I originally was referred to Dr. Dowdell through friends of mine who own a large physical therapy group in New Jersey. I was going there for physical therapy and was frustrated that I was not making any progress. I had gone to a couple of local orthopedic groups and was ready to move forward with one when my PT friends called me on the phone and said, "If you were our father, the only place we would let you go for surgery is HSS." They actually then helped me secure an appointment with Dr. Dowdell last March. I was immediately impressed because he spent a full hour with me examining reports, etc. and advised that my L3, L4, and L5 would require fusion surgery.
At the time I was not in a lot of pain, but had some discomfort which limited my physical activity. However due to the pandemic I was not in a rush to have the surgery plus it was a busy time for me at work. I decided to put it off and promised to stay in touch. Things began to change during the summer when I started getting significant pain in my left leg from the buttocks to the calf. I assumed it was the same issue and the timing for surgery was bad so I just put up with it. The problem worsened in August and by Labor Day Weekend I found myself in the hospital because I simply could not deal with the pain.
At this point I had an MRI which was immediately sent to Dr. Dowdell and revealed that this extreme pain was a very different issue - a herniated disc was pressed against my sciatic nerve and needed to be removed. Throughout September I was suffering and had an appointment with Dr. Dowdell on September 27, which I expected would result in a surgery date. By the time I got to his office with my wife and son I was in such pain I could barely function and was limited to a wheelchair. He recognized that there was something wrong and urged my family to take me immediately to NY Presbyterian. It turned out I was septic, my organs were shutting down and BP was 80/50. I had an infection of some kind which landed me in the ICU for 3 days and another 4 in the hospital.
Dr. Dowdell was in touch with my family and his concern was obvious. Two weeks after being discharged, he performed the procedure on me which relieved a significant portion of the pain and I am well on my way to recovery. However what stands out more than anything is the compassion and care he has shown to me and my family throughout this ordeal. His communication is unlike any doctor I have had outside of my long-term family physician. We consider him a friend as well as a doctor because its obvious my health was his concern. He is truly unique and while I will have to address my "real" back issue down the road I am fully confident that Dr. Dowdell will get me back to optimum health. I am truly grateful for all he has done for me.