Anonymous on RateMDs
8 years ago
01/04/2015, 10:46 AM
If Dr. Wolford tells you you need a surgery, and someone else says you don't - you'd better be awfully sure before deciding something is unnecessary. We had a dozen other well-qualified doctors miss our son's growing bone tumor. Dr. Wolford spotted it immediately. The pathology report now sitting on my desk is very real.
My son had an osteochondroma (bone tumor) growing in the tip of his left jaw. As it grew, it pushed his lower jaw out and to the right, taking his upper jaw with it after a while. He had less than 10% functional biting surface, and his airway was nearly completely obstructed. It was clear for some time that his jaw was growing out of alignment, but 4 oral surgeons, 5 orthodontists and a number of dentists failed to figure out why. They all agreed he needed surgery, but just chalked the growth up to unusual development.
Finally, one of the other prominent oral surgeons told us that the surgery was so complicated and intricate, that there was only one Dr. we should consider - Dr. Wolford. The oral surgeon said that if it were his son, that's who he would see, so we made an appointment with Dr. Wolford. He found the tumor on the first consultation, and we began the year-long process of preparing for an incredibly difficult double jaw and airway reconstructive surgery. That 9-hour surgery was successfully completed last week - two days before Christmas.
Dr. Wolford saved my son's jaws. Any other surgeon we had seen would have ignored his growing tumor (since they didn't see it) and whatever they had done would have been useless at best, and entirely destructive at worst. In 9 hours on the table, Dr. Wolford literally rebuilt his entire face. His teeth will now function properly, and he can breathe. He has already (within 10 days) regained almost complete feeling in his entire face and mouth - that is almost unheard of for this type of surgery. He is already, at this point, almost completely pain free.
Let me repeat - a DOZEN other prominent Dallas doctors missed the tumor Dr. Wolford found the first time he looked at my son's scan. Even more than his diagnostic skill, however, is the stunning level of care we have had. He is a tremendously gifted surgeon - world renowned, and a pioneer of many of the tools, techniques and materials used by the leading edge orthognathic surgeons. He is a clinical professor at Baylor, and he has quite literally written the book for his field. In his office, you will always find other patients coming from all over the world - people regularly travel great distances for his care. He is also well known for fixing other surgeons' disasters.
He has decided not to contract into any insurance company networks, as more and more top tier medical practitioners have also done. *HE* decides what his patients need, not the insurance company, and we are *eternally* thankful for that - our insurance company (Blue Cross PPO) actually denied our earlier authorization for the surgery - because our son had just passed his 19th birthday. (An Obamacare coverage limitation on orthognathic surgery.) Had we 'trusted' the insurance company, my son would still have a tumor growing in his jaw.
Not being part of the big-brother insurance decision machine comes with a price, of course - the patient ends up paying what the insurance won't. For us, I would have sold my house if I needed to. Surgery is expensive - a 9 hour surgery by a world class surgeon is expensive. Saving my son's jaw was worth every dime.
Dr. Wolford is extraordinarily dedicated to his patients. Today is New Year's day - he called us at 8 pm this evening (he is still at the office) to check on things, even though he saw my son yesterday, and will see him again tomorrow. He is in his office until late at night every night, 7 days a week, even though he often starts his day in surgery before dawn. He is ALWAYS calm, reassuring, gentle, confident and caring. He is extremely particular about the care his patients receive in the hospital, and afterwards. He chooses his nurses, his assistant surgeons and his anesthesiologists personally, and works every bit as hard as any of them. My son's surgery was done two days before Christmas, and Dr. Wolford was working straight through the whole time.
I deeply appreciate the other prominent oral surgeon in Dallas that referred us to Dr. Wolford, and I will be forever grateful to Dr. Wolford for the rest. Dr. Wolford is meticulous, dedicated and thoughtful. He commands great respect from the rest of the Baylor environment and the wider oral surgery community. He is a brilliant surgeon, but more than that, he is just a lovely human being.