Alina Hernandez

Five stars for Dr. T. Hopkins is not enough to rate his excellence as a surgeon and medical practitioner. If you are contemplating spine surgery, thank your lucky stars that by some miracle you ended up in his care and not in the hands of other doctors, like I did. He is extraordinary in every way. He embodies three very rare components of clinical care: (1) talent for his field of work, (2) professional skill, and (3) genuine regard for his patients.

I believe my assessment of Dr. Hopkins’ caliber can be more credible given the fact that I had had three spine surgeries before going to see him. My first surgery was a laminectomy (L5-S1), I was in my early 20s. It helped my pain about 60%, but 15 years later, I had to get another surgery, this time a fusion. That second procedure was similar to the one Dr. Hopkins did on me this past January (1-27-2017). However, Dr. Hopkins did things so much differently…. He assembled a team of surgeons to assist him so that I would have the best care. For example, the vascular surgeon he asked to do the front opening did such a good job clamping the arteries that I did not bleed as much, which meant I did not need to get a transfusion, which translated into a much shorter recuperation time. This picture you see here was taken of me celebrating my birthday only 5 weeks after the surgery. In contrast, the previous surgery was followed by two transfusions, and it was months before I felt well enough to celebrate anything.

Eventually, I had to have a third surgery, for the disc above the ones fused. I thought it was going to be better because this surgeon did not wish to go through the front, but from the side (and back of course). But, again he never looked at me with the compassion that Dr. Hopkins saw me, and his skills were mediocre at best. With 10 screws and two rods in my spine, I had resigned myself to living a joyless life managing chronic back pain. I actually retired early, because I wanted to prevent further issues from being at a desk long periods of time.

Remarkably, three months after retiring, while waiting for the light to turn green to exit a freeway, I was hit from the back. The impact was so severe I thought I was not going to walk out of the car. I thought my patched up back couldn’t possibly survive such damage. And, yes the results were horrendous. God had intervened, and very accidentally, I ended up consulting Dr. Hopkins. And he made all the difference! From the minute he saw me, even though I hadn’t read any of his reviews at the time, I felt he truly wanted to alleviate my pain. He examined me, asked me questions, looked at me directly but kindly, and proceeded to tell me what he thought he might have to do in order to fix me, provided subsequent tests confirmed his suspicions. I will never forget feeling HOPE for the first time in more than thirty years, despite being in much worse circumstances. This fourth surgery was SO DIFFERENT FROM THE PREVIOUS ONES, I can’t really describe to you the quality of care Dr. Hopkins and his staff provided. Their staff handled all the scheduling and communications with me with such professionalism and caring, they made me feel like a celebrity, being given “special treatment”. It may sound like I am exaggerating, but never before had a medical team (Dr. Hopkins, his medical colleagues, and his staff) made me feel as if the quality of my life really mattered.

I wish there was something I could do to thank Dr. Hopkins for his outstanding clinical care, and all he did so I could have a higher quality of life. I want to commend his work so he gets a proper acknowledgment, but I haven’t found the way yet.

It has been only two and a half months since my operation, and for the first time in many years, I catch myself making plans for my life again. Every time I do that, I thank Dr. Hopkins and pray God grant him a long and happy life. He deserves it! I know many of you reading this will know what I mean.

Alina Hernandez

Una calificación the 5 estrellas sólo comienza a describir el trabajo del Dr. Thomas Hopkins como cirujano y ser humano. Si Usted está contemplando tener una operación de la columna dorsal, le exhorto a que le dé gracias a Dios o a sus estrellas por el milagro de tenerlo como médico. Yo tuve que tener tres cirugías de la columna antes de conocerle. Y estoy segura que si él hubiese sido mi primer cirujano quizás no hubiese necesitado las otras, aún a pesar del accidente que me llevó a su consultorio.

El Dr. Hopkins es extraordinario en todos los aspectos y creo que personifica las cualidades más importantes –y poco communes– del cuidado clínico: (1) tiene talento y vocación para este trabajo, (2) tiene experiencia haciendo estas operaciones y (3) (quizás la más importante de todas) tiene un interés genuino en traerle alivio a los que llegan ante él sufriendo.

Este conjunto de cualidades que posee el Dr. Hopkins desafortunadamente no estaban presentes en los cirujanos que me habían operado anteriormente. Y mi columna (sobre todo la sección lumbar) cuando un auto le pegó al mío por detrás no pudo soportar el golpe y terminó terriblemente mal. Dada mi experiencia con otros médicos, mis expectativas no eran muy buenas cuando fuí a ver al Dr. Hopkins. Pero desde el primer momento en que él empezó a reconocerme, sin siquiera ver las radiografías y resultados anteriores, yo supe que el milagro que había estado pidiendo quizás se iba a realizar. Tal vez piense que estoy exagerando, pero nunca antes, en más de veinte años sufriendo de dolores de espalda tuve la atención que me dieron todos los del equipo de este gran médico. Desde sus asistentes de consulta (Janet y Alison) hasta todos los demás cirujanos que él buscó para mi operación (4 en total) me trataron como si restaurarme la calidad de vida de verdad les importara. Y yo sé que muchos de los que están leyendo esto saben a lo que me estoy refiriendo, sentir la necesidad de querer ser alguien importante, como un artista o atleta famoso para que un cirujano le trate a uno con toda la atención y maestría que su condición médica requiere. ¡Qué increíble sentir que así, precisamente, fuí tratada por el equipo del Dr. Hopkins, como alguien verdaderamente importante!

Han hecho sólamente dos meses y medio desde mi operación y me siento como no me he sentido en años. Todos a mi alrededor se maravillan de mi progreso. Por primera vez en mucho tiempo tengo esperanzas de vivir, de viajar y de ser productiva nuevamente en mi profesión (Psicología).
Quisiera que hubiera algo especial que pudiera hacer para expresarle la gracias al Dr. Hopkins por su extraordinario trabajo en mi espalda que me ha devuelto las ansias de vivir, pero todavía no lo he encontrado. Si sabe de alguna medalla o reconocimiento al que se pudiera someter su nombre, hágamelo saber, por favor, porque nadie lo ameritaría más. Y si le puedo servir respondiendo alguna pregunta sobre qué esperar cuando se opere o alguna otra preocupación, tenga la confianza de contactarme en mi correo eletrónico: [email protected].