We sometimes hear at Grand Rounds that it’s an older population that can benefit from our service. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we find that young populations tend to have the same skew as mature populations: 10% of the employees drive 65% of the cost for their employers. Those are cases like fertility issues, Neonatal care, Orthopedic trauma—in other words, young peoples’ problems. And those are all areas where Grand Rounds can have a tremendous impact.
Take the case of 29-year old Sorene, who experienced knee pain that began three years ago. At the time, he believed he was experiencing a torn meniscus. He wasn’t able to exercise without the pain, which he felt most intensely whenever his knees were fully bent or fully extended. The condition was not only frustrating, but prevented him from enjoying sports and other activities he loved.
After having an MRI done, Sorene heard from his physician that there was no damage to the meniscus and he should take ibuprofen as needed to manage the pain. However, two years after the doctor’s report, the pain continued. Sorene knew something wasn’t right—nor did taking painkillers daily seem like the right answer.
“Sports and exercise are a really important part of my life, and my knee pain was preventing me from enjoying these things. I needed to know if I had any other options; I didn’t want to accept that this pain might never go away,” Sorene said.
Sorene decided to come to Grand Rounds, and explained that “If there was any chance that I could improve my condition, I wanted to be proactive about finding that solution before things got worse.”
Grand Rounds matched Sorene with Dr. Doug Dirschl, Chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Chicago. Sorene’s medical records and images were collected, organized, digitized and sent to the specialist for an expert second opinion on his behalf, without much effort on his part.
“I answered a few basic questions and it only took me a few minutes. It was very low stress in comparison to what I went through to get into my original MRI appointment, which took weeks,” said Sorene.
Sorene was very happy with the specialist that Grand Rounds assigned to his case. “I was extremely impressed with Dr. Dirschl. What I didn’t expect was that I would be even more blown away by the level of detailed and thoughtful explanation that he gave to me.”
Dr. Dirschl not only provided him with a new diagnosis, but also caught a past misdiagnosis in his medical records—one that Sorene wasn’t aware of. The specialist found that the source of Sorene’s pain was a large cyst in his knee, one that would need a new MRI and most likely a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to remove. In addition, the specialist pointed out that a diagnosis and treatment he received in the past for patellofemoral syndrome (a painful misalignment in the knee) was an error, which provided him with additional relief.
“I felt like I finally had an answer and didn’t have to accept that my knee would always be in pain. I could let go of the fear that things might get worse, too.”
Sorene concluded, “I’m so thankful for the level of attention and care I received, and that I found a way to actually remove my knee pain, not just treat it. My previous experience felt abrupt and incomplete—Grand Rounds gave me closure and a plan of action. I felt very taken care of from start to finish.”