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ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Posted by BSHS03@home.com on 10/10/01 at 15:10 (062663)

Hi all,

You may remeber me from last year Cindy K. from Baton Rouge, LA. Hey, I am haveing some problems with Healthronics. Before my ESWT procedure in Texas I inquired about the overall cost-and was told it would be approximately $2000.00 per foot. Well low and behold I just got a whopping bill for 4500 per foot in addition to the Dr.'s fee of around 2,000K. Of course this does not include the anesthesia bill...So I am totally confused, frustrated and a bit disgruntaled about the quoted cost.

My question to all of the Healthtronics user of the OSSATRON...what were your total charges. Now remember I had both fee done, and am not regretting the decision at all-very grateful for the Doctor who helped me for today I am walking and can stand barefooted and walk around this way on rare occassions. I am truly and advocate for this proceedure. However, if this is the true cost of the proceedure I was misled. Just looking over the questionaire site I think this fee looks artifically inflated expecially if I compare it to the Canadian fees.

My other question is to the patient who had the PF release surgery and what the overall cost was to have this proceedure done.
Is it less expensive than the 5500/foot I am now being charged for the Ossatron procedure?

My hopes are to have this company audited seems inflated...any suggestions on how I should proceed with fighting this case?

Scott, if you see this message please change my email address under Cindy Texas (64) to BSHS03@home.com

Thanks in advance.
Cindy

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/10/01 at 15:37 (062664)

Hi,

Glad your feet are doing so well. The cost for ossatron is about six thousand per foot . This includes the physicians fee, the operating room fee and the anesthesia fee. One of the problem with ESWT is that it is usually more expensive to use then surgery from the insurance companies view of cost for doing the pf surgery. We are talking about the better for the patient view. This is even true if you include the aneshesia, and the operating room . The reason being that the typical
surgical fee is about $300-400 dollars for a pf surgery. I wish I had some better information. Talk to the doctor see if there is some mistake or if there is something that can be done.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

BrianJ on 10/10/01 at 16:54 (062675)

Hi Cindy --

Your experience sounds very similar to mine (though I have not yet felt any benefit from my two ESWT treatments). My doctor's office in Dallas said the total cost for Ossatron (one treatment for both feet) would be $4,800 (usual fee is $6,000, but I got a 20% discount for paying out of my own pocket). I also understood that I would be responsible for the anesthesia cost and the surgical room cost.

I had the first procedure on April 11 and paid the $4,800 plus the anesthesia cost plus the surgical room cost. Then, out of the blue, I got a bill this month from Healthtronics for $9,000! No one ever told me to expect this, and I never contracted with Healthtronics.

To their credit, Healthtronics listened to my explanation (complaint) and has not yet demanded payment. If they do demand payment, I do not plan to pay, as to my knowledge I had no agreement with Healthtronics.

Sorry for the long explanation. Hope this helps.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/10/01 at 17:28 (062676)

So what was the total cost for both your feet including anesthesia and the operating room. I believe the bill from healthronic's is the operating room fee/use of ossatron fee. So it may be a duplicate bill.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

cindy K on 10/10/01 at 20:33 (062700)

Hi Dr. Z and Brian....

After I posted (sorry for the poor grammer...I got carried away)I called my Insurance company. They stated that the fee from Healthtronics is 9,000.00 for the use of the machine apart from the other fees like the surgi-center, anesthesia, and Dr.s fees. So my feet for this proceedure cost around 15,000.00.

I am puzzled Dr. Z about the notation on my bill from Healthtronics. They are charging me for both feet and 'ankles'...I knew about the feet but had no idea they did my ankles. Is this usual, if so this would explain my inital problems with ankle weakness-but there was no brusing on the ankles. I am not sure why my ankles would have been done....any ideas?? I know, I should call my Doctor 8-}.

Brian, before I went into this proceedure I thought I did all my homework. I asked the Doctor the total amount because I knew it was an experimental procedure and that I might have to pay something out of pocket. I understood that there would be extra fees for the anesthesiologist and the surgi-center but that was it. So my insurance company has agreed to relook at this fee and they may audit Healthtronics.

Enough about me....Sorry Brian that you have not yet reaped the benefits. It took me several months where I could say I was happy with the results. Today I am pain free. I still take precautions like orthotics and good supportive shoes. Hey, fee free to write me Brian off line if you want to discuss more about your experience with your doctor. I am interested in knowing who it might be.

Cindy K

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Scott R on 10/11/01 at 05:56 (062718)

I wouldn't pay any more than was said before the procedure. $9,000 is absurd, even for two feet. I would make them take me to court to get it. Verbal agreements are valid and a court has enough common sense to throw out fees that are absurdly higher than you were warned about. We all sign forms that say we will pay whatever the costs are over and above what the insurance companies pay, but those contracts are very often not enforceable. I wonder if you could initiate a lawsuit against them for fraud.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Barbara TX on 10/11/01 at 08:39 (062724)

I totally, totally agree. Pay what you agreed to pay verbally. This is one of the most unprofessional and underhanded things I have ever seen on the board - makes all the 500-dollar orthotics scams look like a drop in the bucket.

How can Healthronics expect people to pop for this treatment when they are consistently unsure of the final cost?

Good luck - hold Healthronics and your doctor to ethical billing policies! B.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/11/01 at 15:57 (062761)

Let's wait and see what is going on with the bill. Many times computers screw up or double bill patients by mistake. Not saying it is ok. The facts will turn up Healthronics is a very big player in the ESWT field.

The way that healthronics runs it operations is in three sections of billing.

1. Your doctor bill ( one part of the charge )
2. The anesthesia bill ( Another part of the charge)
3. Use of the ossatron, use of the technician to run the osssatron and the use of the the location to run the ossatron . This is usually a surgical center . ( another part of the charge.

I know that this doesn' resolve the issue but I hope it explains that there are three charges when using the ossatron.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Cindy K on 10/11/01 at 20:40 (062800)

Thanks for your Explaination Dr. Z-and your support Barb, Scott,and Brian. I agree that this is way out of line from what others have paid in Canada and in the States-at least according to the History Board on this site. I am waiting for the Healthtronics to investigate and am having my insurance company do the same. There is something terribly wrong if it cost more than the invasive surgery for PF.

I will keep you updated when I get some rulings.

Cindy K.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/11/01 at 22:16 (062806)

ESWT will always cost more due to the FDA rules and regulations that are now being used to bring ESWT to the USA. I have many times tried to explain to this board that until there are changes by the FDA which will ony come from you the patient you will continue to pay ten times what it cost in Canada and Europe.

This isn't the first time I have brought this to the attention of this board and still nothing is being done. So until you the patient complain to the FDA that you want ESWT to be re-classified as pain management Class one devices you will pay .

Only in the USA are there double blind studies for ESWT. Only in the USA where ESWT has the shortest history of use is this being done. I can use a laser on feet . I can use ultrasound on the feet. I can use a knife on the feet and there is no FDA classification with double studies needed. I can develope an operation called EPF which has and can causes permenant damage to the humman foot and still no FDA needed.

Just think about it in Europe it has been used for ten years . In the USA for less then two years and only in the USA is there double blind studies.

Do you know that you can bring a kidney lithotriptor machine into this country without any double blind studies. This is a machine that is used to break up kidney stones and pass by or near vital organs.

Come on wake up and stop complaining unless you are willing to as a group write to the FDA and demand new rules and regulations that benefit the public and not the ESWT companies. Right now there is a closed market which only brings up the cost of the procedure.

It's you choice you can speak up or shut up and pay. This isn't about
insurance companies who don't give or care that ESWT is better cause they just won't pay for ESWT when they can get away with paying a few hundred dollars for heel spur surgery.

So write to the FDA tell them you want a re-classification of ESWT machine to class one pain managment devices. After all isn't pain what we want to get rid of . LEt the doctor determine its use whether it be for pf or achilles tendonitis. The best part of our medical system is the ability for doctors to use the skill and knowledge that they were taught in school and apply it. So let medicine be handled by doctors.

This is the last time I will bring this up. !!!!!!

IT is your choice to write to the FDA or watch the cost of ESWT machines go up and up an up. Scott is right and heelspurs.com has the ability to
speak up.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

john h on 10/12/01 at 10:31 (062834)

each time i see the cost of the treatments for the Ossatron i go into shock!!!!!!!!!!!! knowing what i know about the Orbasone and Sonnocur and the cost of treatments with these machines it is almost a no-brainer for me to go with a treatment from some machine other than the Ossatron. The requiremnet for hospital treatment and anathesia IMHO is outrageous and totally uncalled for. Whether this is the FDA or Physician's fault i do not know but people in a great deal of pain are being taking advantage of in an enviroment where in most cases they do not even have insurance coverage. This gives medicine a bad name. In a word this 'sucks'!

Re: change to pain management

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/12/01 at 16:31 (062877)

This can be done but it is going to have to be done by a petition .
We could have a meeting with the FDA. I would be very happy to help. But
the time for politics is over. Either you are with getting rid of pain by changing the systme and allow an open free market with reduced pricing or
you are not. We can't promote companies anymore. We must promote patients and their the need to get rid of pf pain.

Every day I see pf pain and have to explain the costs due to the machines costing so much. The orbasone even costs to much. They all cost too much.

Re: change to pain management

Cindy K on 10/13/01 at 17:59 (062934)

thanks for the fuel for the fire Dr. Z-believe me I do not plan to pay this bill and will petition both the insurance company and our insurance commissioner to look at this bill. I just think of the individuals who do not have the energy or the know how to fight such injustice. How many other people have been misled with these procedure. Believe me I am grateful for the technology but it should not cost more than the PF invasive surgery.
Cindy K.

Re: countries are a package deal

elliott on 10/15/01 at 05:21 (062996)

I certainly won't dispute that FDA requirements are uneven. But I also won't dispute that double-blind studies have merits as well, and there may be FDA justification for them, even if the requirements are uneven. Concerning letting everything be handled by the doctors, while I trust you personally to use the appropriate treatment that I am considering a long trip to New Jersey to see you when my insurance changes in January, let's not forget that until recently, the US had runaway medical inflation and Europe did not (and you can't tell me that this is due mainly or in great part to the FDA and things like ESWT). Medical care has made up something like 13% of GDP in the US, with, I believe, Germany a distant second at 7%. We get only a marginal improvement in morbidity and mortality as a result. So one could argue that it is the US that has the problem. Sure, there's a history of newer treatments being conducted both first and cheaper abroad; some have talked about that here already. But there are other problems abroad, including that the general level of doctor is lower and there often is limited access to care or long waiting lines. So I guess what I'm saying is you have to look at the country as a package deal, FDA and all, not that we shouldn't try to change things which are bad. With all our problems, we are still considered the best country for medical care, notwithstanding the regrettable (certainly for this forum) lack of affordable access to things like ESWT. But leaving the doctors totally unfettered to use the devices they deem appropriate is exactly what led us to runaway inflation and HMOs. You can't deny that.

While double-blind studies can be overly restrictive (just look at neurontin, which I believe still has not had such a study verifying its usefulness for nerve-related problems and yet clearly offers some relief for some), they may be revealing and may just be appropriate for ESWT, zoning in on exactly what types of cases its application is warranted. This can be where the US takes a leap over the initial European trials. Otherwise, the eventual outcome, in the US, at least, might be a dramatic increase in casual use of ESWT, which, even at the lower costs on a per unit basis, may turn out to be just one more contributing factor to insurance premiums becoming unaffordable for just about everyone, rather than ESWT for those with heel pain.

Sorry to sound like a health actuary, but unfortunately, that is in fact what I am. But speaking as someone with unresolved heel pain and other foot ailments, I might need ESWT, and could just cry thinking how I'm going to pay for that out of pocket. I sure hope these costs come down soon.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...similar costs

Neva S on 10/17/01 at 21:27 (063200)

I had both feet done last April in Texas. I,too had been told it cost about $2000 per foot. I didn't realize that was just the Dr. fee. I also got the $9000 bill for use of the Healthtronics machine and then anesthesia (which I expected) My total bill was just over $13,000. My insurance paid about 90%. I now have gold plated feet but they are worth every penny I paid for the ESWT. I am not 100% cured but I spent my summer vacation hiking and I can square dance after a year of not being able to. I still wear my cross trainers to work (I'm a teacher)and sleep with my night splints but I can walk from the bed to the bathroom barefooted and I actually wear 1 1/4 heels to church for a couple of hours. Best of all I take no pain medication. Prior to my ESWT I had already shelled out several thousand dollars to another podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon and dealt with constant pain for the previous 2 1/2 years.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/10/01 at 15:37 (062664)

Hi,

Glad your feet are doing so well. The cost for ossatron is about six thousand per foot . This includes the physicians fee, the operating room fee and the anesthesia fee. One of the problem with ESWT is that it is usually more expensive to use then surgery from the insurance companies view of cost for doing the pf surgery. We are talking about the better for the patient view. This is even true if you include the aneshesia, and the operating room . The reason being that the typical
surgical fee is about $300-400 dollars for a pf surgery. I wish I had some better information. Talk to the doctor see if there is some mistake or if there is something that can be done.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

BrianJ on 10/10/01 at 16:54 (062675)

Hi Cindy --

Your experience sounds very similar to mine (though I have not yet felt any benefit from my two ESWT treatments). My doctor's office in Dallas said the total cost for Ossatron (one treatment for both feet) would be $4,800 (usual fee is $6,000, but I got a 20% discount for paying out of my own pocket). I also understood that I would be responsible for the anesthesia cost and the surgical room cost.

I had the first procedure on April 11 and paid the $4,800 plus the anesthesia cost plus the surgical room cost. Then, out of the blue, I got a bill this month from Healthtronics for $9,000! No one ever told me to expect this, and I never contracted with Healthtronics.

To their credit, Healthtronics listened to my explanation (complaint) and has not yet demanded payment. If they do demand payment, I do not plan to pay, as to my knowledge I had no agreement with Healthtronics.

Sorry for the long explanation. Hope this helps.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/10/01 at 17:28 (062676)

So what was the total cost for both your feet including anesthesia and the operating room. I believe the bill from healthronic's is the operating room fee/use of ossatron fee. So it may be a duplicate bill.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

cindy K on 10/10/01 at 20:33 (062700)

Hi Dr. Z and Brian....

After I posted (sorry for the poor grammer...I got carried away)I called my Insurance company. They stated that the fee from Healthtronics is 9,000.00 for the use of the machine apart from the other fees like the surgi-center, anesthesia, and Dr.s fees. So my feet for this proceedure cost around 15,000.00.

I am puzzled Dr. Z about the notation on my bill from Healthtronics. They are charging me for both feet and 'ankles'...I knew about the feet but had no idea they did my ankles. Is this usual, if so this would explain my inital problems with ankle weakness-but there was no brusing on the ankles. I am not sure why my ankles would have been done....any ideas?? I know, I should call my Doctor 8-}.

Brian, before I went into this proceedure I thought I did all my homework. I asked the Doctor the total amount because I knew it was an experimental procedure and that I might have to pay something out of pocket. I understood that there would be extra fees for the anesthesiologist and the surgi-center but that was it. So my insurance company has agreed to relook at this fee and they may audit Healthtronics.

Enough about me....Sorry Brian that you have not yet reaped the benefits. It took me several months where I could say I was happy with the results. Today I am pain free. I still take precautions like orthotics and good supportive shoes. Hey, fee free to write me Brian off line if you want to discuss more about your experience with your doctor. I am interested in knowing who it might be.

Cindy K

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Scott R on 10/11/01 at 05:56 (062718)

I wouldn't pay any more than was said before the procedure. $9,000 is absurd, even for two feet. I would make them take me to court to get it. Verbal agreements are valid and a court has enough common sense to throw out fees that are absurdly higher than you were warned about. We all sign forms that say we will pay whatever the costs are over and above what the insurance companies pay, but those contracts are very often not enforceable. I wonder if you could initiate a lawsuit against them for fraud.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Barbara TX on 10/11/01 at 08:39 (062724)

I totally, totally agree. Pay what you agreed to pay verbally. This is one of the most unprofessional and underhanded things I have ever seen on the board - makes all the 500-dollar orthotics scams look like a drop in the bucket.

How can Healthronics expect people to pop for this treatment when they are consistently unsure of the final cost?

Good luck - hold Healthronics and your doctor to ethical billing policies! B.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/11/01 at 15:57 (062761)

Let's wait and see what is going on with the bill. Many times computers screw up or double bill patients by mistake. Not saying it is ok. The facts will turn up Healthronics is a very big player in the ESWT field.

The way that healthronics runs it operations is in three sections of billing.

1. Your doctor bill ( one part of the charge )
2. The anesthesia bill ( Another part of the charge)
3. Use of the ossatron, use of the technician to run the osssatron and the use of the the location to run the ossatron . This is usually a surgical center . ( another part of the charge.

I know that this doesn' resolve the issue but I hope it explains that there are three charges when using the ossatron.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Cindy K on 10/11/01 at 20:40 (062800)

Thanks for your Explaination Dr. Z-and your support Barb, Scott,and Brian. I agree that this is way out of line from what others have paid in Canada and in the States-at least according to the History Board on this site. I am waiting for the Healthtronics to investigate and am having my insurance company do the same. There is something terribly wrong if it cost more than the invasive surgery for PF.

I will keep you updated when I get some rulings.

Cindy K.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/11/01 at 22:16 (062806)

ESWT will always cost more due to the FDA rules and regulations that are now being used to bring ESWT to the USA. I have many times tried to explain to this board that until there are changes by the FDA which will ony come from you the patient you will continue to pay ten times what it cost in Canada and Europe.

This isn't the first time I have brought this to the attention of this board and still nothing is being done. So until you the patient complain to the FDA that you want ESWT to be re-classified as pain management Class one devices you will pay .

Only in the USA are there double blind studies for ESWT. Only in the USA where ESWT has the shortest history of use is this being done. I can use a laser on feet . I can use ultrasound on the feet. I can use a knife on the feet and there is no FDA classification with double studies needed. I can develope an operation called EPF which has and can causes permenant damage to the humman foot and still no FDA needed.

Just think about it in Europe it has been used for ten years . In the USA for less then two years and only in the USA is there double blind studies.

Do you know that you can bring a kidney lithotriptor machine into this country without any double blind studies. This is a machine that is used to break up kidney stones and pass by or near vital organs.

Come on wake up and stop complaining unless you are willing to as a group write to the FDA and demand new rules and regulations that benefit the public and not the ESWT companies. Right now there is a closed market which only brings up the cost of the procedure.

It's you choice you can speak up or shut up and pay. This isn't about
insurance companies who don't give or care that ESWT is better cause they just won't pay for ESWT when they can get away with paying a few hundred dollars for heel spur surgery.

So write to the FDA tell them you want a re-classification of ESWT machine to class one pain managment devices. After all isn't pain what we want to get rid of . LEt the doctor determine its use whether it be for pf or achilles tendonitis. The best part of our medical system is the ability for doctors to use the skill and knowledge that they were taught in school and apply it. So let medicine be handled by doctors.

This is the last time I will bring this up. !!!!!!

IT is your choice to write to the FDA or watch the cost of ESWT machines go up and up an up. Scott is right and heelspurs.com has the ability to
speak up.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...please help.

john h on 10/12/01 at 10:31 (062834)

each time i see the cost of the treatments for the Ossatron i go into shock!!!!!!!!!!!! knowing what i know about the Orbasone and Sonnocur and the cost of treatments with these machines it is almost a no-brainer for me to go with a treatment from some machine other than the Ossatron. The requiremnet for hospital treatment and anathesia IMHO is outrageous and totally uncalled for. Whether this is the FDA or Physician's fault i do not know but people in a great deal of pain are being taking advantage of in an enviroment where in most cases they do not even have insurance coverage. This gives medicine a bad name. In a word this 'sucks'!

Re: change to pain management

Dr. Zuckerman on 10/12/01 at 16:31 (062877)

This can be done but it is going to have to be done by a petition .
We could have a meeting with the FDA. I would be very happy to help. But
the time for politics is over. Either you are with getting rid of pain by changing the systme and allow an open free market with reduced pricing or
you are not. We can't promote companies anymore. We must promote patients and their the need to get rid of pf pain.

Every day I see pf pain and have to explain the costs due to the machines costing so much. The orbasone even costs to much. They all cost too much.

Re: change to pain management

Cindy K on 10/13/01 at 17:59 (062934)

thanks for the fuel for the fire Dr. Z-believe me I do not plan to pay this bill and will petition both the insurance company and our insurance commissioner to look at this bill. I just think of the individuals who do not have the energy or the know how to fight such injustice. How many other people have been misled with these procedure. Believe me I am grateful for the technology but it should not cost more than the PF invasive surgery.
Cindy K.

Re: countries are a package deal

elliott on 10/15/01 at 05:21 (062996)

I certainly won't dispute that FDA requirements are uneven. But I also won't dispute that double-blind studies have merits as well, and there may be FDA justification for them, even if the requirements are uneven. Concerning letting everything be handled by the doctors, while I trust you personally to use the appropriate treatment that I am considering a long trip to New Jersey to see you when my insurance changes in January, let's not forget that until recently, the US had runaway medical inflation and Europe did not (and you can't tell me that this is due mainly or in great part to the FDA and things like ESWT). Medical care has made up something like 13% of GDP in the US, with, I believe, Germany a distant second at 7%. We get only a marginal improvement in morbidity and mortality as a result. So one could argue that it is the US that has the problem. Sure, there's a history of newer treatments being conducted both first and cheaper abroad; some have talked about that here already. But there are other problems abroad, including that the general level of doctor is lower and there often is limited access to care or long waiting lines. So I guess what I'm saying is you have to look at the country as a package deal, FDA and all, not that we shouldn't try to change things which are bad. With all our problems, we are still considered the best country for medical care, notwithstanding the regrettable (certainly for this forum) lack of affordable access to things like ESWT. But leaving the doctors totally unfettered to use the devices they deem appropriate is exactly what led us to runaway inflation and HMOs. You can't deny that.

While double-blind studies can be overly restrictive (just look at neurontin, which I believe still has not had such a study verifying its usefulness for nerve-related problems and yet clearly offers some relief for some), they may be revealing and may just be appropriate for ESWT, zoning in on exactly what types of cases its application is warranted. This can be where the US takes a leap over the initial European trials. Otherwise, the eventual outcome, in the US, at least, might be a dramatic increase in casual use of ESWT, which, even at the lower costs on a per unit basis, may turn out to be just one more contributing factor to insurance premiums becoming unaffordable for just about everyone, rather than ESWT for those with heel pain.

Sorry to sound like a health actuary, but unfortunately, that is in fact what I am. But speaking as someone with unresolved heel pain and other foot ailments, I might need ESWT, and could just cry thinking how I'm going to pay for that out of pocket. I sure hope these costs come down soon.

Re: ALL OSSATRON Patients...similar costs

Neva S on 10/17/01 at 21:27 (063200)

I had both feet done last April in Texas. I,too had been told it cost about $2000 per foot. I didn't realize that was just the Dr. fee. I also got the $9000 bill for use of the Healthtronics machine and then anesthesia (which I expected) My total bill was just over $13,000. My insurance paid about 90%. I now have gold plated feet but they are worth every penny I paid for the ESWT. I am not 100% cured but I spent my summer vacation hiking and I can square dance after a year of not being able to. I still wear my cross trainers to work (I'm a teacher)and sleep with my night splints but I can walk from the bed to the bathroom barefooted and I actually wear 1 1/4 heels to church for a couple of hours. Best of all I take no pain medication. Prior to my ESWT I had already shelled out several thousand dollars to another podiatrist and an orthopedic surgeon and dealt with constant pain for the previous 2 1/2 years.