Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

If you’re someone who thinks that my blog is too full of anger, browse away now.  I’m warning you – don’t read any further because my blood is boiling right now.  If you’d like to try and understand why I have anger, keep reading.  Someone I know had a stroke in the right basal ganglia(cerebrum) about a year and a half ago.  One of her main issues is that she cannot yet voluntarily extend her wrist and fingers.  I was discussing this with her over email and this is what she, a former physician, said.  I asked her permission to publish this……
She is not an outlier when it comes to treatment like this, she is the norm and it needs to stop.

“Last Friday my husband, a pulmonary and critical care physician, called the head of the stroke service at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Dr. Harvey, thinking that we might go there for an evaluation of my hand since they are rated No. 1.  We were both on the phone when he called back.  When we told him that I couldn’t extend my wrist or fingers yet he said that they had nothing to offer me in Chicago and that I should stop rehabbing and work on getting a life.  When I said to him that rehabbing was the only life I had because I can’t do any of the things I need, want, and love to do, and that I wasn’t ready to give up yet, he basically said to get used to being disabled.  He said all of this without meeting me or examining me.  This is unbelievably bad medicine at supposedly the best place in the country.  Like Peter says, lots of patients have flickers of movement to build on but it goes unrecognized and they are told they have nothing.  Needless to say, I went into one of those death spirals I go into when I lose all hope. ”

Is it any wonder why I might have anger towards Western medicine?


Categories: Brain stuff, Health, Recovery, Rehab, Stroke stuff

Tags: , , , , , , ,

49 replies

  1. I hate this saying, but I feel it’s appropriate in this instance-that man should absolutely be ashamed of himself. The point of places like that is to instill hope. He did the opposite of that. What a dishonor.

  2. This sickens me!!!

    Julia, I hope you and your husband had a few choice words for him!

  3. It pisses me off too! That full-fledged flushed-face, shaking-hands visceral anger I feel at ignorance masquerading as expertise.

    He did save you the time and expense of going to Chicago only to be “evaluated” and told the same thing.

    All of us know by now that we must be our best cheerleaders, the sources of our own hope – because it ain’t coming from the medical establishment.

    The best solution now: Prove him wrong, Julia!

  4. The stroke medical world refuses to acknowledge that they can’t even diagnose a problem. They don’t know the difference between dead brain cells and damaged cells. They might be able to help those that are just damaged because they will spontaneously recover, but they have absolutely nothing for those with dead brain.
    They are all f*cking idiots, and I know more than they do. Sad, when a brain-damaged patient can out-think you.

  5. I hope that Dr. Harvey gets a stroke.

  6. Dean, of course you know more than they do – you keep open-minded and look through all the literature and current research to learn, rather than believing you know it all. That’s got to be more than “they” do. (And thank you for doing that.)

  7. My neurologist told me at my last visit that I was “lucky” because I wasn’t confined to a wheelchair, etc. REALLY?

  8. The first time I saw my PCP after the stroke, he said that after looking at my MRI he was shocked that I walked into his office. His final statement to me that day was, “I admire your spunk.” They just give up on us way too easily. I think my bull-headed ness, which got me in such trouble in rehab, is the biggest contributor to my recovery.

    • Yep. ^^ and people like my zack, who are laid back have a bit more difficult time. To put it in his words, though, he was also very “unaware” of a lot for many months… Probably 4-5. :-/

      People like this man really need to consider a different profession. It should be some sort of requirement that they actually have personal buy in to the brain injury community. It seems that these guys get so far removed from the fact that they are dealing with REAL people that they cease to treat their patients (or potential patients) as such.

  9. I just saw the recent issue of stroke smart and it does suggest daily meditation following therapy.

  10. Growllllll! I was basically told the same thing when I asked and keep asking. I still have almost no voluntary extension of my elbow and nothing below it.

    Them are fighting words. I say watch me! I’ll get there in time and continued hard work. I’ll prove you wrong given half a chance.

  11. I just want to thank all of you, Amy and your followers, the tribe, for your support. It’s been a really difficult week but thanks to all of you I don’t feel so alone.

    We can’t be silent about this abuse anymore. And that’s what it is – emotional abuse. As Homeland Security tells us – “if you see something say something”.

    • If you see something, say something. Hmmmm. yes let’s apply that to our treatment by neurologists as well.

    • Julia, the fact that you, in your crummy week, had the heart to reach out to me and focus on my family and our situation, in hopes of helping me, says a whole lot about what a generous, kind, and loving individual you are. Thank you for doing that. You bet we’ll support you. This is crap. You are better than that, Julia. Dr. Harvey can shove his incompetency, masquerading as understanding, where the sun doesn’t shine.

      • Thank you Brooke. I’ve always felt that the knowledge and experience I have gained from medical training is this extraordinary gift and any opportunity to be able to use it again is an honor and a privilege. So thank YOU.

  12. Rudy – great article. If only our doctors read the Times. Another Times article worth reading – an op-ed on gun control by Gabby Giffords, but relevant to us because of her beautiful description of her experience of rehab.

  13. Julia, I’m working on an email for you on hand recovery. Its something that incompetent doctor should have known about. He should be fired, I’ll have to think about the charges.

  14. Thank you Dean. All kidding aside, you really are the smartest person in the stroke world and we are lucky to have you. Please don’t hurt yourself with a power tool.

  15. Julia,
    I’m sorry you’ve encounted another ‘stroke expert moron”….they’re everywhere…it must be a popular degree.. My first rehab team at home told me I needed to lower my expectations and I should consider myself lucky for the abilities I had. I fired them all immediately and complained to all the admins. Not sure it made a difference, but at least I was not subjected to their incompetence for long. I eventually proved them wrong by doing everything they told me I couldnt/wouldn’t. Don’t let that idiot deflate you. Allow his ignorance to empower you and propell you along ur recovery. Wishing you the best!!

  16. Must be. How else could there be so many? Maybe it’s on the job training, using us as research projects.

  17. Yes! I work hard every day to prove him wrong! I work especially hard on my middle finger (The f u (follow up)finger to show it to him Jane

    • Jane, lol!! my PCP has told me that he’s looking forward to me pointing my left index finger at him and telling him he was wrong. I pointed at him with my right index finger the first time he told me that I’d have “residual” effects of the stroke, and said, ” Well, you’re the only one who thinks so.”

  18. I randomly stumbled upon your blog and am sad to say I’ve had the same experience with Mr. Richard Harvey. That man has no right to be addressed as a doctor. Not only is he incompetent and arrogant, he is completely unaware of the status of his patients and puts their health and safety at a very high risk. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that man and hope you can forget whatever nonsense he threw your way and that you continue to heal. Have you tried acupuncture? Acupuncture in combination with PT have made a huge difference in my family member who was affected by a stoke.

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