My Rupture to recovery

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Importance of 2nd opinion!

I ruptured my Archilles Tendon playing basketball and immediately went to urgent care at my HMO (Group Health). They put leg in a splint and scheduled me with Orthopedics the following day. I saw a physician assistant. She diagnosed it as ruptured by using Davidson test. She said it was up high where calf muscle meets it. She never did feel for rupture and there were no MRI or Ultrasound tests. She then said that treatment would be immobilization and put me in cast. I then did some research and found that this treatment is very rare and is proven to have more complications, is weaker and I would be on crutches for a lot longer.

I then waited for 1 week trying to get authorization from Group health for a 2nd opinion. I found on their web site where I could email the PA who treated me. She then reacted very quickly and scheduled me in for a 2nd opinion in their office.

The Orthopedic Surgeon was immedietely able to diagnose the rupture lower not upper. He even brought in a colleague who confirmed his diagnosis. They both said it should be fixed with surgery and they rushed me into surgery 1 day later due to it almost being 2 weeks from injury date.

I had surgery yesterday and they said it went great. I just opened my mailĀ from Group Health and it was a letter rejecting my plea for a 2nd opinion.

Where would I be if i did not act on my own instincts?

5 Responses to “Importance of 2nd opinion!”

  1. ross Says:

    Congrats on getting the surgery but now the fun starts…..insurance wise…be prepared for coverage denials. Once they initally deny a second opinion your surgery, consults and future treatment may not be covered. So NOW is the time while your laid up and able to be on hold with the insurance company to get things verfied, authorized and finalized. Hopefully they will cooperate.
    Glad you got the surgery, you will be much happier in the end.

  2. johnk Says:

    Vance,

    It is sometimes better to accept the 1st opinion.

    My ATR was dealt with by 10 weeks immobilisation and i now feel that the benefits to this are no scar tissue to deal with and certainly no wound infection or pain.

    I have done my 10 weeks and feel great, now day 3 without cast and i am moving around very freely without any sticks, although i am about 1/4 of my normal walking pace.

    I appreciate that in the UK with free healthcare that the patient sometimes takes 1st place before the cash cow of surgery.

    Just a point worth thinking of for everyone, was surgery the only option ?

  3. vance Says:

    Ross,
    My 2nd opinion came directly from Group Health. After I sent an email with my concerns to the PA who treated me Group Health initiated the 2nd opinion at their office. I was waiting for responce from Group Health for my request when they followed up with my email. Today I just received a letter from Group Health denying my 2nd opinion with an outside Dr. I found that amusing.

  4. vance Says:

    Johnk,

    I am still very active and I could not find any information that immobilization was best suited for me. If I did not have insurance and had to pay for it out of my own pocket I still think I would have got the surgery. I really do think that money played a big part in their decision of treatment. $50 cast vs. $14,000 surgery.

  5. brendan Says:

    johnk - I’m in the US. I was given both options, surgical vs non-surgical. it was clear in my research that most countries with nationalized health care used non-surgical and most free-market health systems preferred surgical routes. There was data to back both options, although conflicting. The interesting things about studies and data gathering, is that it can typically be manipulated to suit a desired outcome…so it’s hard to decipher. I chose surgery, simply because I had two orthos both tell me that at my young age (31) and activity level, I would have a better chance of returning to my pre-rupture activity level and I would be back on my feet sooner, and with 2 young kids..that definitely factored in. I still think that depending on the injury and the patient, there are times when non-surgical route makes sense.

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