ADRSupport Community  

Go Back   ADRSupport Community > General Discussion > International Assistance

International Assistance Any topics relating to traveling or communicating with international treatment locations are here.


Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 11-20-2021, 10:28 AM
stanleyB stanleyB is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 3
Post DO NOT seek treatment at ONZ

Friends,I DO NOT recommend ADR surgery at ONZ! Please read my full story, as I believe it could be helpful in your ADR journey.

I underwent 4 surgeries in the US between September 2008 and February 2020 on my L4-L5-S1. The first surgery was on both levels, and each subsequent surgery was a recurrence at one of the two levels.What I foolishly failed to realize and fully comprehend until my 4th surgery in February 2020 was that the high recurrence rate is likely not as a result of any of my doing and more the generative process, accelerated with each surgery. I assumed that once repaired in 2008, it would be permanent, but reality could not be further from the trooth.

After my 4th surgery in February 2020, I realized I have exhausted all my "Minimally invasive options'', and the only option left on the table, or being offered in the US was a spinal fusion. Even in the pre-op room before my 4th surgery in February 2020, the surgeon asked me if I wanted to get a fusion instead of a microdiscectomy, but I declined. At this point after the surgery, I started doing extensive research and came across Artificial Disc Replacement. I wish I had stumbled upon this before, or immediately after my very 1st surgery, but I was being told by US doctors and specialists that ADR is in its infancy and is not really an option.

In my extensive research into ADR, I came across two specialists in Germany, who were my only contenders: Dr. Bertagnoli and Dr. Bierstedt@ ONZ clinic. With both surgeons, I posed a series of questions regarding the procedure, specifically emphasizing my previous surgical interventions, and how they believed it would ultimately affect the outcome of artificial disc replacement.

The testimonials I saw online from people were too good to be true.With Dr. Bertagnoli, I went as far as locating and contacting his patients via social media, to get their unbiased opinions of him, and their experience and outcome. Although this was an unorthodox approach, these strangers were welcoming and offered to speak with me and answer any questions. All spoke very highly of him as a surgeon, as well as the positive results of their life-saving procedures, and most had only one regret which was not doing it earlier. His US representative, Tim Vicknair was extremely helpful and knowledgeable.

With the ONZ clinic, I selected Dr. Bierstedt, and posed the same line of questioning I did with Dr. Bertagnoli. What drew me initially to Dr. Bierstedt @ ONZ is vast amounts of videos on YouTube about him, the positive outcomes he had with patients, primarily from Canada, Australia and New Zealand. One emotional YouTube video I came across was very inspiring, of a man named Tommy that could barely walk before the procedure, building a treehouse for his kids weeks after his surgery. This man, as I later learned, was so pleased with the outcome that he became a US representative for the clinic.

What also attracted me to this clinic was the additional week of post operative rehabilitation that they offered, something that Dr. Bertagnoli’s program did not offer.Both doctors appeared well qualified and experienced, although doctor Bertagnoli is considered a pioneer of many of the ADR procedures today. I made the decision to proceed with ONZ for 3 reasons: rehab option, device choices (Dr. Bertagnoli primarily utilized one type of a disc, while Dr. Bierstedt @ ONZ had several different devices he worked with, and cost. Cost with the ONZ clinic was about $10K less. I reached out to the ONZ rep, and asked for a few references from patients who have prior spinal surgery before having ADR. It’s one thing when ADR is your first surgery, and the surgeon is working on a clean canvas, but another when your spine has had as much trauma as mine. All references checked out, all were happy with the results and level of care.

Surgery and Post Surgery,Pre-op meeting with Dr. Bierstedt went well, and all the logistics up to that point were well coordinated, considering all the COVID-19 precautions. During my first face to face pre-op consultation, I found the doctor to be cold (could be a cultural thing, as most Germans don't welcome you with open arms), and it did ultimately feel like a conveyor belt operation. He decided on implanting the ESP disc, with supporting screws. He went over some of the possible surgery complications (not all were discussed, as there were others in the documents I later received). I believe they should share this comprehensive list of complications before one travels to Germany, because one can better prepare. One of the questions the surgeon asked me was if I had kids, because there is a chance that males would not be able to reproduce after this surgery. (Take this note if you don't yet have kids, but may want to in the future, as you may need to freeze your sperm).

My surgery was on February 1, and the first week post surgery was difficult, and it was difficult to be on my feet. They had some basic rahab in the hospital, which just involved walking around and doing some bed exercises. It was bitterly cold and had just snowed in Germany, so my exercises were confined to the hospital floor. The staff all spoke English, and were all very friendly. The hospital's general surgeon made the daily rounds (nice fellow, spoke great English and was very funny), with a medical lesion from ONZ named Susanne. I noticed that everything below my belly was black, and not getting any better with time, but they said it was normal (true for post op). A week later I was moved to rehab, and on day 2 of rehab, I got a sharp pain below my stomach, and was taken back to the hospital (goodbye to my rehab). An abdominal CT at the hospital showed a large hematoma which required a 2nd surgical intervention to place drainage tubes, so apparently not so normal after all. When I asked the surgeon why they were not placed after the first surgery, he couldn't give a reason).

So on day 9 in Germany, I have now received 2 surgeries, and after the second surgery,the general surgeon noted that he had to repair an abdominal hernia. I was shocked, since I never had one, but now believe that the first surgeon who did the ADR procedure, Dr. Bierstedt, was careless and left me with an abdominal hernia.

It felt like a conveyor belt. They try to get you in and out as quickly as possible, and hope not to hear from you ever again. I contacted ONZ post op for several things, and either never heard back, or heard back after multiple follows up. When I contacted their office, and requested a refund for rehab, I never heard back. When I contacted ONZ for an itemized bill of charges, so I can submit it to my insurer, I never heard back. (One happy note in all of this is that I was able to recoup about 70% of what I paid through my insurance (BCBS).

During the first 3 months, I was overly cautious, did not bend, or twist, or even drive, but still experienced the same pain I had before the operation (tightness in left calf and pain in left glute). When I contacted ONZ with my 3 month post op x-rays, I had to follow up at least 5 times because I didn't hear back. I ultimately got an email from ONZ rep in Canada, Ken Hiebert, telling me that the images and devices look good. I would have felt more confident if the response was on the doctor's signed letterhead, so I knew for sure it was actually reviewed, and not just a generic response.When I contacted ONZ with a 6 months post op MRI, the calf and glute pain was gone, but I now had excessive burning in both legs, below the knee. I did not hear back for weeks, and couldn't get a clear diagnosis. Their rep in Canada gave different excuses to explain the delay, but Ken tried to play it off and responded that the doctors reviewed the MRI and said everything was ok. When I pushed back and said that the report shows otherwise, then the line went dead, and now 3 months later, I still haven't received a response. The MRI report showed some fluid buildup at L5-S1.

I am now nearly ten months post op. and still experience burning below the knee, in both legs and feet. I anticipated gaining some height advantages with the new discs, but my height was unchanged before/after surgery, which is concerning, as I suspect the surgeon did not select the right disc for somebody of my build (6ft 3in, 240 pounds). I am also now preparing to have another surgery to fix the abdominal hernia, which requires placing a hernia mesh.

Everyone is different and will heal at the room individual rate. When you compare progress with other ADR patients, be careful not to overly obsess that some progress better or quicker than you. Take it one day at a time! I know many people have a positive experience, and these surgeons do help a lot of people, but my feeling is that they also pray on those who can't seek these treatments in their home countries.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Capture.jpg (9.7 KB, 27 views)

Last edited by Harrison; 11-24-2021 at 02:24 PM. Reason: Added paragraph breaks & moved topic
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-05-2022, 04:53 AM
mercymar1 mercymar1 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 7
Default Bierstedt botched my surgery and caused abdominal trauma.

Hello. My case is similar. Severe abdominal trauma and permanent nerve damage. Wrong angle and size used caused failure and scoliosis. I am worst than before ADR. Onz and Bierstedt are criminals.

https://drbierstedtruinedmyspine.com/home/
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-05-2022, 06:44 AM
stanleyB stanleyB is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 3
Default

Sorry to hear about your outcome. Have you tried legal action against the doctor in the clinic?
__________________
L4-L5-S1 2008, 2011, 2016, 2020, 2021
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-11-2022, 08:42 AM
mercymar1 mercymar1 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 7
Default

Hello. I tried to initiate legal action. I called dozens of law firms and nobody wanted to even consider the case. Lawsuit in Germany is too expensive and they require upfront payment. Just yesterday I discovered there is a case against the manufacturer filed in California last year. There are now several injured patients with negative outcomes due to their negligence.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-12-2022, 08:43 AM
stanleyB stanleyB is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 3
Default

Where can I read about the filed CA case? I wonder if we can get a ancruon lawsuit together
__________________
L4-L5-S1 2008, 2011, 2016, 2020, 2021
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-17-2022, 09:38 AM
mercymar1 mercymar1 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 7
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanleyB View Post
Where can I read about the filed CA case? I wonder if we can get a ancruon lawsuit together
https://dockets.justia.com/docket/ca...063/386580?amp
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Feds seek to exclude Charite from reimbursment The Big File 3 02-24-2006 10:50 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:35 AM.


© Copyright 2006-2017 ADRSupport.org All rights reserved.