Brain man

Depending on whom you ask, Fletcher-based neurosurgeon Michael J. Rosner is either a skull-shaving savior or a shameless opportunist who’s needlessly operating on patients desperate for a cure.

Dr. Michael J. Rosner has operated on hundreds of patients to remove bits of bone at the base of the skull and along the spinal cord — a surgery that remains controversial. The North Carolina Medical Board suspended Rosner’s license in 2002. Two years later, the board approved a restricted license for Rosner, who continues to perform surgeries at Park Ridge Hospital in Fletcher. A number of his patients who complained of a variety of neurological symptoms say Rosner dramatically improved their lives, while others have sued him, alleging that he performed unnecessary surgeries. Photo By Jason Sandford

For about a decade, Rosner’s work has gone in a direction pursued by only a handful of neurosurgeons in the United States: snipping away bits of the spine and the back of the skull to treat neurological conditions found in patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.

Rosner’s work caught the attention of the North Carolina Medical Board, which summarily suspended his medical license in 2002, concluding that he’d performed eight unnecessary surgeries on patients. Brian Blankenship, the board’s attorney, said the agency, which is charged with looking after patients’ welfare, found that Rosner’s surgeries were “deviating from the accepted and prevailing standard of care.”

“If you look at the board’s actions, they’re very case-specific and very fact-specific,” said Blankenship. Summary suspensions are rare—the medical board issued four in 2007 and three in 2006.

Rosner wasn’t allowed to reapply for his license for six months, and when he did, his application was denied. Rosner appealed. Following a June 2004 hearing, the medical board did reinstate his license—but with certain conditions.

As for Rosner’s patients, some have reported improvement that’s little short of miraculous; others say the treatment made only a minor difference, and still others report worsening conditions. But Rosner has also been sued at least 48 times in the past six years by people alleging unnecessary surgery. Fifteen of those suits have been dismissed, he says, and eight more have been withdrawn. According to Henderson County court records, however, 32 lawsuits against Rosner remain unresolved.

Rosner maintains that over his entire career, only one malpractice claim has been paid on his behalf: a $50,000 settlement in 1987 for operating on the wrong level of a patient’s back. Rosner also contends that the medical board’s actions may actually have encouraged some suits. Four months after the suspension of his license, he notes, a single law firm filed eight cases.

A confident man with a salt-and-pepper goatee, Rosner seems unbowed by the controversy that continues to dog him. He’s still seeing patients, most of whom are referred to him either by other doctors who believe in his work, or by passionate supporters who network via the Internet.

In Rosner’s eyes, the real question is how long it will take to change what he believes is faulty science.

“It’s a long process to change anything in the world … and the same is true in medicine, particularly with the egos and intellect involved,” he observes. “Because if you believe something and you’ve got an IQ of 140, that’s a difficult process to unlodge, because you’ve got all your intellect behind maintaining what you believe in.”

A minority view

Rosner and other proponents of the surgery believe that many of the patients they see suffer from one of two conditions: a skull that’s too small for the brain, or a compressed spinal column. Sometimes they have both.

In medical terminology, “hypoplastic posterior fossa,” also known as a “Chiari I malformation,” essentially means that the back of the skull and upper spinal column are too small to contain the lower part of the brain and the upper spinal cord. This condition has long been known to cause some neurological difficulties—such as tremors, sleep apnea, headaches and poor coordination—in some sufferers.

Rosner wants to be clear: He’s not operating to treat fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue. Rather, he’s using surgery to correct what he calls a “neurological deficit” in his patients. He also emphasizes some fundamental differences in the way he examines patients and determines a course of treatment.

In his small office next to Park Ridge Hospital in Fletcher, Rosner says he sees two to four new patients a week and generally performs surgery at the hospital one day a week. Patients come to him from across the country, often after wrestling with their medical problems for years.

“I spend a great deal of time with my patients,” Rosner explains. “We schedule one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours for new-patient evaluations, and I do it myself, so we have very accurate, very detailed examinations.”

Most neurosurgeons spend just half an hour with a new patient, he says. “The [insurance] reimbursement is such that using your brain and really delving into a history and taking the time with a patient and listening to what they’re saying is not financially feasible for most practices.”

Rosner’s way of making diagnoses also represents a departure from standard medical practice. The neurosurgeon began his career working on cases involving cerebral vascular disease, head injury and intracranial pressure. Noticing that people with head injuries often also had spinal-cord abnormalities, he says he began to look at patient X-rays and MRIs in a new light. Rosner concluded that patients could be helped by surgery even if the back part of the brain wasn’t pushed as far out of the skull as is typically deemed necessary to justify the surgery. He also began looking for signs of compression farther down the spinal column than is typically done.

In a June 2004 hearing before the board, Rosner offered the expert testimony of Dr. Peter Jannetta, a prominent Pennsylvania-based neurosurgeon. Janetta testified: “The prevailing diagnostic criteria for this condition [a too-small skull] are inadequate. The majority view among neurosurgeons regarding the diagnosis of a Chiari I malformation is that a certain portion of the brain, known as the cerebellar tonsils, must descend through the hole in the skull through which the spinal cord passes (known as the foramen magnum) by a measurable amount—usually 3 to 5 millimeters—somewhat dependent on the patient’s age. The view held by a minority of neurosurgeons is that no descent of cerebellar tonsils is necessary to support an operable diagnosis, so long as radiographic studies demonstrate abnormalities arising from crowding of the structures of the hindbrain. Dr. Rosner subscribes to the minority view.”

After the hearing, the board restored Rosner’s medical license, noting that neurosurgeons had begun discussing the issue and articles had started appearing in the neurological literature debating the issue. The agency also acknowleged the testimony of Rosner’s expert witness and colleagues, who called him “a careful, thoughtful, deliberate, knowledgeable physician [who] exhibits professionalism and has made contributions to his specialty and to his medical community.” The board emphasized, however, that it wasn’t drawing any conclusions concerning which view is correct.

Dramatic improvement

Some credit Rosner with dramatically improving their lives. Allen Shelton, 35, who lives in Madison County’s Laurel Valley, says the neurosurgeon removed sections of bone from his spine and a 2-inch-by-3-inch chunk of his skull after he began suffering from fatigue, chest pains and seizures. “I had no control over my body,” says Shelton, adding that he’s seen significant improvement. “I’m not 100 percent—but hey, man, I’m way better than I was.” Of Rosner, Shelton says, “God give him a gift, and he’s using it.”

Rosner’s patients often arrive bearing stacks of X-rays and stories of extended suffering along with their diagnoses. Many, but not all, have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome, conditions marked by pain, depression and muscle failure. And in many cases, the neurosurgeon concludes that the appropriate treatment involves shaving the back of the skull or spinal cord to “decompress” the soft tissue in those passageways.

Gori Anna Lipsey, 35, says she suffered pain for years before seeing Rosner. “I had been told it was all in my head. You could touch me and I felt like I’d been punched; you just can’t imagine the pain. I’ve had a child, and it’s worse than labor pains,” says Lipsey, an 11th-grade English teacher in Spartanburg, S.C.

Diagnosed with fibromyalgia, Lipsey says she tried acupuncture and other therapies, but nothing helped. Two years ago, she was referred to Rosner. It took her a year to decide to go forward with the surgery, but eventually, ” it got so bad that I didn’t really have any options.”

After Rosner operated on Lipsey’s spine and the back of her skull, she says, “I woke up with an extremely bad headache, but I was ready to get up and go walk,” adding that she’s seen marked improvement.

Helen Hudgins, a 43-year-old automotive-service consultant for Hunter Chevrolet in Hendersonville, also reports dramatic improvement following surgeries by Rosner. After suffering a stroke in 2006, Hudgins says she had headaches, lost her peripheral vision and was taking medication to control her blood pressure.

“I believe in prayer, and I prayed, ‘Good Lord, help me. Find me somebody who doesn’t treat me like an experiment,’” she recalls.

Post-surgery, Hudgins says she’s significantly cut back on her prescription drugs, and her vision and balance have improved.

Asheville-based clinical psychologist Paul Fleischer counsels Rosner’s patients before surgery. Many, he says, come to him having run out of medical options. As for the controversy surrounding Rosner, Fleischer says, “The pioneers are the ones that get the arrows in the back.”

Dozens of lawsuits

Other former patients tell a radically different tale. Dozens have filed lawsuits against Rosner.

On Aug. 6, 2004, Janice Lasko of Greenville, Tenn., filed a lawsuit in Henderson County Superior Court. According to the suit, Lasko had been referred to Rosner several years earlier with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Rosner operated on Lasko on Aug. 8, 2001; she was discharged four days later. In a series of follow-up visits, Lasko complained of continuing pain and difficulties—some of which she believes were caused by the surgery.

During a December 2001 visit, the court papers state, “Plaintiff reported that her neck pain was somewhat worse and constant, extending down to and through her lower back; she [sic] arms and legs felt weak; and her tinnitus and hyperacusis remained constant. Dr. Rosner noted that Plaintiff had significant weakness in her right triceps, interossei, quadriceps, iliopsoas and hamstring muscles, with transient weakness in the majority of other muscle groups. He noted abnormalities in her gait and that Plaintiff’s toes were externally rotated. Despite these findings, Dr. Rosner recorded that Plaintiff’s neurological exam was significantly improved.”

Lasko maintains that Rosner’s surgery was unnecessary and that she was permanently injured by it. Four years later, the suit is still pending.

Wade Byrd, a Fayetteville attorney representing about a dozen people who are suing Rosner, says his experts maintain that Rosner misinterprets X-rays and performs unnecessary surgeries. “These are people that, in my words, he preys upon and gets them to consent to this radical surgery.”

Byrd goes on to say that his cases target not just Rosner but also Park Ridge Hospital, where Rosner operates on Tuesdays. Byrd claims the 100-bed hospital “is just after money,” noting that Rosner is the only neurosurgeon on staff.

In a written response, Bruce Bergherm, the hospital’s vice president for business development, said: “Dr. Rosner has a license to practice, and he is following the guidelines of the state medical board. As long as he follows those guidelines, he is permitted to practice at our hospital.”

A lose/lose situation?

When the medical board restored Rosner’s license, it stipulated two conditions. The first is that any patient Rosner plans to operate on for hypoplastic posterior fossa must seek a second opinion on the need for surgery from another North Carolina-licensed neurosurgeon whom the board must approve. The second condition is that Rosner’s surgery must be included in a formal research project under the oversight of an institutional review board.

The requirement for a second opinion has been difficult to satisfy, says Rosner. He calls it a “lose/lose situation” for the other doctor, who must take time out of a busy schedule to evaluate a patient who’ll probably wind up returning to Rosner. Patients, he says, have reported having a hard time securing a second opinion. According to Rosner, there are only about a half-dozen approved neurosurgeons in the state who are willing to provide second opinions for the surgery he performs.

As for the research project, Rosner says he’d been planning one anyway and is happy to comply.

Since his license was reinstated, Rosner says he’s performed the surgery on 62 patients. Of those, 18 reported complete or near complete resolution of their chief complaint, he says, while 13 reported “significant improvement” and 31 reported improvement. None reported a worsening of their chief complaint, says Rosner.

Before the surgery, 55 of those patients were taking drugs to treat their symptoms, he says, and 26 of them subsequently reported going off the drugs entirely. Fourteen said they now use prescription drugs occasionally, and 15 said they still use drugs regularly but in lesser amounts.

A huge amount of human suffering

On May 27, however, yet another complaint was filed in connection with an August 2006 operation on a patient complaining of hip, back and neck pain. Rosner diagnosed a too-narrow spinal canal and possible hypoplastic posterior fossa. He’s now preparing for a hearing before the medical board next month to answer this complaint.

Meanwhile, Rosner says he’s begun videotaping some patients before and after surgery to demonstrate the benefits of the treatment. Because of substantial discrepancies between Rosner’s conclusions after examining some patients and the second opinions provided in those cases, Rosner says he wants to document the legitimacy of his findings.

One video, he says, shows a patient going “from drugged-up zombie to productive citizen. We’ve given the board a number of those—how they act on it or how it affects their opinion, I don’t know.”

Rosner also emphasizes that under state law, the medical board “shall not take somebody’s license away just because they’re different—and that includes being different at a professional level. That doesn’t mean being unprofessional: That means being different at a professional level.

“So if my opinion [is that] this is the best way to handle it, and that’s what I do, and the other nine guys out there say, ‘No, that’s not right,’ and I’m getting OK results, then they can’t take my license,” he asserts.

Blankenship, the medical board’s attorney, concurs—but he also emphasizes that the board is empowered to take action when a physician deviates from the commonly accepted proper treatment.

Another wrinkle is that Rosner is not board-certified in his specialty, having lost that certification when the medical board suspended his license. Although it’s not legally required, board certification—which involves a peer-review process—is widely regarded as a sign of quality assurance. But Rosner says he can’t be recertified until the state board removes the restrictions on his medical license.

Asked why he perseveres despite all this, Rosner pauses a moment. Then he says it’s because “there’s a huge amount of human suffering here” on the part of people whom he believes he’s helping.

In its standard wording of notices of allegations, however, the board had this to say concerning the May complaint:

“By performing in surgery on Patient A as described above, Dr. Rosner engaged in unprofessional conduct, including, but not limited to, departure from, or the failure to conform to, the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice, or the ethics of the medical profession” as defined by state law—which is grounds for the board to take action, such as another license suspension.

To which Rosner has this response: “In medieval times, we burned people at the stake for different ideas. Now we simply strip them of their professional reputation.” =

 

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43 thoughts on “Brain man

  1. sherry hoffman

    I was the zombie ,not drugged but just couldnt function .before the surgery i could hardley walk hardley talk .before i went to dr rosner i had been dignosed as having anything from complexed miagrains to TMIs .i stayed in bed 90 % of the time cause i was so weak i couldnt do anything by myself .i had the surgery april 1 and wed april 2 i was actually walking without my cane i could feel my legs and hands ,i wasnt leaning now 4 months later im a new person .im glad i met dr rosner hes my hero i know he isnt god i still have chiari1 but now im almost back to being a normal 37 year old woman

  2. Jerry Hughes aka keggler

    I’am a pt and had surgery in 2007 for HPF,and am doing very well thank you.I was on watch with a major university hosp in NC for 5 years, told my toncels were extended 5-7mm,and COULD NOT be causing my problems,it was all in my head.
    After a real eval,by a true spec,I was Dx with CM1,Basilar Impresson,Brain stem compEDS I now have my life back,and can only say,thank God,and thank you—–Dr Rosner

  3. Janice Rucker

    I can’t believe that individuals are taking such action, when it is known that there is no cure for Chiari Malformation. The surgery is performed as a possible way to slow the progression of symptoms. Some may have significant relief, while others may have minimal relief. This information is known prior to surgery.

    If Dr. Rosner has been given such drastic legal action, what about the other institutions that subscribe to the exact medical practice/standards, across the world, as Dr. Rosner. The Chiari Institutes main practice is based on this type of surgery. Why is Dr. Rosner being singled out? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. Lexie Smith

    The above article states “the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice” in the allegations against Dr. Rosner. I suffer from EDS, craniocervical instability and a huge bowl of alphabet soup acronyms. I have a medical record that I carry with me that is several inches thick.
    “Prevailing medical practice” apparently includes nothing more than a 1 minute disertation on why they do not need to be my doctor, when I do seek help. Most new doctors are too terrified to get near me. I have never met Dr. Rosner but I do know, first hand, that the current standards of practice, for most doctors, are to dismiss anything that is overwhelming to them. I know the everwhelmed feeling well, I live it everyday.
    Physicians need to remember that their patients are humane beings and we are all children of the same God. I am blessed with some wonderful doctors but I have also known the indignity of being treated like a drug seeking idiot too. The reality of our situation is that we have usually been dismissed over and over again by the medical profession and anyone who really cares is a refreshing change.
    I have no knowledge of how “right” Dr. Rosner is but I know for sure that the “prevailing standards of practice” are so very WRONG!

  5. Cindy Goodyear

    I too have Chiari I Malformation. I went to The Chiari Institute and had the same “skull shaving” surgery as Dr. Rosner so bravely performs, and it has changed my life.
    All patients are informed before surgery that this is NOT a cure.. and results do vary. Its a little scary that Dr. Rosner’s license can be revoked by improving a diagnosis. I am sure if the board would get information from the patients who have had positive results, they might rethink the entire “standards of acceptable practice” regarding Chiari surgery.

  6. Amy Jones

    I agree with the “witch hunt” theory. Unfortuneately for Dr. Rosner I believe the reason they are going after him is because he is a little fish in a big sea, so to speak. I don’t think any law firm/attorney in their right mind would ever be crazy enough to take on TCI. This is what they specialize in, they know more about it than anyone in the world, treat “people” from all over the world, and have more than enough medical evidence to back up what they do. Like I said, Dr. Rosner is an easier target, but I don’t think that makes him less capable. I also know from reading his patients posts online that he has recommended some of his patients go to TCI if he has felt their issues were more complicated than what he normally treats. Why would he do this if is just out to make a “quick buck?”
    I live in NC but have chosen TCI for treatment,not because I do not support Dr. Rosner, but because my family (who lives in PA) has received treatment at TCI for 10 years now and because we all have EDS (TCI discovered the link between EDS and Chiari, etc…). EDS can complicate things and my Geneticist (Dr. Clair Francomano, a leading expert on EDS) recommended TCI. If I was dealing soley with Chiari and not a hereditary connective tissue disorder I would not hesitate to go to Dr. Rosner. TCI, Dr. Rosner, etc… they should be given awards for their committment to medicine and their efforts to improve the quality of their patients lives. If everyone could live the life of a chiarian for one day this tune would change drastically.

  7. Nikki Greig

    It’s a shame that Dr. Rosner has to be portrayed in such a negative light by the NC medical board. Dr. Rosner just gave me my life back 9 weeks ago after he decompressed my 20 mm herniation. I had been to one of the top Neurosurgeons in the country in Texas, who ignored my huge herniation and symptoms for over 5 years. I went through years of needless suffering and went on to have more opinions from around the country. Dr. Rosner was the first and only doctor who did a very extensive exam and discovered things that no other doctor bothered to find. He spent over 3 hours with me and my family on my first appt. and when I left his office, I knew he was the one. I did a huge amount of research before coming to this decision and now, 9 weeks later, I am a new person. There is a very high surgical failure rate among chiari patients and it’s because so many doctors are not willing to look at different view points. There are so many people with chiari malformation who suffer in silence every day. Dr. Rosner is the most compassionate, understanding, and brilliant doctors that I have ever met. He should be held up in the most positive light to any medical board. I can only hope and pray that someday, the medical board will see what a huge mistake they made by going on this “witch hunt” with Dr. Rosner. My entire family will be indebted to him forever.

  8. Elizabeth

    I have not seen Dr. Rosner for my Chiari but have seen other life-saving experts. I had my surgery in 2004. It is not a miracle cure and the good docs will tell you that.

    But I’ve been told in my not so small city of Austin, TX that these doctors are quacks. If people only knew how I’ve been treated here locally, they would cringe. To be sick and then degraded at every turn is exhausting and many give up. If I were a lawsuit kinda gal…I’d have a very very good chance with how I’ve been treated. Other well-meaning neuro docs have looked up Chiari in their medical dictionaries and told me they were the source of my headaches, when in fact it is the source of about 100 symptoms (at least pre-surgery). They also often come with co-conditions or cause serious conditions that can paralyze or kill you. This isn’t just a little pain we are talking about here.

    The SAD and true fact is that most of us with Chiari have a very long journey to dianosis and have been told we have Chronic Fatigue, Fibro, Lupus, MS and every other diangosis in the book. The restare dismissed as depressed or as drug seekers. I find it very sad that Dr. Rosner has come under such fire. It makes it more difficult for those of us that desperately need help, our bodies are betraying us and no one will help, and when there is controversy we have a harder time getting SS Disability, insurance, and general respect in the medical community, families, and commuities.

    I urge our Chiari community to get the press out there that Chiari is not a made-up hocus pocus rip off by con artist doctors. My docs don’t take insurance and I don’t think they even get paid all that well. They work 14 hour days, EASY. They care more than any doc I’ve ever seen…and that has been many (!) to try to find out what the heck was wrong! My Chiari is congenital, and has so far affected 4 generations of my family.

    My daughter had Chiari, and at 18, she felt different and broken. This was in part brought on by the comments that were made to her by her family (not my side), friends and some docs. She was consequently murdered by an ex-boyfriend. Now, I’m not claiming straight cause and effect here, but I am saying the treatment we get GREATLY affects our self-worth. My daughter said no one else would take her the way she was…so she dated a boy that was not emotionally sound. No matter what I did to try to get help for her in all ways possible, I ran into a wall. But that is another story!

    I guess I just want to express how important it is that we find docs that respect and believe what we have to say about our own bodies. And I challenge the medical community to be open to learning from patients as well as us learning from them. The paternalist traditions should end in medicine and we should be able to collaborate with our doctors, not be beat down by them.

    Kudos to Dr. Rosner for leading the way and making my life possible…I only wish that change had come in time for my daughter, Jennifer.

  9. Rachel Sell

    This article is very frustrating for those of us who deal with this INCURABLE disease! We have been striving to get some understanding and these articles are exactly why we are not getting the understanding and support we need.

    Chiari Malformation is a real disease. The surgery isn’t a cure, but it is a MAJOR chance to have a better quality of life. Every surgeon admits it isn’t a cure, that there is a chance you may not get better and a small chance you could end up worse off. Most of us are in such pain everyday that we choose surgery. I am one of the many who have had a successful surgery.

    I do not see Dr. Rosner, but many of my friends have and think he is a great surgeon. He has done a lot for people with Chiari. He certainly is doing more for Chiarians than most doctors who don’t have a clue what it is and lie to our faces about it rather than admit they don’t know what it is. Many of us have been feed lies from the medical community. If you want to go after doctors, why don’t you go after the ones who lie or refuse to do their research when their patients are diagnosed with Chiari? Because of those kinds of doctors, many chiarians will live a pain filled life as they were misdiagnosed too long to be helped when they needed it.

    We need more doctors like Dr. Rosner. At least someone out there is willing to put his reputation at risk to help those of us who really need it. In my eyes, that makes him a hero.

    CHIARI IS A REAL DISEASE, THE SURGERY IS NECESSARY FOR MANY OF US!!!!!! Only people who have this disease will understand this… not anyone who writes these articles, hospital board members or others who want to make assumptions about something they can’t even comprehend. But for thoses of us who live with chiari, we know the truth!

  10. jane mott

    Chiari is gaining more and more attention and understanding as MRIs are more commonly used to investigate pain and other neurological problems. I for one am so grateful that the doctors that I have seen in the last few years have an understanding of Chiari and all the different symptoms that can be manifested by this problem. To be dismissed by a physician because they don’t understand what is going on is really a blow when you really need help. I hope that the writer of this story will do a little investigation into the facts of Chiari. Because my doctors of the past could not find a reason for my symptoms that mimiced Carpal Tunnel syndrome they dismissed me and said there was nothing they could do. Because the pressure on the brain stem was there for so long the damage is permanent. The more recent symptoms, however are gone since my decompression surgery. There is far too much information to discuss in this forum but I thank God for doctors that have the confidence and foresight to do what they truly believe to be the best for their patients.

  11. Joleen Baughman

    I personally do not know Dr.Rosner, but I do know there are just a handful of doctors who know how to do this surgery. I have been misdiagnosed for most of my adult life. It was not until a note on my MRI stated I had an insignificant chiari I malformation, that I started to research and found my doctor. With in 2 weeks I had my surgery. My CSF Flow was completely blocked. From what I know all doctors have heard about Chiari and the other issues that can go along with it. but none of them have been brought up to date with the facts. I commend Dr.Rosner for trying to help his pateints from the horrible pain and sufferings that we chairians have to endure. I think it is time that doctors, media, medical staff, people in general need to do their research before judging another.Chiari surgery is ot a quick fix, it is something that we deal with every day of our lives. its time that we step up an get the awareness out there so that Doctors are not repremanded for trying to help someone. Thank you Dr.Rosner for your dedication to helping those with chiari and other illnesses that many have to live with every day. I pray that one day I will have a chance to meet you and thank you personally. And just for anyones information…dont look it up in a medical book. Most medical books have not been updated in the proper manner and aare outdated. Thats pretty sad.

  12. Kristi Melton

    Thank God for Dr. Rosner. Before my decompression surgery I was choking on food, headaches, no gag reflex, loss of bladder control, balance and many other neurological symptoms. Oh did I mention I am only 41. Since my surgery in March of this year,I have very few of my symptoms left. I am still recovering but I already feel better than before surgery. I wish other Dr.’s cared for their patients like Dr. Michael Rosner does. I did have the second opinion’s that the State of NC required and guess what the other Neurosurgeon agreed I needed the surgery and so did my Neurologist. Dr. Rosner is a very knowledgeable,skilled and caring surgeon. Not all people with Chiari show the same symptoms but we suffer greatly and Doctors like Dr. Rosner with their compassion to help us should be commended. He took a video of me before surgery and after. The difference can not be denied. Thank You Dr. Rosner

  13. Angie

    I was one of those ‘zombies’ from medications, pain, balance issues… the list was a little longer than the list of doctors telling me I was a hypochondriac, simply too fat or… ‘it was all in my head’. I was decompressed at The Chiari Institute and was given my life back. Is it perfect? No, but it is a miracle that I can now walk and have significantly reduced the medication I use to function. This truly is a witch hunt. Did this happen to doctors recognizing MS before it was widely accepted? In this day and age so many things are happening that make me wonder where we, as a society and a people, are headed. I feel for the patients who will have to go through countless painful and un-necessary tests due to doctors who do not believe that Chiari is real & causes so many different, painful & disabling symptoms. Thank you to the doctors who do believe and continue to help their patients despite this persecution and despicable treatment from their peers.

  14. Jessi Cornwell

    I was diagnosed with Chiari 1 in March of 2007. After seeing 4 different neurosurgeons that only wanted to medicate me, (and I tried them, they did not even touch my pain) I found Dr. Rosner. He made very clear the risks that would go with surgery and the fact that I may not get better or could get a little better…He could not guarantee anything. But it was either try that, or continue on pain pills and tingling/numbness down my arms and legs and my legs giving out on me completely and causing falls. I was 21 years old, and not about to live the rest of my life that way. He did the operation and the pain went away. We are still working on getting my CSF pressure under control, but that is minor in comparison to what I was dealing with before. No doctor knows everything, but with Dr. Rosner at least he tries to help us, when so many other surgeons don’t have any idea what to do so we get some new prescription. Not everyone is going to get better after the surgery…the same goes with any surgery…but that is NOT Dr. Rosner’s fault…And people need to start recognizing that.

  15. Gail Padgett

    I am 56 years old and I have been sick for almost 15 years. Several years ago I was in a automobile accident and that is when I actually saw a MRI result with Chiari. The neuro Dr I saw was so busy that he took about 10 min to talk to me and tell me that there is nothing to fix or operate on and sent me back to my Regular Physician. The headaches, pain, stiffness, numbness,Overactive bladder,almost passing out, Dizziness and unsteady walking continued. A few months ago a friend told me about Dr Rosner and I made a appt. He is a kind and compasionate Dr who spent over 2 hours with me and explained Chiari and that my tonsils are approx 10 to 15 mm. I was finally relieved that I actually new what was wrong with me and it had a name. “Chiari” All my Drs were treating the symptoms but not fixing the problem. Now I am in the hands of Dr Rosner and although I have not had my surgery yet, I will be scheduling it soon. I think that the newspaper article is nothing but slander and if they dont know the facts then why print anything. That article was nothing but a moneymaker for the newspaper. And as far as the NC Board~I am a citizen of the US and it is MY CHOICE as to what Dr I want to see, not theirs!! They are in violation of my rights as a Citizen of the US. Dr Rosner is My Choice!!! If all the other Drs I have seen were as understanding as Dr Rosner I would have been better a long time ago!!!
    Dr Rosner is a very thorough Dr and takes the time to explain the whole process.
    The people that have nothing better to do than get a lawyer, I feel sorry for you! You took the chance to have the surgery and if you came out and were not 100% better, you had nothing better to do than get a lawyer. If you had the energy to pursue a lawsuit, you must feel somewhat better. And it is my guess that you didnt follow the close instructions that were given by Dr Rosner after the surgery. You cant be cleaning house or washing the car a week after the surgery. AND if you did then you caused the negative problems that you are experiencing. I will be happy if I come out 50% better. If the surgery stops any of my symptoms it will be worth it.
    Dr Rosner is the best Dr for the Surgery in my opinion and people need to stop spreading the negative articles all over the internet and READ all the articles that say if it wasnt for Dr Rosner they would have never gotten any better. If you have nothing better to do than sit in front of your computer and post negative remarks then you need to cut the computer off. Because I am one who cant sit here all day and listen to BS. I researched Dr Rosner and I know in my heart that he can help me and he is my choice and I am sticking with him!
    He is the one who found my problems and he will be the one who fixes them!!!
    I agree with Kristi!!! Thank God for Dr Rosner!!!

  16. Deirdre Herbert, R.N.

    I read the article and find it to be insulting to those of us who have to endure years of neurological symptoms only to be discredited on the views of the neurological community based on criteria for Arnold Chiari Malformation type I that is out dated and causing numerous people with this disorder to live out a life that resembles only a shell of who they once were due to neurological decompensation that may be halted due to Doctors like Dr. Michael J. Rosner of North Carolina. Dr. M. Rosner not only takes the time to listen to the patient, but also spends time performing a thorough neurological examination and explaining in great detail what the surgery may or may not do to stop the decline in neurological functioning that Chiarian’s experience. The surgery or surgeries that may be involved in treating a person with Chiari Malformation are not a cure as some people may believe. The surgery or surgeries are to stop the neurological damage/decompensation that one experiences due to the crowding of the cerebellum and brain stem.
    The 90′s was considered the “decade of the brain” for the field of psychology and people who suffer from mental illness. I would ask when is it going to be the “decade of the brain” for people with Arnold Chiari Malformation? It is not uncommon for people who have ACM to be discredited by the medical community as having a psychiatric disorder of “Mood disorder” due to the numerous complaints of symptoms that occurs as our brainstem, cerebellum, and spine no loner function in an optimal manner that causes a wide array of symptoms in many different areas of our bodies that leads the medical professionals to discredit our symptoms as being “somatic” in nature.
    In a society that it driven by insurance companies to compell doctors to evaluate a patient in a 15 minute time frame in order to meet their financial obligations of insurance and business obligations I am considered privileged to have Dr. Michael J. Rosner as a neurosurgeon who takes the time to perform a thorough neurological examination and explain to me in great detail the reality of my condition with expectations related to surgical procedures. I would challenge the media of North Carolina and the Medical Professional Board to interview numerous people with the diagnosis of Arnold Chiari Malformation to understand the daily struggles a person experiences with this disorder. I personally would be available for interview.
    I am currently a patient of Dr. Michael J. Rosner and am looking forward to having my surgery performed by a doctor who is not just knowledgeable in the disorder of Arnold Chiari Malformation, but is also compassionate towards his patients in his field of expertise. I hope that in the future there will be more doctors who are as knowledgeable and as compassionate as Dr. Michael J. Rosner in helping the small population of people, such as myself, with a disorder that robs a person of their livelihood, dignity, and their perception of being normal in a world and society that perceives us with a stigma that once was reserved for the mentally ill.

  17. Tiffany

    I can’t believe that someone could write an article like this without first checking their facts. My son was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation I in February of this year, they were searching for a reason for his seizures and found this incidentally. However with the appropriate research I found that this was the cause for all of his suffering from the time that he was born. It wasn’t just balance issues, there are over 100 symptoms that chiari can cause. And he had several of them. They also found that since he had such significant crowding around his brain stem/spinal cord he had develped a syrinx. It ran the entire length of his spine and would have paralyzed him within a few months if we hadn’t caught it. He was already losing his ability to retain his bladder/bowels, lost his balance completely, etc… Imagine my horror, a 3 year old being paralyzed, because so many neurosurgeons don’t believe in what Dr. Rosner and TCI and all the others around the country do. All I can say is I hope that God blesses you with a little understanding, at least do your research next time you want to write the facts!

  18. debby

    I have Chiari, but it doesn’t have me. I had surgery a while back, and am doing better now than then. Why pick on the few doctors who are actually interested in helping us. There are soooooo many symptoms and most weren’t even mentioned. This article will hinder the other Chiarians who need help. It’s amazing how the medical field can try to consider this fibromyalgia, depression, or chronic fatigue.
    I had to find a doctor (not Rosner) on my own, because there were so few knowledgeable neurosurgeons, and now we are trying to get rid of the few who do know about Chiari. No..my surgery didn’t make all my pain and symptoms go away, but it saved me from one day becoming paralyzed or bedridden. I don’t know what the future holds for other Chiarians, but this article needs to ammend the symptoms and signs of Chiari, just as many NSG’s need to do more research and training on the subject of Chiari. We were just starting to gain some recognition, and now this is one-step back. Thank you!

  19. helen hudgins

    My name is Helen Hudgins, I am 43 years old.My head was exploding for two years. I went back and forth to Duke University at least 14 times in one year. Dr Allen Freeman installed a codman shunt in my head. It releaved the pressure for about a month. Dr. Shenoy was my neurologist, he was moving to Florida, he tried to find a doctor for me.. None would accept me as a patient. Mountain neuro in Asheville did the angyoplasm but would go no farther with me. Rosner said he would meet with me, he looked at my many films and said “Okay you have chari malformation, see how the tonsils are dropped?” I did not understand, so he explained to me.I thought great!Somebody finally knows what is wrong with me. Duke kept coming up with wild unknow diseases for me that couldn’t be helped. I also have cereberal vasculitus(narrow veins in the brain).Rosner said we could fix the chari, so I said okay! Blue Cross Blue Shield would not pay for the surgery. Derrell, my husband, insurance is Cigna. My friends got together one Wednesday night and prayed for me, the next day Cigna said they would be the primary insurance and they would pay. I had the surgery tuesday. Six hours later I was good to go! Three weeks of steroids is ruff, but after that I go my life back. I went back to work in three weeks. I was on 22 prescription drugs a day. I now take a fluid pill, potassum, and a bcomplex, thats all.I have had bladder cancer. I can see, I can bend over, I have good balance and I can think- I am out of the fog! I know live a normal life. My back is messed up from all the test and two years of my brain sitting on my spine, but other than that I am great. I truely believe God sent me to Rosner. He is a brilliant doctor and he has the guts to get the job done. You see all the other doctors thought I would die and they did not want it to happen on their watch. Rosner cared more about my quality of life than he did his reputation. Now that is a great man!He went above and beyound to see that I was cured! The NC Insurance commisioner ruled in my favor and BC/BS had to pay for the surgery.This is the part where somebody should say AMEN!!!
    Thanks,
    Helen Hudgins

  20. Sharon Jenkins

    I am currently a patient of Dr. Rosners and I have to say, he has changed my life. I have seen a lot of doctors in my 44 years and have NEVER met another like Dr. Michael Rosner. He truly cares about his patients and that is evident from the moment you enter into his office. His knowledge of Chiari is incomparable to say the least.
    In the article, a patient stated that God had given Dr. Rosner a gift and he was using it. I couldn’t agree more. Dr. Rosner does indeed have a gift and it would be such a shame for the NC Medical Board to stop him from using it. That would be a sad, sad day for all that suffer with Chiari.

    Hang in there Dr. Rosner….we’re all with you on this.

    Sharon Jenkins

  21. Tammy Schalesky

    I was finally diagnosed with Chiari 1 Malformation with a 14mm herniation in February 2008. I have and still am suffering. I have severe headaches and severe neck pain 24/7. My speech became slurred. I have and still suffer from dizziness, some nausea, poor concentration, and a whole list of other symptoms cause by Chiari 1 Malformation.

    DO NOT ever tell me that Chiari 1 Malformation is not real. It is real, and I live with it everyday!!! I have had to quit my job in April 2008. I am NOT the same person.

    I will be having decompression surgery within the next year. I am so glad to know that doctors, like Dr. Rosner, are willing to offer surgery that can help us Chiarians have a chance at relief of some of our symptoms. We all know that the surgery is not a cure for Chiari 1 Malformation.

    Each person has to make his/her own decision on whether to have surgery or not to have surgery. No one is forced or coerced into having surgery.

    This action by the NC medical licensing board is ridiculous. Find another doctor to pick on!!

  22. Kristin

    The NCMB is concerned about “the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice” in the allegations against Dr. Rosner and questions his treatment of the ‘controversial course of action’ for Hypoplastic Posterior Fossa (Chiari Malformation).

    It would be considerably refreshing to have the NCMB become more informed on the dangers of untreated Chiari Malformation. Perhaps then, they would not question the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice’.

    Throughout this lengthy saga brought against Dr. Rosner, his efforts have been scrutinized to no end. I am appalled that the NCMB might actually consider that the ‘standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice’, with respect to Chiari Malformation, should be more in line with the majority of neurosurgeons nationwide who only spend a few minutes with their Chiari patient’s; telling their patients that their symptoms aren’t real, that the physical symptoms are more mental health related or simply come up with a potpourri of pharmaceuticals for the patient to ‘try’.

    I am a recent patient of Dr. Rosner’s and am 3.5 weeks post posterior fossa decompression and have so much more of my health back than I have had for years. We should all be so lucky if more medical professionals used Dr. Rosner’s ‘standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice’. Dr. Rosner’s diagnostic and assessment process start with a very thorough initial consultation. Mine was 3 hours. Based on the initial consult, I then had several tests and scans performed. Those that couldn’t be scheduled in NC were done in my home state, with the results being sent to Dr. Rosner. Once all testing in NC was performed, we reconvened at Dr. Rosner’s office for another very thorough and detailed 2 hour test result review and discussion of his findings. This was followed by a discussion of how I wanted to go forward. We discussed the surgical option as well as the ‘wait and see’ option. The post operative outcomes were clearly discussed. Any self respecting neurosurgeon will inform their patients that there are NO guarantees that the patient will have complete recovery. Some patients will get considerable relief, some patients will get some relief and others may, unfortunately, not get relief. The recovery/healing time takes a considerable amount of time. This is not an overnight sensation where the patient wakes up and is forever ‘healed’. The recovery time to know the full extent of success takes time as the brain, nerves, etc. become accustomed to a new way of being. Patient’s must exercise self care in not over extending themselves, not doing things that could cause further harm, symptom flare ups etc.

    Dr. Rosner is quite clear in making sure that patients are aware of this. A majority of Chiari patients, having done their research, are also quite aware of this as well. Posterior Fossa Decompression is not a ‘cure’. It is hoped that the surgery will stop the progression of symptoms and damage.
    I have never met a more thorough, detailed and honest neurosurgeon who actually takes time with his patients than I have with Dr. Rosner.

    THIS is should be the gold standard for ‘acceptable and prevailing medical practice’. Unfortunately, because there appears to be a considerable amount of outdated knowledge, lack of interest in becoming a better informed medical professional and an unwillingness to fully understand the true impacts and benefits of decompression surgery so that doctor’s can better assist their patients, it is not only the patients who suffer but also those doctor’s, like Dr. Rosner, who are continually scrutinized for their progressive and beneficial approaches to medical management.

    The NCMB is encouraging the medical profession to continue living in the dark ages and is sending a message that the ‘standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice’ should in fact remain substandard, outdated and all of this is based on ignorance.

  23. Zipper015

    The NCMB is concerned about “the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice” in the allegations against Dr. Rosner and questions his treatment of the ‘controversial course of action’ for Hypoplastic Posterior Fossa (Chiari Malformation).

    It would be considerably refreshing to have the NCMB become more informed on the dangers of untreated Chiari Malformation. Perhaps then, they would not question the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice’.

    Throughout this lengthy saga brought against Dr. Rosner, his efforts have been scrutinized to no end. I am appalled that the NCMB might actually consider that the ‘standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice’, with respect to Chiari Malformation, should be more in line with the majority of neurosurgeons nationwide who only spend a few minutes with their Chiari patient’s; telling their patients that their symptoms aren’t real, that the physical symptoms are more mental health related or simply come up with a potpourri of pharmaceuticals for the patient to ‘try’.

    I am a recent patient of Dr. Rosner’s and am 3.5 weeks post posterior fossa decompression and have so much more of my health back than I have had for years. We should all be so lucky if more medical professionals used Dr. Rosner’s ‘standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice’. Dr. Rosner’s diagnostic and assessment process start with a very thorough initial consultation. Mine was 3 hours. Based on the initial consult, I then had several tests and scans performed. Those that couldn’t be scheduled in NC were done in my home state, with the results being sent to Dr. Rosner. Once all testing in NC was performed, we reconvened at Dr. Rosner’s office for another very thorough and detailed 2 hour test result review and discussion of his findings. This was followed by a discussion of how I wanted to go forward. We discussed the surgical option as well as the ‘wait and see’ option. The post operative outcomes were clearly discussed. Any self respecting neurosurgeon will inform their patients that there are NO guarantees that the patient will have complete recovery. Some patients will get considerable relief, some patients will get some relief and others may, unfortunately, not get relief. The recovery/healing time takes a considerable amount of time. This is not an overnight sensation where the patient wakes up and is forever ‘healed’. The recovery time to know the full extent of success takes time as the brain, nerves, etc. become accustomed to a new way of being. Patient’s must exercise self care in not over extending themselves, not doing things that could cause further harm, symptom flare ups etc.

    Dr. Rosner is quite clear in making sure that patients are aware of this. A majority of Chiari patients, having done their research, are also quite aware of this as well. Posterior Fossa Decompression is not a ‘cure’. It is hoped that the surgery will stop the progression of symptoms and damage.

    I have never met a more thorough, detailed and honest neurosurgeon who actually takes time with his patients than I have with Dr. Rosner.

    THIS is should be the gold standard for ‘acceptable and prevailing medical practice’. Unfortunately, because there appears to be a considerable amount of outdated knowledge, lack of interest in becoming a better informed medical professional and an unwillingness to fully understand the true impacts and benefits of decompression surgery so that doctor’s can better assist their patients, it is not only the patients who suffer but also those doctor’s, like Dr. Rosner, who are continually scrutinized for their progressive and beneficial approaches to medical management.

    The NCMB is encouraging the medical profession to continue living in the dark ages and is sending a message that the ‘standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice’ should in fact remain substandard, outdated and all of this is based on ignorance.

  24. Jim Wallace

    First, let me state that my wife is a patient of Dr. Rosner’s. She has sought treatment for various “professionals” with no improvements. That is until she was treated by Dr. Rosner! His treatment vastly improved her condition.

    Unfortunately, we had to endure the indignity of seeking a second opinion which delayed Laurie’s treatment for 6 months. Laurie endured roughly 40 shunt surgeries and the indignity of being told that her pain “was in her head”. They were both correct and incorrect – she had pain in her head, but it was not psychosomatic. We had planned to sue the some of the kind “professionals” who performed shunt surgeries or did nothing, in order to send a message. However, we determined that it would be a spiteful tactic and would not accomplish anything of real substance.

    Let’s form a critical mass of current of former patients to respectfully share our experience(s) with the NCMB and insist/ demand that Dr. Rosner’s full privileges be fully restored, and that his reputation no longer besmirched. My e-mail address is jameswallacejr@gmail.com – please send me an e-mail with your e-mail so that we can build a small data base and then we can act collectively, in mass to advocate our position on behalf of current and former patients. We need to take decisive action to ensure that patients have access to Dr. Rosner in the future. Please Join me!

    Respectfully,

    Jim Wallace
    jameswallacejr@gmail.com

  25. kenneth brown

    all the praise in the world.will not change the fact that i showed up hurting.it will not take back the snide remarks.made about my profession,my friends,my lifestyle. i will admit that i have had some improvement.ill also tell you .i hurt as i set here at 3am .not sleeping,head throbbing.ears ringing.im AM NOT BI-POLAR.as far as depressed.who the hell would not be. even dr rosner admits that people sumtimes. are not relieved by the decompression surgery.his attitude toward me personally has been awful. whats left for me.no other doctors will touch me now at all.I SUFFER EVERYDAY!throbbing headaches,i will not ever bow to dr rosner again. unless hes figured out how to put his pants on different than any other man.im treated as a drug addict everytime i say i hurt.i ask myself am i the only failure that hes made? did i missread that the surgery does not always work? 50 or 60 lawsuits does that tell you people anything at all? maybe vomitting.throbbing behind the eyes? and urinating down my leg is my [BI-POLAR] condition.all i know is i have no life,hurt as bad as the first day i walked into his office.taking a case of bc powders just for the sake of having anything for relief.as for dr rosner. i wont slander his work as i do believe in it.but i am still A MAN some of the comments hes made to me…..maybe i should have fried his jaws for. reacting to insults does not make one bi-polar. so i quit driving 600 miles round trip for the you doing good, get out my office in 15 mins trips.law suits wont fix my health.but letting people know that hes an ass might help other ppl.find other drs that can help them.im without any help.no meds at ALL. because i will NOT be talked to with snide remarks.that he thinks im too stupid to hear.he is not GOD but hes set his mind to thinking he can act like it.i only know ive been mistreated by this MAN and will continue to SUFFER because i WONT be treated like im some retard .too dumb to know im hurting so bad everyday. i am a man. a man with pride.too much to be treated as i have been .with the personal attacks. i have set in his office and bit my tounge over and over. lawsuit? with the amount of ppl sueing him now. i wouldnt know what to do with his last five dollars.so i suffer and wait and suffer and wait.he does not want the public to know about his failures, with his charactor flaws. he may also have some mental issues of his own…as for me my life is a living hell not because of his surgery..but because i refuse to be treated as less than a grown man. my advise is to seek out other drs who can do your surgery. as they may take care of you if it doesnt work for you

  26. Desiree

    Does anyone know how to contact Dr. Rosner? I would like to have a consultation with him. I was diagnosed with Chiari Type 1 in 1997 and was decompressed the same year. I have additional problems since and am now scheduled for a 2nd surgery with doctors that know very little about Chiari. If anyone knows how to reach him, please email me at: canedes@yahoo.com

    Thank you

  27. Charlotte Templeton

    I have not been operated on yet due to insurance reasons but, Dr. rosners diagnoses was right on.
    I spent my life defected, broken and nonfunctable.
    His diagnoses has given me hope to keep up the fight.
    I am involved with the chiari support groups and have not heard anything negative about his work or ethics.
    people will sue for any reason they can think of. I believe the Doctor was correct that the layers sniffed out money and percued this heavaley.
    Sick people will look for help any where from doctors, lawyers, family and friends.
    We have to be so medicated that yet again the predators used us for their greed.
    My opinion!

  28. Jerry Hughes

    Hello-I comming up on my 1 yr aniversity for HPF
    (chiari) decompression and all I can say is “Thank You Dr Rosner”. My problems were such that I’d been turned down by 3 nurosurgions one at the largest teaching Universities on the east coast because they said “We’re scared we will make you worse” Dr Rosner could have said the same thing, but he didn’t. He found things wrong with me others omited when they talked to me.
    The very first thing he said there is no guantree that surgery will make you any better and it may make you worse. How much plainer could you be! I took the chance and today I can walk without falling,think without a fuzzy brain,my headaches are allmost gone,and my body isn’t still going numb.
    This Dr is doing what other drs shake their head and say “Retire and enjoy what life you have left”.
    Again I say “Thank You Sir my life has been changed and you are my HERO”
    …Jerry in Carolina…

  29. Zipper015

    Hello,

    I am nearing (by a few days) my 6 month anniversary for my HPF (Chiari) Decompression.

    While I went in to this round of neurosurgery fully understanding that there ‘are no guarantees’, I have had SO much more success with Dr. Rosner’s surgery than I did with my 1st neurosurgeon’s ‘Chiari decompression’.

    The differences in the ‘before surgery’ and the ‘after surgery’ are absolutely incredible. After my 1st decompression, I had given up all hope of living a symptom free, more active life.
    I have considerably more feeling in my arms and legs, I have more balance, I am back on my elliptical machine, I’m able to walk 2-3 miles without headaches and pain and I have more energy

    Dr. Rosner has truly given me back the life that I once enjoyed.

    As I look back, I can only shake my head in disappointment at the misinformation, lack of knowledge and unwillingness to ‘think outside of the box’ of the many previous specialists that I have dealt in the last 6.5 years since my 1st decompression.

    From the bottom of my (and my family’s heart),
    Thank You Dr. Rosner.
    Kristin

  30. Gail Padgett

    I have not had decompression surgery yet due to the 2nd opinion stipulation the Medical Board placed on Dr Rosner. I am unable to drive due to black out problems. I have written letters to the Medical Board on several occasions stating my situations and all I got was the run around. Personally they do not care how bad your condition is. I have been dealing with Chiari for years and didnt even know it. Then when it showed on a MRI the local Drs here just said there were no problems. I am presently 10-15mm herniated which can and does cause a list of horrible side effects. Then I heard about Dr Rosner and had a visit within a few weeks. He was a very caring Dr who took the time to run a battery of tests in his office and then sent me to have a MRI, X-Rays and a Tilt table test. Now I am ready for the surgery and find out that the Medical Board has placed some stipulations so now I am at a stand still and getting worse as the days go by.
    I had made a personal choice to have Dr Rosner as my Surgeon and the Medical Board is stopping me from making my own choice. I feel like my rights have been violated. It is my choice and not theirs! I have read and talked with so many people with Chiari that had Dr Rosner as their Dr and all of them had positive results.
    As far as all the Drs that are suppose to give 2nd opnions and turn you down when you call~they are just jealous of the professionalism of Dr Rosner and because they arent doing the surgery and getting paid.
    So while the Medical Board debates on whats next, I am here with pressure headaches, burning and numbness in my feet, legs and hands. Fluid building in my feet, legs and hands, Black outs, off balance, blurred vision and panic attacks that almost stop me from breathing.
    All I can say is that Dr Rosner will do my surgery and I will wait! And if I get worse before I can have my surgery I will blame the NCMB 100%.
    Dr Rosner is #1 in my book and the Medical Board needs to open their eyes!!!
    I am “Not Giving Up”!!!!!
    Gail

  31. Sharon

    Hello,
    I am proud to say that I am a patient of Dr. Rosners. Dr. Rosner did for me what no other doctor could…..he gave me a life back. What I had prior to becoming a patient of his wasn’t a life. I simply exsisted.

    I was present at Dr. Rosners hearing at the NCMB. While I won’t go into detail about that day, I will say that I was quite shocked. It would seem to me that the North Carolina Medical Board would be celebrating the fact that Dr. Rosner has chosen our state to practice in. There are only 11 true Chiari specialist in the entire country and we have the BEST right here in our own state. In my opinion thats reason to celebrate!!

    Sharon

  32. Evelyn Graham

    To mountain express:
    Why not go after the drug company pay off to drs
    for reccomending their drugs.Or there are a lot of postive subjects you could find to right about. Be creative.
    You need to print an apology to Dr Rosner.
    Shame on you. evelyngraham

  33. tigerlilly1969

    I was informed that my posting sounded like an insult to Dr. Rosner.
    I must corect this and explain myself:

    “Dr. Rosners diagnoses was right on.”

    “His diagnoses has given me hope to keep up the fight.”

    ” Have not heard anything negative about his work or ethics.”

    “Dr was correct that the layers(sp) sniffed out money and pursued this heavily”
    This was suppose to saw lawyers. Not layers.

    “Sick people will look for help any where” This represented our desperation.

    “We have to be so medicated that yet again the predators used us for their greed.”
    This represent the hospitals, private doctors, nerosergens, theropy doctors and any other phasility that cares for the multitude symptoms of Chiari. Greed= None of the listed above would make a penny is we were to see Dr. Rosner. Therefore they keep us sick, misdiagnosed and in the system for years. Costing millions! No one makes money if a cure is found.

    I apologize if I came off wrong. One symptom I have is a seizure disorder and at times I fog off and do not communicate well.
    I hope this eases the mind of anyone I may of offended especially Dr. Rosner.

    Charlotte

  34. Rod Gillis

    Dr. Rosner saved my wife’s life, when he operated on her in 07/2008. I could go on and tell the horror stories of our visits to other doctors, before Rosner; but the people commenting before me have said enough. I do want to say that when you go to Rosner’s office for the 1st time, you have to read and sign a form which states that he DOES NOT treat fibromyalgia nor chronic fatigue syndrome; and he point blank tells you that he does not guarantee you will get better. As for our 2nd required opinion, the doctor who i will not name spent less than 5 minutes with us, and told us that my wife obviously had a serious autonomic disorder; but it couldn’t possible be CM1, as she was to old to have on-set of CM1. Staci was 36 at the time. I asked how many CM1 surgeries that they do at this state medical college where he is on staff, and the answer was 0 to 2 per year, all on children. For himself he said 1 to 2 every 5 years or so. He was some expert on CM1. We then set up and went to see Dr. Jannette, a world renowned neurosurgeon in Pittsburgh, to get a real 2nd opinion, from someone who does these types of surgeries on a regular basis at an established large hospital (25 to 40 per year); and he confirmed Rosner’s CM1 diagnosis and the need for immediate surgery, after sending over 2 hours with us, not the usual 10 minutes. As for the Asheville attorney, who has most of the lawsuits again Dr. Rosner, I have been told by several locals, since I asked around town who he was, that he says he’ll get at least $10,000 net for Rosner patients who sign up with him; and he has no real interest in going to trial on these cases. Quick in and quick out, as it were. As I also understand it, he tells his new clients to immediately make a complaint to the NCMS board, after they sign-up with him. So much for guarantees and ethics.

    My wife and I are very grateful to have found Dr. Rosner; and he remains in our prayers everyday.

  35. Anissa

    I am a PROUD patient of Dr. Rosners. If it had not been for him I would not be sitting here today. I went to top University’s before thank GOD I found Dr. Rosner. No one would treat me! Come to find out after surgery my time on earth was limited. I would like for the NCMB to sit and think about being on their death bed preparing 5 children for their own Mother’s death just because they are to difficult of a case and are scared to take a risk because of what their peers will say! I attended the hearing at the NCMB and would like to say to the BOARD, WAKE UP, you might be able to listen to testimony if you are not snoring!
    I would also like to say to the editor of the newspaper, please research your information before writing a story. Dr. Rosner does not treat people solely with Fibro, or Chronic Fatigue, we have Chiari and unfortunately this disease comes with both plus a whole lot more. Do interviews with some of his patients and you will find out more information about this terrible life altering disease than most Neurosurgeons have ever done research on. For that I say attend some continuing education classes on Chiari. I know for a fact that their is a doctor at The Chiari Institute that does them. Remember all “If GOD brings us to it. He will bring us through it”

    Anissa

  36. Evelyn Graham

    My husband called my name for the first time in 2 years.He started having seizures and after several
    visits to Asheville Hospitals. A nuerologist told me Gene had fluid in 2 ventricles in his brain without explaining it or making any suggestions
    he sent us on our way. Not to mention more terrible experences with Drs and nursing homes.
    We came home.
    Gene then had blood clots and God gave me guidance to Park Ridge Hospital. While in the hospital Gene had a sizure and Dr Rosners was sent in to see him. After Mri Dr Rosner showed
    me the xrays and explained Genes condition.
    Hydrosephus was diagnoised. It causes horrible
    pain and would take his life painfully.
    Dr Rosner did the necessary surgery , came in the hospial room twice a day everyday to see him before we came home. He was very clear to me about Genes condition and made me no guarantees.
    It has been a slow process draining the fluid off
    his brain, It has been a year in Feb.28,09.
    Gene now is coming around. He can now ask for his needs, and recognizes his pets by name.I thank
    God for the wonderful eye contact he has with us.
    I thank God for his guidance to Dr Rosner and I thank and praise Dr Rosner first of all for the respect he gave my husband , and for the extra time added to Genes life. We need Dr. Rosner for
    Genes follow up check ups and care.To the NCMB Please do not take my rights away, I am an adult and can make my choices. Maybe you can take the time to re train yourselfs an study Dr.Rosners way. Empathy feel good. I hope you all have to pay for the loses you caused by damaging his professional reputation.God Bless you Dr. Rosner. evelyn graham for eg graham

    f

  37. ZipRchik

    I have been one of Dr. Rosner’s patients for 10 years. I am in a unique position to comment on the actions of the NC Medical Board as I have been present at every public hearing there has been regarding the “charges and allegations.” I have also been asked to testify as a patient representative who has undergone the same diagnostic tests, had the same diagnosis, and the same surgeries, as well as a passionate advocate for Chiari and related conditions.

    In a “nutshell,” Dr. Rosner specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Chiari Malformation, spinal stenosis, syringomyelia, myelopathy, pseudotumor cerebri, and other related conditions involving a hypoplastic posterior fossa and the congenital abnormalities that often accompany it. There are 11 neurosurgeons in the US/World that are considered “Chiari experts” by those who deal with these conditions. Dr. Rosner is the ONLY one in our state. The average neurosurgeon may do 1 Chiari decompression surgery a year, whereas the recognized Chiari specialists do hundreds. The most common neurosurgical procedure is the placement of a shunt to treat hydrocephalus, followed by removal of tumors/masses. Neurosurgeons learn very little about Chiari in medical school, and may not even see a case during their surgical residency. They do not focus on the condition, so they do not feel compelled to read the latest medical research and abstracts in journals about how Chiari has been “redefined” (Milhorat, et al).

    Chiari, and the other congenital abnormalities that accompany it, has found its way into mainstream media programs such as “Mystery Diagnosis” on Discovery Health. If Chiari were so common and so easily diagnosed by the average neurosurgeon, it would have never been an intriguing story to tell. Marissa, the girl in the TV show, went from doctor to doctor before finding the correct diagnosis and some treatment options at The Chiari Institute in NY (another of the 11 “Chiari experts” in the USA/World). Her diagnosis would not have fit into the “acceptable and prevailing standards” that the NC Medical Board states ad nauseum, as her MRI studies did not show the “classic deeply herniated cerebellar tonsils” that your average neurosurgeon and neuroradiologist were taught to look for in archaic texts. Her treatment would also fall “below the acceptable and prevailing standards” in NC. The problem is that our Governor-appointed medical Board (which consists of physicians, a physician assistant, and a few public members) relies completely on the “research” by their own NCMB attorney and their own in-state “experts.” Since there are 11 neurosurgeons in the US/World that specialize in Chiari and related conditions due to a hypoplastic posterior fossa (spinal stenosis, myelopathy, etc.), and the only one in our state is “on trial,” they must get the “expert opinion” from non-specialists in Chiari…those who are not up-to-date on the latest journal abstracts and research in the field of Chiari and related conditions. These Board-appointed “experts” and the Board attorney will make decisions based on archaic knowledge about a condition that they are not considered an “expert” or specialist in. This is a dangerous thing, and hurts both the pioneering expert who is in question, his patients who seek out an expert in their condition(s), and the advancement of education and research about these diseases.

    If you look at the documents from both cases, you will see that the final statement is that Dr. Rosner practiced medicine or made a diagnosis that was “below the acceptable and prevailing standards of neurosurgery in NC.” Since there are NO other specialists in Chiari in our state, the acceptable and prevailing standards are sub par, and this is a detriment to the citizens of NC. Dr. Rosner’s patients come from all over the US/World. When I had my first surgery in 2000, there was a patient from Africa there as well. The majority of patients I know of his are from states other than NC. I am also a patient of The Chiari Institute in NY (out of necessity when Dr. Rosner was unable to see patients due to a Board action). My condition and diagnosis are acceptable and within prevailing standards once I cross state lines…how ironic and frightening is that?

    Chiari patients are a unique breed. We do not follow suit with other neurosurgical patients who see the doctor, get tests, get a diagnosis, have surgery, have a follow-up consult, and then only come back if another follow-up is needed. Chiari patients require their neurosurgeon to become a partner in their overall healthcare. Dr. Rosner is always part of any treatment I receive from any other doctor, whether it is to consult on medications that can be harmful to people with decompensated central nervous systems, or how my head/neck should be placed for other surgeries or treatments. They are our lifeline; they are our Chiari specialist for life, and they gladly take on this role! Chiari is a rare and incurable condition. Our skull is too small for our brain, so we are compressed in the hindbrain area. We also have congenitally smaller spinal canals, can have tethered cord, can have syringomyelia, myelopathy, pseudotumor cerebri, hydrocephalus, etc. Other than just problems with our physical structure, we have ongoing problems from central nervous system compression, cerebral spinal fluid flow abnormalities, and multi-organ involvement. Only a true “Chiari expert” can address all of these areas without causing problems with incorrect medications, harmful treatment, and life-long partnering as we live with this chronic condition.

    Every patient who sees a Chiari specialist can recite the following from memory: “the goal of surgery is to halt the progression of the condition…nothing more…any relief you get is a blessing but not a promise.”

    At the last hearing, the NCMB’s attorney said that Dr. Rosner was “a GIANT in trauma neurosurgery years before he went down this path into his current specialty (Chiari),” he said that he did not understand how Dr. Rosner could go from pioneering new treatments for head trauma patients with increased intracranial hypertension that are still in use today (they are the “acceptable and prevailing standard”) to this “hypothesis.” Dr. Rosner’s surgical skills were lauded by everyone, and they showed no harm to patients. They feel he is treating a hypothetical condition with radical surgery. I am proud to be a hypothesis, and my radical surgeries saved my life. My quality of life is now well above the “acceptable and prevailing standards” of those with chronic and incurable conditions. I owe my life and my livelihood to a brilliant man whose genius and compassion is unmatched…and who continues to put his neck on the chopping block of the critics and skeptics for our condition and those who live with it! I am an advocate for Chiari, for patients and for Dr. Rosner because I don’t want someone else to have to struggle for 10 years to get a correct diagnosis and treatment options.

    Lisa Reuter-Clarke

  38. Please look at the ratings of the top 65 chiari neurosurgeons in the U.S. and note who has the top rating with the highest NUMBER of ratings. Click on Dr. Rosner’s last name and it will take you to his entry on ratemds.com

    The page is http://www.hindbrain.net/docs.php

  39. Wanda Arldt

    My sister-in-law has been diagonsed with Chiari 2 and has had surgery less than a year ago. Four months before her surgery she got up one morning and had lost her speech, she then sounded as though she had had a stroke. A month later she was told she had Chiari 2 and had surgery 4 months later. When she woke up after the surgery she had started regaining her speech, and a week later her speech had returned perfectly normal, then just 3 months ago she woke up talking the same way she did before her surgery. Now one of my questions is ” has anyone ever seen Chiari affect anyones speech before? Is Chiari actually an incurable condition as I have been reading and do people require sometimes multiple surgeries? Also are any of the 11 true neurosurgeons in the world that specialize in Chiari in the state of Texas and if so does anyone know whom they are and where they are located?
    Thank you for any and all information and I will be looking forward to your comments.
    Wanda Arldt
    Texas resident

  40. andrea day

    I was dr rosner’s last surgery before his license was not renewed. It is a huge shame. I felt like God sent me to Dr. Rosner from Florida via my primary md’ who had heard of him’ and had other pts who had been helped by him. My surgerywas in sept. 2009. I had a very bad headache for about two weeks and some dizzines which receded as my activity increased. Now I am able to lie on the back of my head without having the old familiar immediate migraine. I still get headaches occasionally but they are much less severe and usually only when doing strenous activity. My back muscles are still weak from the last 15 yrs of going undiagnosed and given only symptomatic relief for muscle pain. My extreme weakness was never really taken into account, until meeting Dr Rosner. I am getting stronger gradually and also have much less lower extremity pain. And less brain fog. I am genuinely very disheartened that this surgeon is unable to help people like me who no-one else could or would help. It is a great loss. I am still very hopeful that his license will be renewed. The medical board should be ashamed. The whole mess left Dr Rosner unable to provide my post surgical care. It was my decision to go to him and it would have been my decision to follow up with him. The NCMB left me out in the cold with no one else who could understand my needs. Fortunatly, I have done very well.

  41. carolyn taylor

    Dr. Rosner,

    This is Jane Napier’s mother, Carolyn Taylor. Many of Jane’s old symptons have reappeared. Her local neurologist sent her to Dr. Frederick Finger in Charlotte today. He thought from recent MRI’s that Jane needed immediate surgery for cervical stenosis. After a thorough review and examination, Dr. Finger said that he did not see that the stenosis was a problem and he did not know what was wrong. He said that her chiari surgery looked fine and that she definitely has something but he did not know what. Can you please advise. We are praying for your license to be returned to you.

    Hoping to hear from you. gratefully

  42. Cort

    Dr. Rosner is my hero! I was 19 when I had a head injury and got sick.I went from doctor to doctor for 16 months and ended up being told that I was crazy and it was all in my head! I found Dr. Rosner through the internet. He spent 2-3 hours with me, something all the other docs wouldn’t do. I had surgery in December of 2008. When I woke up I could aactually feel my feet! I was up and running, even playing air hocky, just 4 days after surgery. I had been in bed 24/7 prior to surgery. I can’t thank Dr. Rosner enough for all he dd for me and being willing to go against the flow to help me! I’m a normal 23 year old thanks to him! We all need to help him by speaking out with our stories and getting involved in this fight. I would have wanted someone else to help him keep his liscence so that I could have the chance for life, so I want to help others have a chance by helping him to get back his liscence and keep it!

  43. Scott Chadbourne

    I read the article from the paper and all of the comments, and only with exception of Mr. Brown who has personal issues with Dr. Rosner, all of the replies have been positive. I am a patient of Dr. Rosners having two surgeries, the first in 1999 and the second in 2001. Am I “cured” Nope. Am I better? Somewhat, but not a lot. Is that Dr Rosner’s fault? Ain’t no way in hell. The man was nothing but honest with me at every step, never making promises of complete cures. I suspect he was the same with every patient, and those who sued because they didn’t get better are the useless types who in the end hurting everyone who suffers and doesn’t get treatment because they were deaf to hearing that there are no promises, only hearing that some were cured and believing that was their outcome before a surgery ever took place. As stated by Lisa Clarke “the goal of surgery is to halt the progression of the condition…nothing more…any relief you get is a blessing but not a promise.” This is almost exactly what I was told by Dr Rosner. I think the man is honest to a fault, has staked his reputation and career on helping people and those who lied about and drug through the mud and causing him to lose his ability to practice medicine and help others should be ashamed. I don’t know if he has all of the answers, but in the condition I was in, anything, was better than nothing, and I have had several neuro’s since who look at the work he did on me and can’t believe I can walk, yet, I do very well. Dr Rosner’s surgerical gifts are astounding and I for one thank God I was able to have him address my issues, because I truely believe that had I not done something when I did, I may very well be in a wheelchair or dead by now. Dr Rosner, you’ll always have my support!
    Scott Chadbourne
    Piedmont Mo

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