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In August of 2018, Mr. Joe Romano noticed numbness in his left leg that progressively worsened over the next three months. Mr. Romano works at UNC Health with Dr. Price. While crossing paths with Dr. Price in the hall, Mr. Romano asked about his symptoms, and Dr. Price suggested that he be evaluated formally with an MRI. In November of 2018, Dr. Price performed a spine fusion on Mr. Romano (Left L2-L3 far lateral microdiscectomy and L4-L5 decompressive laminectomy).

Aside from some mild post-op pain and spasms, Mr. Romano had no complaints. The care he received from pre-op to post-op was outstanding. He noted that his surgery was the “smoothest operation” he’s ever had. The surgery was initially expected to take three hours; however, it ended up taking six, because Dr. Price did not initially intend to perform a discectomy. Mr. Romano said that throughout this process his wife was constantly updated.

Mr. Romano raved about the care he received. During pre-op, all of the nurses, doctors, and workers came to visit him. After the surgery, he grew “hangry” because he had not eaten in 24 hours. He says that the nurses allowed him to order in breakfast for supper, and he devoured every last bite. Mr. Romano is very appreciative of the UNC Health faculty.

Mr. Romano’s experience was not a usual one. Healthcare teams are generally unable to witness the difference they make in their patients’ lives because their encounters are often short-lived. However, when Mr. Romano returned to work at the hospital, all of the nurses and staff were thrilled that they were able to directly see a positive outcome for a patient they had cared for. He noted this particular moment as the most meaningful aspect of his surgical experience. As a member of the UNC Hospital staff, Mr. Romano served as Dr. Price’s “walking billboard” for about a year—allowing him the chance to reassure patients that they were truly receiving the best care possible.