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Organizing Spine Surgery is like Conducting an Orchestra

At a high level, it can feel that way! There are multiple players, and everyone has an important part to play. Recently, this worked superbly well, and we were able to really help our patient Tizita.

Tizita was in high school a couple of years ago, and happened to drop a book. She bent down to pick up the book, and the librarian noted her twisted spine. The librarian is the father of one of our patients, and suggested that she visit us.

Tizita has had a difficult life, with a progressively twisting spine. Plus her family had its share of problems as well. Tizita’s Christian faith has been a source of comfort, and she constantly tells herself “God has a plan.” She sings in her church choir. She writes poetry. For years, when shopping for clothes, she would ask her mom “does it match me?” She was really saying “Does it emphasize my spinal deformity?”

Tizita’s mom advised her to go to nursing school. Tizita considered this, but then chose surveying!

We evaluated Tizita, and diagnosed scoliosis, with a double curve – 108 degrees on top, 95 degrees on the lower half of her spine. In America, a single curve of 50 degrees gets appropriate surgery.

Over a year ago, Dr. Rick was contacted by Diane Curley, a Long Island nurse who is Director of Clinical Resources at Catholic Health Services and a volunteer with Operation Hearts and Home, a Long Island based charity dedicated to improving the lives of children in Ethiopia and Ukraine. Diane thought that Long Island doctors could help our patients. She introduced us to “The Long Island Spine Specialists,” who expressed interest in helping our patients. Rick, a native of Long Island himself, met with them at their Commack, NY headquarters. After long email exchanges, they chose Tizita to operate on, at no cost.

Earlier this year, Tizita flew to Long Island and was housed by Mae, the administrator of the group. Dr. Laurence Mermelstein and his partner, Dr. Hargovind DeWal operated at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip. They were assisted by plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Michael Dobryansky, of the Long Island Plastic Surgery Group. Medical device company Medtronic donated the implants, and SMS donated the intra-operative spine monitoring.

In a long day of surgery in May, the doctors put in 2 rods and 24 screws. Tizita recovered well and even had a “ladies night out,” where 10 women went by limo into Manhattan to an Ethiopian restaurant. Tizita has returned back home to Ethiopia, healing and looking forward to resuming her surveying studies after the summer rains.

All of us want to thank Dr. Mermelstein and everyone in Long Island who helped Tizita. Dr. Rick commented “As a native of Long Island, it makes me especially proud that Long Island folks have come through. Not only did they provide medical care, they opened their homes and their hearts.” Long Island – we love you!

Source: http://rickhodes.org/2014/07/17/organizing-spine-surgery-is-like-conducting-an-orchestra/


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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