Author Topic: Who is my "doctor"?  (Read 2229 times)

Offline uScott

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Who is my "doctor"?
« on: November 22, 2011, 07:45:19 PM »
It's been almost ten years since my amputation, and I'm beginning to realize that for the most part, I haven't actually had much if any medical care or guidance. Apart from one meeting soon after where I selected a prosthetist (which was a disaster unto itself), practically everything I've done has been dealing directly with prosthetists, with no involvement from any kind of physician. With the sole exception of my GP, who writes my prosthetic scrips purely for insurance paperwork purposes. He freely admits he knows virtually nothing about amputees or prosthetics. I don't blame him, he's a good GP, but not a specialist.

Anyway, so I've had almost ten years of marginal-at-best experiences with my prosthesis. I'm beginning to wonder if these two facts are related. Would I be doing better if I had a doctor who was actually in charge of the situation, who actually knew what he was doing with it, maybe seeing a larger picture that my current crew is somehow missing? What medical specialty should I look at, how can I identify someone who can give me more insight into how I should manage things?

Offline herb

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Re: Who is my "doctor"?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2011, 11:47:55 PM »
Hi Scott

I do not think you are going to find the doctor you are looking for. I could not even find a physical therapist in my insurance group that could give me much help learning to walk.  I got all my help walking from my prosthetist. Since my amputation I have had to go back for some minor work (surgery) on my residual leg several times. None of the orthopedic surgeons and certainly not my gp knew much at all about prosthetics. They were willing to take advice from the prosthetists and even let the prosthetist in the or. I have 100% faith in my prosthetist's skill and ability to make the best possible leg for me. I have been using a c-leg for 10 years now and it just seems to get better every year.
I think you just need to find the right prosthetist. I talk to people in my prosthetist's office who  travel thousands of miles every time they need a leg because they can not find a good one locally.
good luck Scott
Herb

Offline Steve C

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Re: Who is my "doctor"?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 07:49:32 AM »
I think Herb is right. The way I see it the Doctors/surgeons are there to make a residual leg as good as possible but they wouldn't have a clue to what makes a good prosthetic leg. I'm a lot of prosthetists are somewhat medically trained as they know what will happen if a leg is fitting poorly.
Myself, I tend to bad luck with prosthetists. I had a good one (I'm still wearing the now 10 year old leg he made) but he left Ireland back in 2003 to help third world country amputees. The fella I have now just left to go to the middle east to do the same. I'm starting to think I'm driving them away! ha. I haven't even met my new one. Hopefully it will be a good transition. The one who just left was very eager to make the leg right as he was the one who made it, I just hope the new prosthetist is as eager to help even though they had nothing to do with my current leg. I think the reason the old prosthetist was so eager to get it right was pride. When the 'new' leg wasn't right he would even work on the old leg somewhat so that I would always have a leg that worked. He even gave me free suspension sleeves a few times possibly out of guilt. I think my free sleeve/free upkeep days are over.
Where ever I go, I'll always have one foot in Ireland   /   I'm not a complete fool. Some parts are missing.

Offline Annie

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Re: Who is my "doctor"?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2011, 04:28:25 AM »
It's been almost ten years since my amputation, and I'm beginning to realize that for the most part, I haven't actually had much if any medical care or guidance. Apart from one meeting soon after where I selected a prosthetist (which was a disaster unto itself), practically everything I've done has been dealing directly with prosthetists, with no involvement from any kind of physician. With the sole exception of my GP, who writes my prosthetic scrips purely for insurance paperwork purposes. He freely admits he knows virtually nothing about amputees or prosthetics. I don't blame him, he's a good GP, but not a specialist.

Anyway, so I've had almost ten years of marginal-at-best experiences with my prosthesis. I'm beginning to wonder if these two facts are related. Would I be doing better if I had a doctor who was actually in charge of the situation, who actually knew what he was doing with it, maybe seeing a larger picture that my current crew is somehow missing? What medical specialty should I look at, how can I identify someone who can give me more insight into how I should manage things?

If you were in the UK you would probably be seen by what they call Rehab consultants at your prosthetic centre (DSC), though not every centre has these and I went myself some years without seeing one.  Years ago it was these doctors who used to prescribe the prosthesis and sign them off to you at delivery, I can remember thinking they were a bit of a waste of time when I was younger and without problems with my legs.  However, when you do encounter problems they can be worth their weight in gold and authorise scans, x rays etc and refer you to the right people, they work together with the prosthetist and physio's usually.

Offline stinker373

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Re: Who is my "doctor"?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2011, 09:31:33 PM »
I don't think you are gonna find that kind of doctor either.  I never had any rehab what so ever so I deal with the proth peeps one on one.  I think the thing is to find a super proth person that understand what you are saying when it comes to doing fittings and hopefully he or she listens to you.  You are the specialists when it comes to how the leg fits.  They have to listen to you if they want to get payed.

Offline Joe A.

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Re: Who is my "doctor"?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 01:41:41 PM »
I start with my family doctor. Then One Square headed Specialist after another.Examine their credentials. Things like DO. or DMD mean Didn't
doctor. Surgeons like to cut. Md will trust more in drugs
Private discussions regardless of topic are welcome by writing to kapunui@windstream.com

Offline JClark

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Re: Who is my "doctor"?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2012, 01:14:55 AM »
Because of the program I'm in for prosthetics (which also covers things like school if it helps me get back to work) I have to see a physiatrist.  This doc specializes in amputees and knows quite a bit about prosthetics, orthotics and stuff like that.  My prosthetist comes to these appointments also (at no extra charge) and they discuss with me various aspects of prosthetics, skin care issues and any questions I have.  He can also write prescriptions for physical therapy and knows of several places that have done work with amputees.

The doc I'm currently using, when he was in school (or his rotation in orthopedics) had a doctor/teacher who required students to spend a week or two using a wheelchair, a walker and various other mobility aids to learn from the ground up.

Keep looking and you'll find the doc you need.  My GP doc occasionally asks questions about the care and treatment from the physiatrist, but mostly in a way to keep communication open.  I did show my GP a rash type issue on my stump, and he made a suggestion that helped.
North-East Pennsylvania
+Left foot------------+Right foot---------------+
|Accident 8/31/2002 |ankle fusion 1/8/2008  |
|Amp 7/11/2003      | RBK (Ertl)    4/7/2010 |
|Ertl June 2005        |                                  |
+---------------------+-------------------------+