Monday, November 9, 2009

"Dr. T" and "Dr. Chika" head back to San Francisco, then home to Tokyo

2 or 3 weeks ago, I got an email from “Dr. T”, a physician from Tokyo, Japan that I had fixed his lumbar spine back at Duke Medical Center several years ago.  He did great for many years, playing tennis, etc, but over past few months had developed severe clumsiness in both legs, to the point where he was having trouble walking.

A couple weeks ago, after getting up extra early at 4 am, I sipped on cup of coffee, and was answering some patient emails, before going off to exercise.  While I was sitting there, up popped email from “Dr. T” -- outlining his progressive troubles.  He was surprised that I emailed him right back at 4am!  He then emailed me the MRI images that allowed me to see the problem, with two areas of tight pressure / stenosis on thoracic spinal cord above his previous lumbar fusion, which could explain his progressive myelopathy.

I offered to send him the special wrenches that he would need to have surgeons in Tokyo fix it there, or set him up to have surgery with one of my SRS colleagues in San Francisco, where his daughter Dr. “Chika” lives, but he chose “Choice C:  Come to Raleigh and have Dr. Hey Fix it.”

Our Hey Clinic team got to work right away to make necessary arrangements.
We even coordinated his return travel to San Franciso to recover at Chika’s home to coincide with the beginning of the North American Spine Society (NASS) meeting, so that my OR nurse Kelly could actually be on same airplane as Dr. T to help with transportation before we knew that Chika could get the time off from work to come out for his surgery, and travel back with him.

When I saw him in clinic last week, it was great to see him again, but his gait was quite bad with severe clumsiness.
His surgery late last week went great, and his walking is already much stronger and more stable.
Today, Chika and Dr. T gave me a couple of generous presents, and we took our picture together with my iPhone before they headed off for the airport at RDU (15-20 minutes away).

Get well soon Dr. T, and keep in touch.  Chika:  good to see you again, and stay in touch.
Kelly: thanks for being willing to accompany them on the trip out, and enjoy the NASS meeting with Brittany!

Dr. Lloyd Hey
Hey Clinic for Scoliosis and Spine Surgery

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