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Lisa Martinez

Lisa Martinez
Posted on: 01/06/2022

Take me to the Spine Center at St. Mark’s Hospital: My provider is a compassionate resource, not a salesman

With students flocking to fast food joints and bumper-to-bumper traffic, Lisa Martinez says that driving near a local high school when the bell rings feels like driving through Time Square in 5 o’clock traffic. Since Lisa’s Draper home sits within blocks of the school, she finds herself in that high-stress situation frequently – but on Nov. 5 the ride home became one she’d never forget.

“I was sitting at a light. The left-hand lane started moving and the guy behind me thought our lane was moving too. He drove right into the back of my truck,” Lisa said.

Lisa’s truck’s steel bumpers couldn’t hold back the damage. She had been looking left when the sudden impact hit.

“It just snapped my neck. I yelped like a dog when it happened,” Lisa said. “It felt like I was electrocuted and kicked in the neck at the same time.”

Upon initial examination, Emergency Room doctors believed Lisa’s neck was broken. The ER team immobilized and protected her injury with a large, plastic neck brace and referred Lisa to see Matthew “Chuck” Jarvis, a board-certified spine specialist at St. Mark’s Hospital’s Comprehensive Spine Center.

A Spine Center headstrong with compassion

From the moment she walked into the Comprehensive Spine Center at St. Mark’s, Lisa says she felt an outpouring of genuine compassion and desire to help in her healing.

“I was so scared, freaked out and emotional. Plus, I was in such pain and could barely stand up because my head felt like it weighed 1,000 pounds – like a cinder block! But when I got there, the receptionist was sweet and accommodating. I needed to fill out a million documents and she said she’d help with all of it,” Lisa said.

Next, Lisa met Chuck at the Comprehensive Spine Center at St. Mark's. His sincere and skillful approach proved to be exactly what she needed.

“Chuck has the most calming voice and comforting communication style. He’s extremely knowledgeable. He reviewed my images and situation, and he suspected that my neck wasn’t fractured,” Lisa said. “He taught me a lot on our first visit about the anatomy of my neck and what to expect with my age and other factors with my health.”

Chuck ordered and reviewed an MRI, which confirmed that Lisa’s neck wasn’t broken but she suffered from severe whiplash and age-related spinal stenosis, a narrowing within the spine that can place pressure on the spine and spinal nerves.

Healing choices: The patient picks the pathway

Lisa prefers a holistic approach to healing. She reserves surgical procedures, pain medication or anesthesia for extreme cases. She says her ultimate goal is to live the longest amount of time possible, so she can spend time with her young son.

With Lisa’s comfort level and healing in mind, Chuck explained a spectrum of possible treatment options, including pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy and electrical muscle stimulation therapy.

“You can tell if someone is really listening or not – and Chuck really listened. This wasn’t a drive-through spine clinic where someone gives you a pain med prescription and then forgets about you. I made a real connection with Chuck. He clearly explained the options, the potential risks and the target outcomes. He let me decide what was the next best move. He wasn’t a salesman, he was a resource,” Lisa said.

Confidence in expertise and strong futures

Lisa recently began a regular routine of physical therapy and electrical muscle stimulation therapy. She will continue following-up with Chuck; plus, she may pursue injections depending on how her healing goes. One thing’s for sure, she knows she has compassionate and skilled experts in her corner.

“I say ‘Take me to the Spine Center at St. Mark’s’ because they make you feel like everything’s going to be alright. I’m so confident in Chuck and his expertise. I don’t live that close to St. Mark’s, but even if I lived in Utah County I’d still go there!” Lisa said.

For more information or to schedule an appointment at the St. Mark’s Hospital Comprehensive Spine Center, call (801) 262-5711 or visit them online.

Lisa Martinez
Posted on: 01/06/2022

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