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  • Herniated cervical disc with spinal cord compression

    Hi everyone, first post here but it's going to be a long one. I was involved in an off duty motorcycle accident on 8/26/21. I was rear ended while waiting at a traffic light and was throw off my machine. I suffered 4 fractured ribs but it wasn't until the next day when the neck pain also really set in. I returned to my primary who sent me for an mri of my neck and spine. Results show a C5/C6 central disc protrusion compressing my spinal cord. The pain started to subside but now remains at a constant 3-5 in all ranges of motion. I also have full right arm numbness when I sleep on my back.
    I have had several neurosurgeon/ortho opinions and they have all been different. My primary doc has had me out mainly for the ribs at this point but my biggest concern/question to these doctors have been, I'm a Police Officer. I enter work with an unknown of what my day will be like. Fighting with someone, falling down, lifting someone up, getting into an accident. Can this disc cause further damage if impacted by something??

    Doctor #1: You're fine, do some PT and you can resume your daily activities and work.
    Doctor #2: There is no correction for your neck other than surgery. You are ok to work and resume activities now and follow up in December.
    Doctor #3 Wants to have an eng nerve test done, unable unable to answer if I should return to Police work just yet.
    Doctor #4 Acknowledged the risk of my job, everyday is unknown and advised to correct the disc via surgery before returning to full duty.

    I did start PT almost immediately after the accident. They are being very cautious with the neck area but do believe in a conservative treatment. They were unable to really give an opinion to whether surgery is necessary based on my job.

    Obviously this is all very frustrating. My job has unlimited sick so I've been out using that. Has anyone had a similar situation ?

    Thank you for reading

  • #2
    I've been through all of that. I ended up having C5/C6/C7 fused and plated. It's a common surgery for active guys around 50 years old, I was told.
    Last edited by Aidokea; 10-09-2021, 03:16 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
      I've been through all of that. I ended up having C5/C6/C7 fused and plated. It's a common surgery for active guys around 50 years old, I was told.
      So what do you think, given our job get this fixed asap before returning to work?

      Comment


      • #4
        Some food for thought here -

        If you have been working long enough to achieve permanent civil service status, your job is somewhat protected. Basically, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits your employer from inquiring about your health or medical status until something happens that gives them reason to believe that you are no longer physically capable of carrying out the duties of your position.

        Somehow I doubt you can go on unlimited paid sick leave for the rest of your life. There is going to come a time when your employer needs a valid medical reason for your continuing to be off. When they find you are permanently unable to perform each and every critical physical task of your position and it is for an non work related event, they will have grounds to medically terminate you. That means no pension unless your retirement system has a provision for a non-industrial disability retirement, which is usually a lot less than a work related disability pension.

        Your only choice here is to get this fixed as quickly as possible before the department finds out and terminates you and leaves you with nothing but a pay off for your unused leave credits.

        Don't screw around. Get this fixed now.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          Some food for thought here -

          If you have been working long enough to achieve permanent civil service status, your job is somewhat protected. Basically, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits your employer from inquiring about your health or medical status until something happens that gives them reason to believe that you are no longer physically capable of carrying out the duties of your position.

          Somehow I doubt you can go on unlimited paid sick leave for the rest of your life. There is going to come a time when your employer needs a valid medical reason for your continuing to be off. When they find you are permanently unable to perform each and every critical physical task of your position and it is for an non work related event, they will have grounds to medically terminate you. That means no pension unless your retirement system has a provision for a non-industrial disability retirement, which is usually a lot less than a work related disability pension.

          Your only choice here is to get this fixed as quickly as possible before the department finds out and terminates you and leaves you with nothing but a pay off for your unused leave credits.

          Don't screw around. Get this fixed now.
          Wow. A lot of wisdom there.

          In my case, I was not able to point to a specific work-related incident that was 100% responsible for my medical condition, but it was absolutely not the result of a non work related incident. For that reason, I did not pursue it through worker's compensation- I had excellent medical coverage, and tons of sick time banked, so I just got it fixed.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Shineysideup21 View Post

            So what do you think, given our job get this fixed asap before returning to work?
            I actually approach this issue from a number of perspectives- when you say "my machine", that makes it sound like your motorcycle may not have had 17" wheels front and rear, which causes me to ask EXACTLY what safety gear were you wearing?

            L-1's advice, as always, is rock solid.

            FWIW, surgery is always the LAST option, and a 3-5 on the pain scale doesn't get it.

            When my disc(s) fell apart, the ER staff asked me the 1-10 question, which sounded ridiculous to me at the time, because the pain was like 100. They gave me morphine to address the pain, and it didn't even TOUCH the pain- I'm not saying that the morphine didn't help enough, I'm saying that it might as well have been tap water. They hit me with morphine a second time, and it still had absolutely zero effect. They told me that they couldn't hit me a third time, because it might kill me.

            I will admit that I am deathly afraid of surgery- the thought of never waking up from anesthesia terrifies me. But the pain was SO bad, I was yelling for them to get me on the operating table.

            So I guess what I am saying, is that when it's time for surgery, you will not need anyone to tell you that it's time for surgery- you'll know...

            Comment


            • #7
              So out of the 4 doctors you consulted, only one would even consider surgery? That ought to tell you something.

              Spinal surgery is generally a last resort when all else fails, and in most cases the risks outweigh the potential benefits. Plenty of people end up with far worse problems including limited range of motion. More weight and stress is placed on the surrounding discs, so they begin rapidly deteriorating, and you'll wind up with more surgeries (which might end your career).

              I don't see why a doctor's medical advice would be any different based on your job. If surgery at this point is medically ill-advised for a plumber, then it's also ill-advised for a cop. Besides, if you actually were to (further) injure your neck on the job, then your agency would be financially responsible for all of it. If you end up needing surgery, they'll have to pay for it. If you can't continue to work, then they'll have to medically retire you. To me, that seems preferable over rushing into a risky surgery that may just aggravate your problems (and potentially prevent you from returning to work).

              ^^^ All of this is assuming that you are (or soon will be) capable of returning to work and performing your duties (albeit with some pain/discomfort).

              Edited to add: Have you consulted an attorney? You were rear-ended while waiting at a traffic light...so surely, there's going to be insurance coverage. A good attorney might be able to help you navigate all these issues.
              Last edited by not.in.MY.town; 10-10-2021, 05:59 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Off duty injury. Why should the taxpayers fund his retirement via his agency?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just a thought was this off duty as in going into or just leaving work? I have know guys involved in both and were able to get it covered under workers comp. One has retired out on medical. PM me and I'll give you more info if that's the case. Or was this a straight day one full off work no ties to work
                  I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

                  It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shineysideup21 View Post
                    Hi everyone, first post here but it's going to be a long one. I was involved in an off duty motorcycle accident on 8/26/21. I was rear ended while waiting at a traffic light and was throw off my machine. I suffered 4 fractured ribs but it wasn't until the next day when the neck pain also really set in. I returned to my primary who sent me for an mri of my neck and spine. Results show a C5/C6 central disc protrusion compressing my spinal cord. The pain started to subside but now remains at a constant 3-5 in all ranges of motion. I also have full right arm numbness when I sleep on my back.
                    I have had several neurosurgeon/ortho opinions and they have all been different. My primary doc has had me out mainly for the ribs at this point but my biggest concern/question to these doctors have been, I'm a Police Officer. I enter work with an unknown of what my day will be like. Fighting with someone, falling down, lifting someone up, getting into an accident. Can this disc cause further damage if impacted by something??

                    Doctor #1: You're fine, do some PT and you can resume your daily activities and work.
                    Doctor #2: There is no correction for your neck other than surgery. You are ok to work and resume activities now and follow up in December.
                    Doctor #3 Wants to have an eng nerve test done, unable unable to answer if I should return to Police work just yet.
                    Doctor #4 Acknowledged the risk of my job, everyday is unknown and advised to correct the disc via surgery before returning to full duty.

                    I did start PT almost immediately after the accident. They are being very cautious with the neck area but do believe in a conservative treatment. They were unable to really give an opinion to whether surgery is necessary based on my job.

                    Obviously this is all very frustrating. My job has unlimited sick so I've been out using that. Has anyone had a similar situation ?

                    Thank you for reading
                    Read the first para.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Aidokea View Post

                      I actually approach this issue from a number of perspectives- when you say "my machine", that makes it sound like your motorcycle may not have had 17" wheels front and rear, which causes me to ask EXACTLY what safety gear were you wearing?

                      L-1's advice, as always, is rock solid.

                      FWIW, surgery is always the LAST option, and a 3-5 on the pain scale doesn't get it.

                      When my disc(s) fell apart, the ER staff asked me the 1-10 question, which sounded ridiculous to me at the time, because the pain was like 100. They gave me morphine to address the pain, and it didn't even TOUCH the pain- I'm not saying that the morphine didn't help enough, I'm saying that it might as well have been tap water. They hit me with morphine a second time, and it still had absolutely zero effect. They told me that they couldn't hit me a third time, because it might kill me.

                      I will admit that I am deathly afraid of surgery- the thought of never waking up from anesthesia terrifies me. But the pain was SO bad, I was yelling for them to get me on the operating table.

                      So I guess what I am saying, is that when it's time for surgery, you will not need anyone to tell you that it's time for surgery- you'll know...
                      I had a half helmet, cargo pants and a tshirt on. Machine is just lingo some motorcycle cops use.

                      As far as pain scales, in my situation and how the disc is protruding it doesn't appear pain would increase over time or with more injury. Pressing the spinal cord more from the center, not hitting nerve roots would cause imbalance, dizziness and loss of motion in the right arm. Out of the opinions 2 are for surgery, the only difference between them is one wants to do it soon and the other wants to wait.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                        Some food for thought here -

                        If you have been working long enough to achieve permanent civil service status, your job is somewhat protected. Basically, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits your employer from inquiring about your health or medical status until something happens that gives them reason to believe that you are no longer physically capable of carrying out the duties of your position.

                        Somehow I doubt you can go on unlimited paid sick leave for the rest of your life. There is going to come a time when your employer needs a valid medical reason for your continuing to be off. When they find you are permanently unable to perform each and every critical physical task of your position and it is for an non work related event, they will have grounds to medically terminate you. That means no pension unless your retirement system has a provision for a non-industrial disability retirement, which is usually a lot less than a work related disability pension.

                        Your only choice here is to get this fixed as quickly as possible before the department finds out and terminates you and leaves you with nothing but a pay off for your unused leave credits.

                        Don't screw around. Get this fixed now.
                        Thank you I appreciate the good advice. Yeah it's unlimited, but caps at 1 year. Technically I'd have to come back 1 day and then it resets again.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by moparfan View Post
                          Just a thought was this off duty as in going into or just leaving work? I have know guys involved in both and were able to get it covered under workers comp. One has retired out on medical. PM me and I'll give you more info if that's the case. Or was this a straight day one full off work no ties to work
                          Yeah unfortunately completely off duty.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post
                            So out of the 4 doctors you consulted, only one would even consider surgery? That ought to tell you something.

                            Spinal surgery is generally a last resort when all else fails, and in most cases the risks outweigh the potential benefits. Plenty of people end up with far worse problems including limited range of motion. More weight and stress is placed on the surrounding discs, so they begin rapidly deteriorating, and you'll wind up with more surgeries (which might end your career).

                            I don't see why a doctor's medical advice would be any different based on your job. If surgery at this point is medically ill-advised for a plumber, then it's also ill-advised for a cop. Besides, if you actually were to (further) injure your neck on the job, then your agency would be financially responsible for all of it. If you end up needing surgery, they'll have to pay for it. If you can't continue to work, then they'll have to medically retire you. To me, that seems preferable over rushing into a risky surgery that may just aggravate your problems (and potentially prevent you from returning to work).

                            ^^^ All of this is assuming that you are (or soon will be) capable of returning to work and performing your duties (albeit with some pain/discomfort).

                            Edited to add: Have you consulted an attorney? You were rear-ended while waiting at a traffic light...so surely, there's going to be insurance coverage. A good attorney might be able to help you navigate all these issues.
                            Thank you. 2 of the doctors say surgery, the only difference is one wants to wait for a follow up in December. And the other says asap before returning to work.
                            Yes I have an attorney and we started the claim. Motorcycles are not covered under no fault in NY. I had some medical coverage under the motorcycle but all of the other doctor visits will be through my insurance. Any costs, copays etc will have to come from the settlement down the road.

                            I also have another opinion on Oct 18.

                            Comment


                            • not.in.MY.town
                              not.in.MY.town commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Gotcha.

                              Hopefully the next consultation will provide some clarity and help you decide how to move forward.

                              Are the two doctors recommending the same type of surgery? My understanding is that there are different options. If you are a candidate for a relatively low-risk, moderately-invasive procedure, then I'd probably go ahead with that so that you can get back to work ASAP (which is what L1 is recommending). I'd be more hesitant about the nuclear option of "fusing and plating".

                              Best of luck to you.

                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Shineysideup21 View Post

                            Thank you. 2 of the doctors say surgery, the only difference is one wants to wait for a follow up in December. And the other says asap before returning to work.
                            Yes I have an attorney and we started the claim. Motorcycles are not covered under no fault in NY. I had some medical coverage under the motorcycle but all of the other doctor visits will be through my insurance. Any costs, copays etc will have to come from the settlement down the road.

                            I also have another opinion on Oct 18.
                            So this could bankrupt you too, before a settlement is reached. Insurance has financial limits- medical needs don't.

                            Comment

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