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Gilbert's Radiofrequency Rhizotomy

Gilbert was living a fast-paced life among the skyline buildings in New York City. His job as a bus driver took him all around the city that never sleeps, as well as all over the bumpy New York streets. Gilbert was accustomed to the rough pot holes and hard turns that would frequently jerk his bus around, but one day in December of 2010, a large bump sent him straight to the hospital.

“I hit a bad spot [in the road] and the pain felt like it was ripping me in half,” Gilbert said. “The ambulance had to take me to the hospital. It was the last time I drove a bus.”

Gilbert retired and moved to Florida in 2012. He immediately began looking for a spine specialist to help resolve his constant pain, but the first physician that he visited lacked the compassionate approach he was looking for in a health care provider. Then, a friend told him about Dr. Chetan Patel at the Spine Health Institute. From the moment Gilbert walked through the doors of the institute, he knew he’d found the right place for his care. The welcoming smiles and genuine concern displayed by every staff member made him feel confident that this team could take care of his problem.

After careful evaluation, Dr. Patel prescribed pain management therapy and referred Gilbert to Dr. Brian Jager, a pain management specialist at the institute. “I told Dr. Jager, ‘Doctor, I think you’re my last resort. I feel assured that you can help me,’” he said.

Gilbert’s history of back problems is a long and painful one. In 1996, he received a successful laminectomy after being injured on the job. Then in 2006, he experienced a violent jerk while operating the bus, causing immediate pain in his right lumbar region. After a CT scan and evaluation, he went home and was prescribed facet joint injections for pain management. The pain was under control until his final accident in 2010.

“I told (Dr. Jager) that I felt like jumping in front of a train. That’s how bad the pain made me feel,” he said. Dr. Jager prescribed pain management injections and a radiofrequency rhizotomy – a procedure that selectively destroys the offending nerve roots to alleviate pain. The procedure was a success, with Gilbert reporting a substantial decrease in pain.

Gilbert is extremely thankful for the entire team at SHI, or as he likes to call them, the “Dream Team.” Getting a phone call from Stephanie Guiler, the patient care coordinator, to check up on him was a major surprise and made him feel special and well taken care of. He is grateful for his nurse, Louise, and Dr. Jager, his “idol” whom he greatly respects for his passionate and caring nature.

Summing up his patient experience, Gilbert says, “This is an institute that cares about people and the way people feel. It was like being among family. I would recommend anyone to go to them. Thank you!”