Medical devices can prove to be very important for patients. They can give the patient quality of life where there was none.
A 46 year old female presented with severe disabling pelvic pain. No cause was found. She was desperate. Our survey of the top experts in North America pointed to the use of a device called InterStim. This is manufactured by Medtronic.
The InterStim comes in models 3058 (22 grams) and 3023 (42 grams). Some are rechargeable. Some are not rechargeable. The doctor’s programmer is model 8840 and the patient programmer is model 3037. Lots of models to choose from.
This is a spinal column stimulator. It is like a pacemaker that sends out bursts of energy that blocks pain fibers in the spinal cord.
This patient was seen by a uro-gynecologist who agreed that InterStim was right. The patient had it tested. It worked. She is happy.
She received the unit without the patient programmer (model 3037). She did not know about this option.
But what happens if the annual budget at the hospital for expensive devices is completely spent. Can the patient contribute to the cost? No way.
However with eye devices, this is different.
When a patient has a cataract (a dense lens), he/she needs a new factory made lens. The opthalmologist, in Canada, can offer to sell the patient a high definition, medium definition or low definition lens. The patient has the option of buying up, if they want. The key word is option.
I am told that patients in Brazil buy their devices at specialty device shops, before going to the hospital. Seems to work. I am sure that the patient’s insurance pays for the device.
It would be great if patients had options such as contributing to the purchase of devices or purchasing private insurance to pay for the InterStim.
These devices can give the patient back quality of life and put a smile on her face.