Dan H: Finding the Answer at Mercy
When his back pain became too much to bear, Dan H. of Maryland’s Eastern Shore did what he has always done when seeking answers; he looked everywhere in an effort to find the very best solution.
After a long and exhaustive search, what he found was The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy Medical Center.
A Bent Back in Need of a Straight Solution
Dan has never been one to sit still – not for pain, and not for life. “I’ve always been very active,” he noted. “I’ve done a lot, from roller skating and jumping over car hoods to playing football at all levels right up through semi-pro football. I’ve beaten my body up pretty good.”
He first began experiencing severe back pain several years ago, the result of a surfing accident in California that damaged his back. “I got bent backwards by the ocean waves and felt something snap,” he said. “From there the pain just kept getting progressively worse over the years.”
Now the owner of his own training and sales company, Dan travels extensively and does much of his business on the golf course. Neither of those situations worked well with constant back pain.
“It got to the point where I could barely walk,” he said. “I couldn’t move 200 feet without severe pain running down both sides of my legs and back.”
Questioning a Life with Pain
After living with the pain for years, he went in search of answers. But what he initially found was that identifying the right doctor and the right hospital was not always a simple solution.
“I wanted the best, and so I did research and went to three different spine specialists in Maryland and Florida at hospitals with recognized spine centers and very good reputations.” he said. “None of them would touch my back. One of them said to me, ‘I only do what I can fix.’ I wasted eight months looking and wasn’t any closer to finding relief for my back pain.”
For a man who moves around a lot, Dan did find exactly what he was looking for, and the answer turned out to be very close to home.
“My wife was also doing research - she’s very thorough.” Dan noted. “She got a folder on Mercy, so I went through it. I was impressed with their dedicated spine center and specialists. The fact that I could have a private room after surgery appealed to me. I’d seen Mercy advertised on TV and decided to take a look.”
What Dan found in that first look was Dr. Justin Park, a Board Certified orthopedic spine surgeon with The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy. Skilled in advanced surgical techniques, Dr. Park took X-rays and reviewed his MRI.
He told Dan what he’d been waiting years to hear.
“He said, ‘I can relieve your back pain.’ Dr. Park took time to answer all of my questions and put me at ease about the surgery.”
Several weeks later, Dan received a late-night call at home. It was Dr. Park, who had met with colleagues to discuss Dan’s treatment. “I was impressed that he was personally calling me,” Dan noted.
Seeking a Permanent Solution
Dr. Park recommended that Dan have surgery to address the L4-5 and S1 discs, insert spacers and fuse his lower back. “I told him I’d have to think about it,” Dan said.
He did think - going over his long journey, his ongoing pain and his initial positive impressions of Mercy and Dr. Park. A week later, he called Dr. Park’s office. He’d decided to have Dr. Park perform the surgery and keep moving forward with his life.
Dan got his surgery and his private recovery room, and his overall experience at Mercy was a success. “At one point while I was recovering, my heart rate dropped abnormally low and I became very concerned,” he said. “One of the night nurses came in and assured me they were monitoring my heart. It put me at ease.”
An Answer Worth Waiting For
Four days after surgery, the energetic Dan was back on his feet, announcing to the staff, he was ready to go home. Less than a week after being home, he stopped taking any pain medications. Six weeks later, he was on a plane headed to Florida, back on the move.
“Top to bottom, everyone at Mercy was absolutely sincere in their concern and care,” Dan said. “From Dr. Park to the nurses and the technicians, everyone was absolutely over the top.”
Meanwhile, after his search, thanks to Dr. Park and Mercy Medical Center, Dan has the answer he was searching for. He’s virtually pain-free now, traveling again, eyeing the golf course and the retirement home he and his wife have built in Florida.
“Thanks to Mercy, the pain is gone,” he said. “My quality of life is so much better. It’s been an awakening for me, and I couldn’t be happier about the outcome.”
Dan H.'s Treatment Team