Lister Coleman

grip1300Lister Coleman is a professional grip for television and motion pictures, a very physically demanding job. He’s on his feet 10-12 hours a day lifting and moving heavy equipment across stages. He describes his work as “extremely intense,” and says he has Dr. Hopkins to thank for the fact that, at age 52, after two spinal surgeries, he is still able to do the job he loves, enjoy his two daughters, and pursue his passion as a musician.

Lister was working on the set of the television series “24” when he had an unexpected injury. “I had a very large set wall fall on me. It was probably 15 feet high and 10 feet wide,” said Lister. After visiting his primary care doctor, he was referred to Dr. Hopkins. He had heard many horror stories about back surgery and was very nervous. Although Dr. Hopkins explained the danger of postponing surgery, Lister elected to not have the surgery done immediately. His back pain became so intense over time that, “at the end of each day I was doubled over. I was in so much pain all the time.” One day, while talking to a couple of prop makers on set, they both mentioned they’d had spinal surgery. Dr. Hopkins was also their doctor and they said he was “amazing.” Lister finally decided to have his surgery.

Lister was treated surgically for a herniated disc. “I noticed a difference immediately when I woke up after my first surgery. I could tell that it was so much better, and they actually had me walking the next day! It was pretty amazing.” Lister said deciding to have spine surgery was a “tough choice,” but Dr. Hopkins made it so much easier because he took the time to explain everything to him.

A few years later, Lister suffered from another incident at work. “I walked into a structural beam in the bottom of a building, and I got knocked out for a short amount of time.” He went to the doctor where they X-rayed his neck and head. They said everything was fine. However, a week or two after that, he said, “I started getting this buzzing in my fingers, like I had an electric shock going through my hands.” Lister had a follow up appointment with Dr. Hopkins from his previous surgery and told him about this. He immediately had Lister X-rayed again. They found two levels of large cervical disc herniations with spinal cord compression. Dr. Hopkins highly recommended surgery, and said that Lister could be paralyzed if he waited. This time, Lister did not wait.

Through both healing processes, Lister said that Dr. Hopkins was very helpful. “He doesn’t do a surgery and then forget about you.” Lister thinks he is lucky to still be able to work. “Dr. Hopkins is phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s amazing, totally amazing. I would not let anybody else work on my back, and I really feel like he saved my life.”