How ER Doctors Helped Her Discover Degenerative Spine Disease

Leila Grumbley, a 64 year-old woman and Bay City resident, had a raging pain in her right hip and lower back that persisted for over a week. The discomfort led to her taking time away from work, unable to bear weight or walk for periods in her duties as a licensed practical nurse in Bay City, where she has been for nearly 40 years.

A frustrating visit to another care facility left her without answers. “I went into a different ER a week earlier, and they didn’t even perform any tests or X-rays,” she said. “It was so frustrating, and I was still in such pain.”

On the evening of March 23, she took a trip to the McLaren Bay Region emergency department, limping into the lobby. “I could barely walk – I was in tears when I came in. I still remember it so vividly – when they took me to the triage, my blood pressure was 173/117. It was alarming because my blood pressure never runs that high. They could tell I was in real agony.”

Upon arriving, Leila was seen and immediately evaluated by ER staff and Dr. Jeffrey Ozan. They administered medication to bring down her blood pressure and went to work to thoroughly examine her hip and back, diagnosing the source of her pain. After a quick assessment, Dr. Ozan ordered a CAT scan and diagnosed Leila with lumbar stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal.

“I was so impressed with Dr. Ozan,” Leila said. “He did an outstanding job. He was so efficient – he did a quick assessment and knew right away what it was and what to do.”

After being discharged, Leila was able to set up an appointment with internal medicine physician Dr. Lakshmi Arekapudi. After consulting with her at the Bay Area Health Clinic, Leila and Dr. Arekapudi were able to discover a bulging disc and degenerative spinal disease that had been at the root of her pain. She plans to see a neurosurgeon this month in hopes of getting back to working full-time.

“Without that CAT scan, I would have never known what was wrong,” she said. “I had no idea what it was before, just that it hurt. Everyone here was right on top of it. I had a great experience in the emergency room – I was totally satisfied with how fast they were able to see me and how kind everyone was when I was here.”