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My grandmother is scheduled to have a disc in her neck removed and a fusion from her skull to her spine

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My grandmother is scheduled to have a disc in her neck removed and a fusion from her skull to her spine. We have been told this is an extremely dangerous operation, but she has to have it. the loose disc is putting pressure on her spine. We understand it has to happen. We spoke with the neurosurgeon yesterday, and we werent very comfortable with him. We asked to speak to another neurosurgeon to see if we could find someone who we felt more comfortable with. The hospital is telling us we cant. are they allowed to deny this request. Upon researching the doctor, we found his success rate is below par as well. any info would be greatly appreciated. she is scheduled to have this surgery today. We are very concerned for her well being right now.

Category: Community

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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.


Every major surgery carries some risks and complications for patients including complications arising from anesthesia. Your grandmother's advancing age and any other co- morbid diseases like diabetes or hypertension may carry some chances of intra operative or post operative complications. Spinal surgery carries its own complications as the surgical procedure is done close to the spinal cord which carries all the nerves to the body from brain. Some of these risks and complications can be avoided with skill and efficiency of the performing surgeon. So, it falls within the rights of the patient to deny a doctor from performing surgery if he or she is not confident or comfortable with the doctor.

Detailed informed consent from the patient (or from spouse, next of kin or relative, if the patient is not in a physical/mental condition to take decision) is absolutely necessary before the surgeon can perform any surgery on the patient. No hospital or doctor can deny the patient from taking a second opinion from another doctor if she is not happy with her present consultant or hospital. You can find another neurosurgeon with whom the patient is comfortable and confident before opting for surgery.

Hope this helps. Do get back to with any further questions. Thank you

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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