral numbness of the feet and that is sickness of the nerves in the legs and not of the back. Bluish feet are not related to the spine but to blood circulation problems from the arteries or the veins. She may need to see a neurologist for an EMG of her legs to determine the source of the numbness.

    Let me know what goes on.

    Dr. Corenman

    Post count: 2

    Dear, Dr. Corenman,

    Thank you so much for the advise. I will go the direction of trying to get an EMG specialist and try to narrow this thing down.

    She has 6 % body fat, 46 years old and is too young to be feeling this way. I will keep you apprised and truly appreciate you taking a few minutes to write back. Frankly, I was shocked that I heard from you. That speaks volumes to your heart and character!

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