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jchristin 10-02-2010 08:14 AM

Paralyzed after surgery
I have a friend who is currently in Germany having undergone ADR surgery. As a result of the surgery his neck moves like a dream but has become paralyzed as a result of the surgery. He can move his left arm slightly but cannot use his left hand. He cannot move his right arm and has no use of his right hand, plus he cannot move his legs. His doctor will be moving him to a special clinic that only works on spinal problems.

Does anyone know of any other patients who have undergone anything like this? Its been two weeks since surgery and I am becoming increasingly concerned for his complete and full recovery. Any advice is greatly welcomed.


dshobbies 10-02-2010 05:40 PM

Hi J and welcome to the forum,

I am so sorry for your friend. I know how scarry this is.

I can only speak from personal experience. I have no idea if this is similar to your friend's circumstance or what might have caused the paralysis. I had a lumbar 3 level in 2005 (coming on my 5 year anniversary). During the surgery, the nerve root to my left leg was irritated. Exactly what this means I cannot tell you. I awoke from surgery not able to move or feel either of my legs. I was started on Neurontin. Within a few days, my right leg began to return, now about 90%, but my left leg did not begin to come back for about 6 months and even now is only 60-75%. Also, a few days after surgery, even though I had limited feeling, both my legs became hypersensitive to any touch, including the weight of the blanket. For months I had to sleep with leggings so nothing would touch my legs. Even today, my left foot and ankle burn all the time, mostly mild but sometimes not.

If this is nerve related, they respond very slowly, if at all. Nerves and nerve regeneration are still mostly a mystery to the medical community. I assume a nerve conductivity test has been done on your friend but then again, perhaps this is something completely different. Please give us more details. Who did the surgery and what was done? To what clinic is your friend being moved? What are the doctors saying? Were any of these symptoms present prior to surgery? What meds, if any, are being used to treat this? Has there been any improvement at all since the symptoms began?

Please keep us posted and I wish your friend well.


Maria 10-02-2010 07:39 PM

re paralyzed after surgery
Hi J,
From your description it sounds as tho your friend had cervical ADR vs. lumbar?

Is there anyone there with your friend? It's scary enough to travel a long distance for surgery and then to have a complication such as this ~ that's really scary..

Mark is the person here who has traveled/worked most extensively with patients and surgeons in Germany so he would have seen the most action so to speak altho there are a number of persons here who have had cervical ADR (as well as those that have had lumbar ADR and/or both).

I do hope your friend has someone there for emotional support. I cannot imagine how stressful this is for him. Wishing him the best for a full/complete recovery how ever long it might take.

mmglobal 10-02-2010 09:45 PM

I've had 3 clients with paralysis after cervical surgery at Stenum hospital. 2 were partial, with limitations on the use of arms. One is confined to a wheelchair, years later.

I'm not sure that knowlege of other cases is helpful now. However, there may be decisions that need to be made and the ability to make rational, informed decisions is key. Do your friends have the support of their home medical providers now?

jchristin 10-03-2010 01:24 AM

My friend has experienced some improvement with the use of both arms now. However, having reviewed a couple of articles in medical journals, as well as posts in this forum and a couple of others, I believe the time has arrived to begin collecting information to use if the need should arise within the very near future.

His surgery involved the c6-7, c4-5, c3-2 region with decompression and two artificial vertebra placements. From what I understand, his natural c6-7 disk had penetrated nearly halfway into the spine and that once the doctor removed this protruding disk swelling occurred and hence the paralysis. Based upon my research, the cause of the paralysis could also be attributed to several other causes. My greatest fear, which I haven't shared with him of course, is that the longer the paralysis remains the less opportunity for a full and complete recovery.

What I need to do is to begin contacting other knowledgeable surgeons who have experience repairing work that comes out of Stenum, as well as the names and contact information of attorneys with experience in this area.

Any ideas????? Thanks to everyone for your help!!!!

Maria 10-03-2010 04:47 AM

I'd think the best thing for your friend is to make sure that the best medical care is at hand re working this up and recovery/rehabbing esp. if there's nothing more surgically to be done vs. the idea of pursuing a lawsuit for malpractice/negligence which may be extremely difficult to prove if at all possible even German courts even deal with this sort of problem.

Wishing your friend the best and glad to hear the arms/hands have (andwill) continue to improve!

mmglobal 10-03-2010 11:41 AM

jcristin, I just PM'ed my cell number... I'm on pacific time, but call anytime - 24/7

Sadly, your friend's story is not new or uncommon. I've dealt with many of these types of issues from Stenum.

Everyone else's point is well taken... legal issues will come later... now, don't spend any energy on them. Only try to make progress medically.


Maria 10-03-2010 05:59 PM

re legal issues abroad/other countries
Legal issues
Receiving medical care abroad may subject medical tourists to unfamiliar legal issues.[30] The limited nature of litigation in various countries is one reason for the lower cost of care overseas. While some countries currently presenting themselves as attractive medical tourism destinations provide some form of legal remedies for medical malpractice, these legal avenues may be unappealing to the medical tourist. Should problems arise, patients might not be covered by adequate personal insurance or might be unable to seek compensation via malpractice lawsuits. Hospitals and/or doctors in some countries may be unable to pay the financial damages awarded by a court to a patient who has sued them, owing to the hospital and/or the doctor not possessing appropriate insurance cover and/or medical indemnity.[31]

** I googled US citizen having surgery in Germany and lawsuit there and came up w/Wikipedia definition for Medical Tourism info that was more extensive than this but the legal part was what I posted.

Of course I still stand by focus on friend's recovery and feeling better because I personally think wasted mental energy on negative doesn't help the mind-body connection w/healing (esp. talking about early phase recover tho same for long term). I've had my own share of a failed spine surgery here in the states that set me back emotionally, mentally, and physically. The people that were the most helpful to me were those that were the most emotionally supportive and helpful re resources available to work on rehabbing/recovery.

I'm hopeful for your friend because of the progress you reported. Please continue to post if you feel inclined. Call Mark~ definately!

Rob Wilson 10-04-2010 04:21 PM

While I was at Stenum something similar happened to a cervical patient.

jchristin 12-28-2010 04:42 AM

hey everyone...

thank you so much for all your wonderful posts.

My friend had surgery back in September and was eventually transported to another facility southwest of Berlin, one that specializes in spine rehab cases and where he was suppose to receive 'aggressive" rehab therapy. Ya...right. Real aggressive, NOT.

He is now flying home to Canada. Get this, because the hospital in consultation with Stenum wanted him released before Christmas, he was released two days after Christmas, when a paramedic from Canada was flown to Germany to care for my friend on his journey back home. That cost him --- out-of-his-own-pocket a huge sum of money. My friend cannot take care of himself, let alone on three flights back to Canada where he lives. He will immediately upon arrival be assessed at a Canadian Hospital and then taken directly to a rehab facility. Once Stenum and this other rehab facility learned that Canadian Health would pay for their patients rehab therapy, it was over and done for them. Just unload the patient onto the Canadian health care system and they can clean up the mess they caused.

What to do? Has anyone any contact information on past Stenum patients who suffered any kind of injury as a result of Stenum's doctors. If so, please privately message me the information. Even if they eventually recovered 100%, I would like to know how they did that and the time frame involved, as well as the costs to them.


Maria 12-28-2010 09:10 AM

re your friend
I am so sorry to hear how your friend was treated/cared for and his current status still. I do hope he will continue to improve now at home and in Canadian Rehab system. I don't have any answers for you with regard to what you asked however just want to wish your firend all the best no matter how long it takes.

dshobbies 12-28-2010 07:33 PM

Words can't express my sorrow at your friend's condition. I think it's something we all feared prior to surgery and something thought about before deciding on whether to have surgery or not.

Regardless, I was warned off of Stenum by Willie B, who has posted here and if memory serves, his life was on the line at times. From him I found Mark and the rest is history. What, if anything, Stenum did to help him or what they claimed as their own culpability - I don't remember. Many think they have cleaned up their act but your friend is proof that this hospital is still risky - at least in my individual opinion.


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