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pain pump implant
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joelt2105 posted:
Hello all. My name is Joel and I want to tell my story about my pain pump implant. This happened 4 years ago. My pain specialist explained the procedure to me. How he would form a pocket in my abdomen then snake the catheter around to my back into the intrathecal space. He even repeted this as I was being wheeled into the surgical suite. When I woke up in recovery I though something had gone wrong as I did not have the implant in my abdomen. I quickly found out that the doctor, while I was under, decided to implant the pump in my back to the left of midline at the belt level. This led to all kinds of trouble. As I sat down, the pump would stick out and rub against whatever I was sitting on. The doctor explained that he did this for my comfort. Well, 24 days later, the site had grown red and inflamed. I called the doctor monday morning and he said to come in right away. After looking at the site, he directly admitted me to hospital via ER and 2 hours later I was having emergency surgery to remove the pump and clean out the site. I spent 5 days in hospital and came to find out that I had contracted MRSA. When I told this to my new pain specialist, he was shocked. He tells me that he had never heard of any doctor implanting the pump in the back for any reason. Doing so, he said, would lead to the complications I experienced. Now I have to live with MRSA for the rest of my life. I take antidepressants and am back to taking oral narcotics for pain control. 30mg of morphine 3x day with Norco 10/325 4 x a day for break through pain. My new doctor even suggested that I should look into legal council concerning the actions taken by my old pain specialist. Going throught the antibiotic regimen was hard. I had a pic line and would hook myself up for 30 minutes every day for 6 weeks. This, led to a secondary infection, C-diff. Anyway, I just wanted to know if anybody else had their implant implanted in their lower back? Even the video by the manufacturer shows the pump being implanted in the abdomen. Is this a actionable situation? Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Joel
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gailb54 responded:
Hi Joel, I'm so sorry to hear all you've been through with this. I don't know about pumps but have read that medical malpractice must be filed within a statute of limitations time frame which I think varies from state to state but usually is from 1-3 years. Obviously I don't know what state you're in, but it might be too late to do anything. I'm sorry if it is and this guy actually harmed you. Like I said, I just don't know anything about the pumps. I really appreciate your post because it helps us all to learn about these things. At my appointment with my doctor last week we discussed spinal cord stimulators. I have been afraid of trying one and my doctor explained the costs to me because my insurance is crummy, and I can't afford one. But, if I ever could, I want to know all I can in order to make a decision. I can't even afford the medication my doctor has me on and we're probably changing me to morphine next week. Is your pain being controlled very well with it? I know that meds are different for all of us, but just wondered. I also take an antidepressant, Endocet 10-325, and gabapentin (Neurontin). My pain is awful tonight. Joel, I don't know if you're new to this site or if you read it regularly, but encourage you to read and share here. It has helped me so much to "be" with others who understand what it is to live with pain. I'm really sorry that you've been through so much. Take care, gail
 
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annette030 responded:
I've never had a pain pump, but I have heard of them sometimes being implanted in the back instead of the abdomen. Not sure why, just a vague memory of something I read. I do not see how putting the pump in your back would have caused the infection???? Infection is just a natural adverse effect that is possible with all surgeries. Didn't the original surgeon tell you that the most common adverse effect after surgery is infection? The good news is, I don't think that just because you had MRSA (methicillin resistant Staph Aureus) once, that you have to deal with it for the rest of your life. Did the antibiotic regimen through the PICC line work? If it did, the MRSA should be gone. My husband had a chronic penicillin resistant Staph infection in a non-healing wound for two years. He had multiple courses of oral antibiotics, and also had a Groshong catheter in his chest and went through a six week course of IV antibiotics like you did. He ended up having vascular surgery and the removal a damaged vein from under the wound, then it all healed up. Six months later he had his opposite hip replaced, and that has been over a year ago. He works as a big truck mechanic and occasionally cuts himself, it always heals right up with no sign of infection. That is why he had the Groshong catheter put in his chest, he didn't want a PICC line to inhibit his working, and he refused to stop working for long. His hip surgeon and infectious disease doctor both told him once the infection was gone entirely for 3-4 months, he had no more likelihood of getting another infection than anyone else. I would talk to another pain management surgeon who implants a lot of these devices, and ask him how often infections happen, then find out how often your surgeon's patients get infected. Compare the two numbers, if your surgeon is WAY ahead and gets lots more infections in his patients, I would think about that. Take care, Annette
 
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joelt2105 responded:
I think I may be too late to take any action. The pump really helped with the pain. It was the only time that I would wake up and not feel like a 98 year old man. My new surgeon is seeking approval to put a new one in at the same time taking out an old spinal cord stimulator. I can tell you, from my experience that the spinal cord stimulator was of no help to me at all. It is nothing more than a implanted tens unit. It, the scs, did 'stimulate' the affected area, but without any noticable lessening of the pain. I would think hard about having one put in. I am sorry to hear of your trouble affording the care you need. There are so many going through what you are going through in this day and age. Have you applied for disability benefits? As for the morphine and norco 10/325 it helps. Taking it orally cuts the benefit in half from the get go. The liver takes out half of the medicine and sends it to the bladder and out it goes. Having the medicine delivered directly to the spinal cord as with a pain pump is much more effective and you take a lot less of the medication. You also don't get tolerant of the effect as quickly as you do taking oral meds. Thanks for the kind words and I hope you are able to find an avenue that will facilitate getting the healthcare you need. Joel
 
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gailb54 responded:
Hi again Joel, Thanks for your thoughts on the scs and the morphine. I know what you mean about feeling 98 yrs.old! I now walk like I'm about 90 yrs. old, too. I've really always been very hesitant about the scs for some reasons that I can't even put in to words. Thanks for telling me about yours. That seems to be the best way to get real info. I don't qualify for disability benefits unfortunately. I was a stay-at-home mom before my divorce and then spent about 3 years helping my parents who had strokes, moved in to nursing/assisted living facility, sold their home, went through various hospitalizations, and passed away. Then, my injury. Oh well. I wouldn't go back and change anything, so that's that. I'll keep searching for what will help. I hope things go better for you! Take care & do consider this board for ongoing ideas and encouragement. Thanks! gail


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