At the time of her lower back injury, Janice had acquired over twenty years of clinical experience as an orthopedic nurse in Northwest Indiana. Her lumbar MRI showed L4-5 and L5-S1 central disc herniations, but she knew her symptoms did not correlate with those findings. Her pain wasn’t from the lumbar spine, her pain was lower down coming from her SI joint. Her only relief from pain came from sacroiliac joint cortisone injections.
Because of the nature of Janice’s work-related injury and the gradual progression of symptoms over the years, the insurance company assigned a workers’ comp case manager to her case. “I had worked professionally with case managers in my orthopedic job for years so I was familiar with their purpose. By conferring with my case manager and having her at my side during physician appointments, I knew I had someone in my corner who was looking out for my best interests. Knowing that she was a registered nurse gave me comfort. I knew that she would use her medical knowledge and experience to try and get me the proper and necessary care.”
Janice could not have imagined what path her career would take when she began practicing as a registered nurse in 1980. “Being a nurse was more than a job. It reflected my personal and deep commitment to patient care.”
With the assistance of her case manager, Janice was referred to a major medical center in Chicago, IL. Armed with test results, a list of symptoms and pain triggers, Janice and her case manager saw an orthopedic spine doctor. She was diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction that was a direct result of degenerative sacroiliitis and /or sacroiliac joint disruptions and learned from the surgeon about the iFuse procedure. Janice was then referred to his partner who was trained to perform the iFuse System procedure.
The case manager researched both the diagnosis and surgery, and then presented the findings to the workers’ compensation insurance company along with the physician’s request for surgery. After six years of suffering, Janice finally felt hope that her long and painful journey might come to an end. As it turned out, despite the case manger’s efforts, the insurance company denied the surgery. Janice then used her private health insurance to have the iFuse procedure performed.
Janice began to feel the benefits of the iFuse surgery within a couple weeks. She returned to walking and swimming again; activities she greatly missed. Janice was so inspired by her case manager’s work that she transitioned from being an orthopedic office nurse to become a workers’ comp case manager herself. She absolutely loves her new role and finds it extremely rewarding.
“Although as a case manager I do not practice hands-on nursing anymore, I’ve learned that their role in patient care is just as important. By attending physician appointments with the patient we can provide valuable insight and education to the patient, physician, insurance adjuster, employer and attorneys that are involved in the case. This is all geared toward getting prompt and appropriate care for the injured worker and getting them back to work as soon as possible.”
Janice also volunteers for the SI BuddySM Program, a 1:1 patient networking program that gives people who have been recommended for the iFuse procedure an opportunity to speak with a patient who was successfully treated with the iFuse Implant System®. Visit the SI Buddy page, read all of the SI Buddy stories and learn more about the SI Buddy Program http://sijpc.org/si-buddy/find-a-buddy/ .
The iFuse Implant System is intended for sacroiliac joint fusion for conditions including sacroiliac joint dysfunction that is a direct result of sacroiliac joint disruptions and degenerative sacroiliitis. There are potential risks associated with the iFuse Implant System. It may not be appropriate for all patients and all patients may not benefit. For information about the risks, visit: www.si-bone.com/risks