Chicago, IL,
19:28 PM

Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulator Therapy Provides Relief for Local Gunshot Patient in Significant, Chronic Pain

Pain no longer controls patient's everyday life.

On July 4, 2022, Liz Turnipseed of Highland Park, was ready to enjoy the holiday with her family and watch her well-known community’s holiday parade. However, that came to a crashing halt when gunshots were fired. She was hit, and her life changed forever.

Despite suffering gunshot wounds in her leg and pelvis, right after it happened, she was still conscious and able to make sure her daughter was taken to safety, while lying on the street till first responders were able to care for her. She was then immediately taken by ambulance to Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, and spent several nights there undergoing tests and gunshot wound injury assessments.

While the tests revealed there were not organs or bones that were directly hit, she had significant nerve and tissue damage from the trauma. She suffered from a more than 14 cm wound in the back of her leg that went all the way through, requiring months of intense recovery and therapy.  In addition, she had shrapnel in her body which affected the ability to target specific nerves due to lack of MRI imaging. (MRI’s aren’t possible when shrapnel metals are lodged in the body).

 Turnipseed was in and out of the hospital for months for wound care, but found herself in continual, significant pain. After several months of enduring this pain from her injury, she was told to see Jason Ross, MD, anesthesiology and pain management at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, to discuss potential treatments to help alleviate her pain. After trying a number of injections and medications that offered her mild, short-term relief, it wasn’t enough to make a significant improvement and affected her day-to-day life.

 “I was in constant pain. And if I had to do something that would require walking or moving, I knew that I would have to pay the price the following day or two,” explained Turnipseed. “It was a terrible way to live—the pain controlled my everyday life, and as a mom to a young daughter, it not only took a physical toll on me, but it was a constant mental issue for me as well.”

DRG is a neuromodulation that is similar in concept to spinal cord stimulation, but the difference is that the dorsal root ganglion is targeted. Traditional spinal cord stimulation has been around 60 years, and while it helps many, it’s not always effective for certain focal pain points, pelvic pain and foot pain. DRG is a newer treatment that has helped to fill that void.

After the procedure, Turnipseed felt immediate relief, and was in tears of joy instead of pain, and has noticed a huge improvement in her pain levels. She can walk longer distances and has more energy to care for her child.

“When I first met Liz, she could barely stand and had to use a cane for walking. Now, she is standing and walking without a cane, nearly pain free. It’s incredible to see,” said Ross.

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