2018 for the Hunter Pain Clinic
20th December 2018
By Hunter Pain Clinic
It’s been a very busy 12 months for our clinic. The year kicked off with Dr Marc Russo attending the NANS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Expanding Our Minds”, which very much set the theme for Hunter Pain Clinic for the months to follow.
Outside of our clinic, there were many upheavals in the medical space, though none quite as significant as codeine becoming a prescription only medication. This up-scheduling of codeine medications brought with it an excessive amount of media attention and public outcry. Many patients were unsure of what they would now do to manage their acute pain. In order to help ease patient woes, we put together a short article on the alternatives, which can be read here. However, since the initial shock, the flurry around the change has died down, and we are glad to see that patients have adjusted to the change as well as can be expected.
During April, Dr Russo implanted Australia’s first Intellis device. The Intellis is the world's smallest spinal cord stimulator system. It is rechargeable, battery-operated device used to treat chronic, refractory back pain, particularly in those that have had previous back surgery but are still experiencing pain. Both our patient and Dr Russo were interviewed by Channel 9 News – the interview can be seen here.
We mentioned earlier that the theme of the year was “Expanding Our Minds” and we had the pleasure to do just this at the NSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting in April. During this month, Dr Willem Volschenk was recognized as the top implanting physician in the world for the ReActiv8 clinical trial – a study involving a new kind of implantable device designed to relieve chronic low back pain by restoring muscle stability.
Over the next few months, Dr Russo had the distinct pleasure of presenting at the RACS Annual Scientific Congress on CRPS and “Neuromodulation in the Virgin Spine”, as well as at the FPM consultative forum on opioids and chronic pain. He also attended the INS Interim Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, where he presented on “Spinal Cord Stimulation for CRPS”.
October was an exciting month, with the publication of a long anticipated paper proposing “A New Hypothesis for the Pathophysiology of CRPS”.
Not to be forgotten was Dr Russo’s interview with ABC News on the proposed private health insurance changes for chronic pain treatment. Under the proposed changes, many patients would no longer receive the adequate coverage for their treatments, which could potentially see numerous people going without treatment, or facing long waiting times in public hospitals, as they may no longer be able to afford their on-going medical care.
Our team grew in the second half of the year with the appointment of Ashlee, our new pain management nurse, and the arrival of Dr Mazyar Danesh, who is completing his practice development year in pain medicine with us.
During November, we showed our support for CRPS Awareness Day by wearing orange and decorating the office. We also celebrated another successful accreditation review by the FPM, who granted Hunter Pain Clinic with tier 2 training status and recommended us for tier 1 status.
We thank you for being a part of the Hunter Pain Clinic journey throughout 2018 and look forward to supporting you with your ongoing treatments in 2019. Our office will close on Friday 21 December 2018 and reopen on Monday 7 January 2019. In the meantime, if you have an enquiry, click here and one of our staff members will respond to you as soon as possible.