French Gulch, CA – Emergency Physicians and Orthopedic Surgeons at a small California hospital are excited about a new treatment modality for managing musculoskeletal complaints. It’s a move that has turned the conventional wisdom of “surgery as a last resort” on its head.
What the doctors have done is installed a “cut first, ask questions later” approach to all musclo-skeletal complaints. Where before, the sprained ankle was treated with ice, elevation and NSAIDS, the same injury now immediately goes to the operating room for an “exploratory” operation.
Dr Mark Sulcus, the Emergency Department Medical Director of French Gulch General Hospital explains: “ X-rays can miss important orthopedic pathology, such as ligamentous injuries and occult fractures, by taking a pro- active approach we can look closer at these structures and decide if we need to apply internal fixation to these pesky problems.” All musculoskeletal issues now get referred to Ortho and get put on the OR schedule.
Local orthopedic surgeon Dr Robert Bovy is thrilled with the new system. “ I’m just a few months out of residency so the more procedures I do the more I can help the community.”
In an unexpected turn of events after the first six months of the new system, it was decided to start fusing any joint that is close to the initial injury. Dr Bovy stated ”For some reason, the number of musculoskeletal complaints have dropped significantly since inception, so to keep the number’s up, we have started the fusing policy, where every joint in the vicinity of the injury gets fused to prevent any future joint problems.”
They have also added automatic refills of post surgical pain medication to the surgical plan. Similar to Red Robin’s “Bottomless French Fries” patients just phone the surgeons office when Percocet refills are needed and the prescription is auto filled. “These patients have pain, no need to keep them from the medicine they require.”
The program has become so successful that they are now taking consultations from surrounding areas. “People are coming from miles around to get their joint problems taken care of on a long term basis.” They also comment on the fact that a simple joint fusion is a small price to pay for lifetime supply of Norco and a pain free life.”