Testimonials

THANK YOU DR. PAQUETTE!!

To all of those perspective clients who have been searching for the “Right Surgeon,” look no further because you have found him! Dr. Paquette has given me a second chance to live a quality life again, once back on October 13, 2007 and most recently, September 17, 2010.

I was 34 years old at the time, I had never been hospitalized, nor did I ever have any serious illness up until then. I was just a girl who was getting light headed when I turned my head to the right.

I am not the type of person who is impressed easily by another’s assets, but what I do take notice of, is when someone is born with a gift and has the courage & integrity to use that gift to better the world & it’s living beings. Dr. Paquette is one of those types of people, he is what the nurse’s at Cedar Sinai labeled, “Hands of God,” because he has performed miracles on patients’ who were given a life sentence of pain management and some band-aids (i.e. physical therapy/ acupuncture / therapist for depression) as their final option. I should know he changed my life twice.

I will never forget the first time I met Dr. Paquette. We were sitting in the room waiting for Dr. Paquette to come in, I could see that my mom was nervous, which in turn made me nervous, she was a nurse and rarely let medical issues affect her, but my situation really scared her. I was fine, in fact, I had no idea how serious my situation was. The Door opened and entered a young, handsome man in his mid to late thirties; he was wearing scrubs, a designer suit jacket and a pair of cowboy boots. I remember thinking, there is no way this man is a doctor he should be on the cover of GQ magazine! I know my mom thought the same thing, until he began to talk to us about my MRI’s, it was clear than that this young man knew exactly what he was doing and suddenly his outer appearance melted away and his God given gift took over.

He explained what he thought the tumor was (aneurismal bone cyst) and what he believed was happening and why I was passing out each time I turned my head to the right. He spoke of a test he needed to do before he could give us an answer on whether he felt he could/should operate (an angiogram with a balloon test, which I failed). He talked about the risks of surgery and tried to explain that in most cases, unless symptomatic, aneurismal bone cysts are not removed because they have a reputation of growing back etc. I trusted him and his opinion from the start.

To say that removing this tumor was a dangerous, would be the understatement of the year. Other doctors would not touch it, mainly because it was too dangerous and my chances of survival were low. The reason; because it was feeding on my artery which meant that it had blood vessels inside it that were quite large and the chances of me bleeding out were very high. There was little chance I would survive, not to mention the fact that if they did remove it, 3 vertebrae would need to be replaced. There was also the chance that the tumor was malignant and I would have to go through chemotherapy.

It was early August when I was told that a tumor the size of a golf ball was attached to the anterior right side of my vertebral artery & cervical spine (it was wrapped around 3 vertebrae, from C2-C4). The tumor like cyst was eating away at my bone and feeding off my artery, this was beginning to affect my ability to function properly ( i.e. I would pass out anytime I turned my head to the right because the tumor would block any oxygen or blood from reaching my brain).

This was a very dangerous location because of the fact that this “tumor” had 3 very large blood vessels inside of it that were directly attached to the main artery leading to my brain, not only that, but while a normal person has a right & left vertebral artery, I had only one working artery ( since birth)! The chances of me bleeding out were huge, on top of the fact, that separating this thing from my neck could easily paralyze me if there was one wrong move!!

My surgery would be a first time for any doctor. Not only that but not one of his colleagues believed I would live through it (which I found out post-op). The big question was…how was he going to separate this thing from my artery, without killing me instantly?? If he succeeded it would put him in the medical books for future doctors to refer to (which I had no idea of), it was a ground breaking surgery that fell on his lap just because my mom just happened to have an appointment with him the week after I got my tests results. What are the chances?

On October 3, 2007 at 7 A.M., I was wheeled into the operating room. 9 ½ hours later the surgery was complete without a hitch. I’m not sure what was done to me inside that operating room. You would have to ask Dr. Paquette or read in one of the medical books it is now in, but I do know that it took him 6 ½ hours just to remove the tumor and another 3 to repair my spine. All I know is that I went in at 7 A.M. when it was dark outside and when I woke up I saw it was dark outside still, I couldn’t believe it when I realized it was 6 P.M., had I really been under for all of that time?

Within a month, I was back to work; within a year I was back to normal as if nothing had happened. To this day I still can’t believe the risk Dr. Paquette took, and the success he had. Without his courage I wouldn’t have a normal life, so thank you Dr. Paquette for saving my life.

This last surgery (6 weeks ago) was another situation where I was desperate for some relief of pain. My lumbar spine had collapsed in three places, leaving my sciatic nerve to be crushed by the fragmented vertebrae (which is the bones that had shattered and the sharp pieces where clamping down on the nerve) which left me in the worst pain I have ever felt and hope to never feel again.

I have spondylo- arthritis (arthritis of the spine, neck, hips and legs); its job is to eat away at all of the soft tissue around the bone (i.e. discs in spinal cord). My low back had been causing me problem for a very long time, but I could manage it through epidurals and pain medication. About 3 months ago I went in for a routine epidural on my lumbar spine and when I woke up, I was in agony! The epidural had somehow collapsed what was left of my discs and my entire upper body’s weight was now resting on my sciatic nerve OUCH!

Once again I went to Dr. Paquette and within a month I was back in surgery with not a worry in the world because I completely trusted him. As expected, I woke up 8 hours later and the nerve pain was gone!

For those of you who believe in God, finding Dr. Paquette was what I’d like to call a “God Shot”. If I could go around the world and speak to every person who has back problems, I would tell them to go see Dr. Paquette. Today is my 8th week since the lumbar surgery, my physical therapist is speechless at how far along I have come (I started seeing her 3 days ago), and it’s because of Dr. Paquette’s ingenuity that I am doing as well as I am today.

Thanks again Dr. Paquette! You have saved my future twice now.

Sincerely,
M.W.

Back in January of 2008, I was rapidly approaching a state of mind that questioned whether or not life was worth living. The aches pains and lack of mobility that centered around neck, arms and hands, lower back and legs had taken me to a place where I seriously questioned whether this was anyway to live.

I was literally in a state of limbo between wanting to go to sleep (so as not to face these problems) and a desired state of insomnia (based on the fear of having to get up in the morning). Add to this the stress of a job that kept me on my feet most of the day trying to help others free themselves from substance addiction and I was at wit’s end.

After many rounds of neurological tests, beginning in 2005, it was identified that my diagnosis was cervical spondylosis, disc herniations and stenosis. A couple of my HMO surgeons quickly recommended traditional neck then back surgery. I was introduced to Dr. Justin Paquette. From my first consultation with him, I knew he would be the ideal medical “partner” to help me through my situation. I was not wrong.

I first heard of Dr Paquette, from a friend, as a 2nd opinion. I called to make an appointment and was told I couldn’t get in for 2 weeks. After explaining what I had been going through since December 2005, which included Physical Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractor, visits to Orthopedic Surgeons, numerous cervical and lumbar injections and a Facet Rhizotomy with no relief and continual pain, I was given an appointment to see Dr. Paquette the following week August 3, 2008. This began the compassion, concern, and caring attitude I found within Dr Paquette. While in the examination room, a friendly young man entered, said hello to my wife then turned to me, smiled and asked, “How can I help you?” Upon sharing my troubles with Dr. Paquette, he looked at my most recent MRI. Beginning to explain what he saw, to both my wife and me, he told us to wait as this picture would not allow him to fully explain what he saw. He quickly went to get other pictures of the MRI that he said would be clearer for us to understand the situation. He initially told us my back wasn’t as awful as my neck and that neck surgery would be necessary. I asked him when and I was told it depended on his schedule and when he would be able to get the operating room at the hospital. I was without doubt feeling despair, as anyone in continual pain wants it done yesterday. He told me he would do all he could to speed up the operating date. I also must say that Dr. Paquette gave me close to an hour of his time and no question asked seemed to be to much for him.

His office called within 2 days and told me he would be able to do the surgery on August 11, 2008, just eight days after my initial consultation with him. I was beyond elated.

I went into the hospital on August 11, 2008 for an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion. This was done at C3 to C7. Dr. Paquette cleaned out the collapsed discs replaced them with plastic discs, a titanium plate, and 8 titanium screws. I was in the hospital for 3 1/2 days and each day Dr. Paquette visited me to follow up and review my progress.

I had an appointment with Dr. Paquette one week after my discharge to check on the incision. Six weeks after surgery, Dr Paquette started me with Physical Therapy. I began to recover as I was now able to keep my head up without needing to lay it on a pillow or back of the couch to keep it up. Additional scans showed that fusion had taken place to make this a successful surgery.

I was concerned about the cosmetic result of my surgery but I can honestly say the scar on my neck cannot be seen. I remember mentioning to Dr. Paquette how great the incision was and how undetectable.

Around October, I started to feel pain in my mid and lower back, buttocks, and down my legs to my feet. I promptly phoned Dr. Paquette and made an appointment. He ordered another MRI. He told me that my back had degenerated to where there was actually bone on bone at certain levels and the discs had flattened out like a blown tire. We discussed the options such as more epidural injections and physical therapy. But when we discussed how many times I had already had it done without much relief, he decided it was not a good choice. Prior to talking about any potential back surgery he told me that he wanted another MRI of my surgically corrected cervical area. When I went for another appointment he told me that the Cervical MRI looked good and he was able to see fusing taking place. Then we started to discuss the surgery that was needed on my lumbar. He explained that it was quite intense. It would entail from L2 to S1. Dr. Paquette spoke with and made the arrangements with my insurance company. When that was taken care of and approved the next thing discussed was the hospital. That and the dates for the surgery were decided to be within 2 weeks. A week prior the surgery was scheduled I received a call from Dr. Paquette informing me that both the hospital and date of the procedure needed to be changed. The main screw needed to perform the operation was not contracted between the manufacturer and the hospital. The hospital gave Dr. Paquette an alternative way to perform the surgery. But Dr. Paquette told me he was not going to compromise the way he felt it needed to be done. As downhearted as I was, I appreciated that he was going to only perform the surgery, as he felt proper. Less then a week later he had gotten the approval of another hospital where he would be able to do what he felt was necessary.

On March 20th and March 21st 2009 Dr Paquette performed an L4/S1 trans1XLIF lumbar interbody fusion L2-L4, percutaneous screw fusion, and deformity correction L2-Pelvis. This was the first time in history that this technique of percutaneous pelvic screws was established.

Prior to the surgery, Dr. Paquette had told me that he needed to be out of town for a lecture on the east coast and would have to leave town 2 days prior my expected release from the hospital.

We discussed this and he told me if I did not feel comfortable we could reschedule the procedure. I asked if he would see me everyday and if one of the doctors from his office would see me to approve my release. He assured me he would see me a minimum of once a day and that one of his doctors would check me prior to being released.

When it came to be 2 days from my scheduled release from the hospital I had a problem and did not feel comfortable in going home. Dr. Paquette cancelled his trip for his lecture and remained in town to make sure all was all right with me. This level of compassion and care is mostly unheard of in today’s medical world and it has continued to be this way since this detailed procedure. Dr. Paquette’s executive assistant Julian Edwards is the type of assistant needed by a man as busy and caring as Dr. Paquette. Her knowledge and patience has helped relax and calm me whenever I have felt uncomfortable or begin to “think” too much (an innate trait of mine) of what may or may not occur.

I have called the office and spoken with Ms. Edwards more then I can count, and I mean in a single day, let alone a weeks period of time. She has knowledge of not only surgical procedures performed but dealing with insurance companies as well.

There is absolutely no other doctor I would ever allow to touch the spinal part of my body.

Even though I am not all the way back to my 30-year-old self quite yet, I am convinced with Dr. Paquette’s continued support and recovery techniques I will reach a level that will make living life a normal and happy experience.

– L.B.

My first experience with Dr. Paquette was in July 2007. I went to Dr. Paquette because I had a cervical neck injury. One of the things I liked about Dr. Paquette was he always gives me time to ask the questions I want to ask about my injury. Dr. Paquette was able to describe to me so in a way I felt comfortable about the process for the surgery and recovery from my surgery.

With my cervical surgery in October 2008 I was pretty scared. Dr, Paquette made me feel at ease and I had a great experience. I went in on a Friday morning, had a cervical disk replacement with fusion, and I was out the next morning. I felt very lucky. I still had recovery time and I had my physical therapy ahead of me but I felt great.

Dr. Paquette and his staff are very positive. Every time I call I am able to talk to someone right away or they return my call the same day. Knowing that I can reach Dr, Paquette or his staff and get any answers I need is important to me.

Dr. Paquette has a very positive approach with his patients. That positive attitude from Dr. Paquette always makes me as a patient feel good.

– L.B.

Several miracles happened leading to and on December 15 and 21 2009 in Los Angeles, California at Olympia Hospital where I underwent Scoliosis surgery under the skilled hands of Dr Justin Paquette.

To make a very long story readable, I will cut out most of the details of my journey.

I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis at the age of 15 in 1955. Today, that would probably be a reasonable age for the surgery with a very good prognosis. However, in 1955 the only expert in this field was in New York, so my uncle, an orthopedic surgeon, sent x-rays to him for an opinion. I was in no pain, and no one had ever noticed the deformity in spite of the fact that I was a dancer. The doctor in New York advised us that surgery would be ill advised because I had finished growing and my scoliosis would not progress. He said the only thing I might suffer would be a little arthritis when I was older.

During my youth, I had no back problems. I have always been physically active, dancing and later a gym devotee and jogger. I never complained of back pain until the early 1990s after an incident horse back riding. I had been living in Sydney, Australia since 1989, so this is where I underwent a laminectomy in early 1995 that was not successful and the pain intensified. Three months later the problem was corrected and a fusion of L 2, 3 and 4 was performed. I recovered well and was active and pain free until 2006.

During 2006 I began suffering severe back pain and spasms. X-rays revealed a back that was extremely compromised (to put it mildly). I would ask doctors and physical therapists if it were possible to correct the scoliosis. They would look at me like I was crazy. The first miracle occurred when a woman in my water therapy session told me she had undergone scoliosis surgery and she was straight and pain free. She urged me to consult her surgeon. Her curve was minor compared to mine, so her surgeon sent me to one who specialized in scoliosis surgery. He is the first doctor that had ever told me I could be a candidate for the surgery, and suddenly there was hope. My deformity had certainly progressed – the curve now measured 80°, and I had a very large hump on the right side of my upper back. However, this doctor was difficult to talk to and after sending me to a retired surgeon for another opinion, decided I should first be put into a full brace that I would have to wear during all my waking hours. Neither he nor the other surgeons would or could explain why I should go into this brace or what it would do for me. I was frustrated and in pain, severely limited in physical ability and at my wits end.

This now takes me to the biggest miracle, blessing or incredible good fortune – meeting Dr Justin Paquette in Los Angeles, California. I was going there to visit my children and grandchildren and went to him for another opinion before subjecting myself to a brace. He spent a long time with me and my daughter explaining my condition, procedures he would use and why and what the outcome might be. He confirmed what I thought – a brace would do nothing except make me miserable. My daughter and I walked out of his office determined to have him perform the surgery. I was filled with hope and confidence in his ability.

I underwent the surgery and his skilled hands have changed my life and my body. I was a very difficult candidate because I also have severe osteoporosis. I had just finished taking injections for the condition, and it was highly unlikely the condition would further improve. I presented a high risk, complicated case but Dr. Paquette was confident in his ability to perform most of the correction, and he did not give up. Every doctor that has seen the x-rays of the correction is visibly and vocally impressed. They just say “Wow! This surgeon is incredibly skilled and he knew exactly what he was doing.”

My recovery has also been amazing. I am constantly improving, and I know I made the right decision. I have never known a doctor, or for that matter many people, as accessible, kind, gentle and patient as Justin Paquette. He was there through the ordeal for my family and me.

If you or someone you know is living with the disability of scoliosis, the best advice I can give you is pick up the telephone and schedule an appointment for a consultation with Dr Paquette – he brings honor to the medical profession and a new life to his patients.

Addendum: I would be remiss if I did not mention Dr Paquette’s assistant, Julian Edwards. She was available, caring and reassuring in a way beyond any doctor’s assistant I have ever come across. She made sure any question or concern or problem I had was addressed immediately, efficiently and with real empathy. Thank you is too simplistic, Julian, but I am limited by language.

– B.K.

Dr. Paquette,

My name is Alix and I am a young woman, in my thirties. I was active and had a great career ahead of me.

Then one day, three years ago to the day, I was in an auto accident that changed all of that. I fractured my lower spine. I was told by another physician; the injury would heal up in a matter of months and wouldn’t hurt anymore. However, that just didn’t happen. I saw three other doctors; two of which were orthopedic surgeons, and one that was a neurosurgeon. The first doctor told me, “your back is always going to hurt, and you’re going to have problems with your back for the rest of your life.” He wrote me a number of prescriptions for pain meds that didn’t work for me. They did very little for the pain, and put my mind in a fog. This made it both mentally and physically challenging to do my job.

Then I saw a neurosurgeon. After reviewing my CT scan, he informed me I had been misdiagnosed. Originally, I was told I had a compression fracture. This doctor was now telling me, that what I really had was a burst fracture, which is a more serious injury, and that in conjunction with the location of the break explained why it wasn’t healing. Then I asked, “Aren’t there any surgical options available to me?” His answer was, “If your spine is operated on, there is a good likelihood it will only get worse.” Then he recommended physical therapy to me.

Then I got another surgical consultation from another doctor. I had read up on the kyphoplasty, and it seemed like a good option. This is a procedure where cement is used to fill in a fracture in the spine, so that strength is restored. This doctor told me, “It’s extremely dangerous to operate at the thoracolumbar junction (this is the area in our spine that we do all our bending, turning, twisting, etc.)He told me the surgery could leave me paralyzed, and was really not a good option for me.

So, there I was, in pain every single day for months on end. Some days were worse than others, but the pain was always there. It interfered with everything I did on a daily basis-my job, exercising and even sleeping was uncomfortable.

Then my mother suggested, I go on the internet and search: spine experts. She told me, to go and see them, no matter where they were. That is how I found Dr. Paquette. When I met Dr. Paquette, he told me, he could perform a surgical procedure that would put the spine back into its proper alignment and reduce the pain. He placed pedicle screws in my spine last September. The recovery was about a month. Since that time, my back doesn’t hurt anymore.

If you’re a patient with back pain, don’t let another doctor tell you it’s hopeless. All that means, is that they’re the wrong doctor for you. I know it’s scary to consider back surgery, but so is living with the pain for the rest of your life. If you see Dr. Paquette, you will be in good hands.

– A.

Dr. Paquette,

My name is Michael and I am 67 years old. I have been involved with building construction since the age of 8, when I would help my father on his construction projects and later my own projects. As you can conclude, I have been very active physically from an early age.

My Cervical Spine issues began at the age of 16 when my car was rear-ended causing a severe whiplash of my neck. At that time, I did the customary thing which consisted of physical therapy, neck traction, cold packs and anti-inflammatory medications. Over the years the problems with my neck increased with chronic neck pain and degenerative disc disease. The bulging disks at levels C-3/C-4 and C-6/C-7 caused severe pinching of my spinal cord with pain radiating down both arms. If not relieved it could have caused permanent nerve damage and even become a quadriplegic, or worse.

My Lumbar Spine issues began approximately 28 years ago when I fell onto my back causing herniation of the lumbar discs at 3 levels. Here again, the treatment was conservative and my condition degenerated over the yearswith the classic degenerative disk disease syndrome.

In 2008, after having numerous lumbar epidural steroid injections (most of which did not work), I took myself out of the customary network of doctors and discovered Dr. Justin Paquette. During our first meeting I was very impressed with this young neurosurgeon in that he is not only is an accredited neurosurgeon, but he has a PhD in neurology as well. To me that means that he is not only highly skilled in the “mechanics” of neurosurgery, he is accomplished in the “functional” aspects of how it all works.

Since that first meeting, Dr. Paquette has performed 3 surgeries: Cervical discectomies and fusion at levels C-3/C-4, on 2 occasions and most recently a Lumbar foraminotomy at 3 levels. I have experienced Dr. Paquette to be an aggressive neurosurgeon while being very conservative in his approach and follow-up. I not only recommend him highly, I praise his talent. THANK YOU JUSTIN!

– M.

Dr. Paquette,

My name is Terry Francis Zinger. I am a male 57 years in age and I have suffered from 24/7 relentless spinal pain that lead me to four suicide attempts over the last 41 years. I was using narcotic medications, an implanted Morphine infusion pump, and finally street drugs to try and stop this debilitating pain. Constant crying and not eating had begun to take my life by losing 70 pounds in the last three months before my final corrective surgery by Doctor Justin Paquette. By the way this was my 17th surgical procedure since 1983! From the original injury in 1968 conservative measure was the only thing available under workmans compensation guide lines at the time.

My life with pain was getting in the way of everything I tried to do. Eight failed marriages, Refusal of my only son to forgive me being such a poor example of a Father. Loss of two great careers: One as a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer in Windows 2000 and a State Licensed Computer repair and a Networking Instructor. The other career was as a Sr. Cost Accountant for a large Aero Space firm. I had no quality of life at all and I became very depressed until the great day I saw Doctor Justin Paquette. My Life began a road to recovery that I will forever be grateful. God placed this man before me and within 20 minutes had told me that he could indeed make the pain less and correct the problem once and for all.

Doctor Justin Paquette has replaced all the rod pieces for single length full rods running my entire spine from C-4 to S-1. Several connecting cross bars held everything in place and removal of nearly all disc material and some third generation knowledge and procedures were also incorporated into his miracle work.

Today, I have been able to reduce the Morphine pump by 30%, give up oral Narcotic Medications completely; solve constipation issues and most important is the reduction in my daily pain level which has gone from 9-10 on a scale where 10 is the most unbearable pain anyone could imagine to a 5-7 range after Doctor Paquette’s skilled surgery. Drug recovery and Physical therapy are very important to the recovery process and easy by no means. But the outcome is starting to become a pleasure. And let me also add without the thoughts of Suicide and the horrible side effects from constant medicating.

If you are someone living with spinal pain, numbness in your legs and hands, that awful burning pain across your hips and down your calf or any other pain condition please let me recommend Doctor Justin Paquette as the Surgeon beyond all other surgeons that does produce results.

– T.Z.

After many years of pain and suffering and 2 unsuccessful surgical attempts to correct my cervical spine situation Dr. Paquette was able to fix my problem and I am pain free for the first time in a long time. I cannot tell you what a life changing event his surgery has been for me, he has given my life back to me and for that I am so grateful. Dr. Paquette is a miracle worker and his staff is the best I have ever encountered, believe me I have been through the proverbial medical mill-house, I know what I am talking about!

Regard’s,
Don Cremer, Director of Customer Services & Sales
DC

As an avid cyclist I was accustom to ignoring pain.  I mainly ride mountain bikes and for some time my main bike was a rigid single speed.  I was continuously plagued with shoulder pain and never thought anything about it given the bike I rode.  I figured at 50ish years old it was to be expected.  I also have a history of riding and racing motorcycles off road.I woke up one morning with numbness and tingling in my right hand and figured I had slept wrong or something.  After putting up with the numbness and trying to ignoring it I finally went to a chiropractor.  I had some adjustments as well as massage and acupuncture but no relief.  I started to question the chiropractor because he never did an X-ray.  I decided to switch and went to ret another chiropractor that was recommended by a friend.  This time I had an X-ray done and the Dr. was shocked I wasn’t in more pain.  Apparently I had three crushed disks between C3,4,5 & 6.  At this point he referred me to a couple doctors.  I met with one and the first thing he said was I needed a fusion.  That wasn’t the answer I wanted so I moved on.  The next appointment was with Dr. Paquette.  I knew immediately he was the doctor foe me when he walked in with a black eye and some scrapes on his face that he said happened while mountain biking.  Once I told him of my lifestyle he recommended a laminoplasty because I would still have good flexibility.

I had the 4 level laminoplasty done on 3/12.  Sadly once he got in there I guess there was more damage than Dr. Paquette initially thought there was.  The recovery was slow and after all was said and done I ended up needing a 3 level fusion on C4,5 & 6.  It was done a year later on 3’13.   It’s now almost been a year since the fusion and I am getting more strength in my hands and arms.

It’s been a long road but I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  I am very thankful I chose Dr. Paquette.  He is a great doctor and really listens to his patients.  His staff is awesome as well.

Thanks for everything!!
Patrick Burton
PB

THANK YOU DR. PAQUETTE!!

To all of those perspective clients who have been searching for the “Right Surgeon,” look no further because you have found him! Dr. Paquette has given me a second chance to live a quality life again, once back on October 13, 2007 and most recently, September 17, 2010. I was 34 years old at the time, I had never been hospitalized, nor did I ever have any serious illness up until then. I was just a girl who was getting light headed when I turned my head to the right.I am not the type of person who is impressed easily by another’s assets, but what I do take notice of, is when someone is born with a gift and has the courage & integrity to use that gift to better the world & it’s living beings. Dr. Paquette is one of those types of people, he is what the nurse’s at Cedar Sinai labeled, “Hands of God,” because he has performed miracles on patients’ who were given a life sentence of pain management and some band-aids (i.e. physical therapy/ acupuncture / therapist for depression) as their final option. I should know he changed my life twice.

I will never forget the first time I met Dr. Paquette. We were sitting in the room waiting for Dr. Paquette to come in, I could see that my mom was nervous, which in turn made me nervous, she was a nurse and rarely let medical issues affect her, but my situation really scared her. I was fine, in fact, I had no idea how serious my situation was. The Door opened and entered a young, handsome man in his mid to late thirties; he was wearing scrubs, a designer suit jacket and a pair of cowboy boots. I remember thinking, there is no way this man is a doctor he should be on the cover of GQ magazine! I know my mom thought the same thing, until he began to talk to us about my MRI’s, it was clear than that this young man knew exactly what he was doing and suddenly his outer appearance melted away and his God given gift took over.

He explained what he thought the tumor was (aneurismal bone cyst) and what he believed was happening and why I was passing out each time I turned my head to the right. He spoke of a test he needed to do before he could give us an answer on whether he felt he could/should operate (an angiogram with a balloon test, which I failed). He talked about the risks of surgery and tried to explain that in most cases, unless symptomatic, aneurismal bone cysts are not removed because they have a reputation of growing back etc. I trusted him and his opinion from the start.

To say that removing this tumor was a dangerous, would be the understatement of the year. Other doctors would not touch it, mainly because it was too dangerous and my chances of survival were low. The reason; because it was feeding on my artery which meant that it had blood vessels inside it that were quite large and the chances of me bleeding out were very high. There was little chance I would survive, not to mention the fact that if they did remove it, 3 vertebrae would need to be replaced. There was also the chance that the tumor was malignant and I would have to go through chemotherapy.

It was early August when I was told that a tumor the size of a golf ball was attached to the anterior right side of my vertebral artery & cervical spine (it was wrapped around 3 vertebrae, from C2-C4). The tumor like cyst was eating away at my bone and feeding off my artery, this was beginning to affect my ability to function properly ( i.e. I would pass out anytime I turned my head to the right because the tumor would block any oxygen or blood from reaching my brain).

This was a very dangerous location because of the fact that this “tumor” had 3 very large blood vessels inside of it that were directly attached to the main artery leading to my brain, not only that, but while a normal person has a right & left vertebral artery, I had only one working artery ( since birth)! The chances of me bleeding out were huge, on top of the fact, that separating this thing from my neck could easily paralyze me if there was one wrong move!!

My surgery would be a first time for any doctor. Not only that but not one of his colleagues believed I would live through it (which I found out post-op). The big question was…how was he going to separate this thing from my artery, without killing me instantly?? If he succeeded it would put him in the medical books for future doctors to refer to (which I had no idea of), it was a ground breaking surgery that fell on his lap just because my mom just happened to have an appointment with him the week after I got my tests results. What are the chances?

On October 3, 2007 at 7 A.M., I was wheeled into the operating room. 9 ½ hours later the surgery was complete without a hitch. I’m not sure what was done to me inside that operating room. You would have to ask Dr. Paquette or read in one of the medical books it is now in, but I do know that it took him 6 ½ hours just to remove the tumor and another 3 to repair my spine. All I know is that I went in at 7 A.M. when it was dark outside and when I woke up I saw it was dark outside still, I couldn’t believe it when I realized it was 6 P.M., had I really been under for all of that time?

Within a month, I was back to work; within a year I was back to normal as if nothing had happened. To this day I still can’t believe the risk Dr. Paquette took, and the success he had. Without his courage I wouldn’t have a normal life, so thank you Dr. Paquette for saving my life.

This last surgery (6 weeks ago) was another situation where I was desperate for some relief of pain. My lumbar spine had collapsed in three places, leaving my sciatic nerve to be crushed by the fragmented vertebrae (which is the bones that had shattered and the sharp pieces where clamping down on the nerve) which left me in the worst pain I have ever felt and hope to never feel again.

I have spondylo- arthritis (arthritis of the spine, neck, hips and legs); its job is to eat away at all of the soft tissue around the bone (i.e. discs in spinal cord). My low back had been causing me problem for a very long time, but I could manage it through epidurals and pain medication. About 3 months ago I went in for a routine epidural on my lumbar spine and when I woke up, I was in agony! The epidural had somehow collapsed what was left of my discs and my entire upper body’s weight was now resting on my sciatic nerve OUCH!

Once again I went to Dr. Paquette and within a month I was back in surgery with not a worry in the world because I completely trusted him. As expected, I woke up 8 hours later and the nerve pain was gone!

For those of you who believe in God, finding Dr. Paquette was what I’d like to call a “God Shot”. If I could go around the world and speak to every person who has back problems, I would tell them to go see Dr. Paquette. Today is my 8th week since the lumbar surgery, my physical therapist is speechless at how far along I have come (I started seeing her 3 days ago), and it’s because of Dr. Paquette’s ingenuity that I am doing as well as I am today.

Thanks again Dr. Paquette! You have saved my future twice now.

Sincerely,
Michelle Marion-Warren
MMW

Because of Dr. Paquette, I am in position to enjoy my golden years. Having the recommended surgery gave me a freedom I may have otherwise lost. I was hit by a truck from behind and sustained nerve damage. By the 3rd day, I was in such pain I decided to see a chiropractor I had seen in the past and trusted. I wanted manipulation and to feel better; to this day he has never touched me.

The Chiropractor recognized my pain was not muscular. Instead of treating , he ordered a ” stat” MRI. Once he received results; he immediately referred me to Dr. Justin Paquette”. Although Dr. Paquette did not know my Chiropractor, he knew Dr. Paquette That was this turned out to be the best medical referral I have ever had. Dr. Paquette went over MRI and everything related to my condition. He gave me his professional recommendations ,yet didn’t rush me right into surgery; but was firm that it was necessary and not to wait too long. Over the next couple of months, Dr. Paquette and my primary care advice, I resigned to surgery, yet a little afraid. However having spent time with Dr. Paquette and his , staff, I felt confident I was in the BEST POSSIBLE hands and therefore less afraid . Several other patients spoke of how long they waited to see Dr. Paquette, that he had corrected other surgeon’s work and said he is “good”, I was impressed . He was right on with my injury and was also in tune with God’s plan for me. For a while I had two (2) pain management specialist; one via the military and Dr. Paquette. His first concern was adamant in not allowing anyone to inject cortisol into my neck ( C7 area). The disk was so intrusive into my spinal cord , he said swelling, a fall , a rear end bump could render me paralyzed. No one wants to walk around worrying daily that they may be paralyzed.

Some where during this treatment discussion process, my primary care doctor gave me anti-inflammatory medication and I was feeling somewhat better. The stubborn hard headed Teresa /me decided to try the shots from the military referral pain management specialist. The day the injection was scheduled, everything went wrong, ( yet right too). My BP was too high for the injections. I was ER trying to get it down. By the time it was low enough for me to leave ER (still too high for the injections), the Dr.’s office was closed. I received this as divine intervention and down right smarts on Dr. Paquette parts. That told me if he can be on the same page with God; he is the Dr. for me. Along with all the other positive affirmation I had heard for weeks/months, I knew Dr. Justin Paquette was indeed my neurosurgeon of choice. He had a full team at the hospital, all waiting to take care of me. I arrived alone; no friends or family and I was no longer afraid. Dr. Paquette was running a little late but that was OK with me; all these other people had me prepared and ready to go . When Dr. Paquette peaked behind the curtain to let me know he would be ready in a few; I was at ease. When he formally introduced everyone and their role , I felt I had family; a well trained medical team of my own. His final words were ” do you have any other questions ? I had none because Connie, Mario and other staff members had done their jobs well ! He said ok we are headed to surgery and I realized at that moment, I was resigned and had no fear ; none at all. Yes, God is always with me but it was my trusted and absolute confidence in Dr. Paquette’s special surgical ability.

He has not begun correcting my lower back problems. My neck/ upper back is heeling beautifully and I am still under Dr. Paquette’s care. I have also returned to work with restriction. To help in this area of care, my work station is being ergogenically corrected to prevent any additional pain and stress on the body. Eventually, Dr. Paquette and I will be headed back to surgery for my lower back injuries. This time I don’t have to second guess about anything or whose the best neurosurgeon; I already know.
Teresa Williams