Successful Surgical Outcome Entices Philly Police Officer to Shore

Big name hospitals in the City of Brotherly Love have beckoned patients to make the trip from the shore area to Philadelphia for years. A complete reversal of that trend proved to be the best choice when a Philadelphia man headed to Shore Medical Center for treatment for his debilitating back pain.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Francis Kralick of Shore Physicians Group said emphatically that surgery is not the solution for everyone and not always the answer for a patient’s problem or pain. But for retired Philadelphia Police Detective Robert Parrotti the lumbar fusion performed by Kralick earlier this year was the perfect answer for his problem.

Parrotti said he had been treated at a major Philadelphia hospital, received multiple injections to help alleviate the chronic back pain he was living with but inevitably the pain would return after the injections. Parrotti said, “I was miserable. I could not stand, I could not walk and I could not sleep because I was in so much pain and I went to doctors who told me that at my age (76), I would just have to bear it. That is tough to hear at any age when you have pain every single day. I started to avoid going to events because when you are in that much pain, it’s just hard to be around people.”

Then a friend told Parrotti of a doctor he knew and trusted from his days at Hahnemann Hospital, Dr. Francis Kralick who since had moved to the area permanently and was now a member of Shore Physicians Group. “My friends questioned why I was heading to the shore for a doctor when I am in Philadelphia with all these great hospitals and doctors,” said Parrotti. “But I had been to doctors in the city and no one was giving me a reason to be optimistic so I called Dr. Kralick on the advice of a friend and I will tell anyone, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. He took the time to talk with me and to be honest with me.”

Kralick agreed to see Parrotti and it was after that initial meeting with the neurosurgeon that Parrotti felt he finally had a reason to be optimistic. He took the time to talk with me and to be honest with me.” Parrotti said when he spoke with Kralick that the doctor resonated confidence and that gave him confidence and sense of trust. Kralick weighed all the factors and provided Parrotti with the information and prognosis as he saw it. “I make my assessment and then provide the patient with the information so it will allow them to make their own conclusion,” said Kralick. “And I encourage patients to get a second opinion.”

The neurosurgeon said he will possibly see 20 patients in a day but only recommend surgery for one or two. Kralick said that for him to recommend surgery for a patient there needs to be a number of mitigating factors including the expectation of improvement for the patient. He said it is very important for the best possible outcome for the patient that the surgery be appropriately timed to assure the most successful outcome for the patient.

Kralick said that in cases like Mr. Parrotti, patients are living with significant pain that is impacting the quality of their life. And while the physician says he never gives his patients false hope and never says he can alleviate their pain 100 percent, if in his assessment performing surgery will significantly improve the patient’s quality of life he will recommend it.

Weighing all of Robert Parrotti’s factors that were contributing to his chronic back pain Kralick performed a lumbar fusion (L2-L5). For the patient, the outcome was nothing short of spectacular. “The surgery 100 percent improved the quality of my life. My family and my friends can’t believe it. I appreciate the little things I was missing now that I have my life back,” explained Parrotti.

For the full benefits of the lumbar fusion to be realized Kralick told his patient it will be nine months to a year. Parrotti said as part of his daily routine he walks every day, something he had not been able to do for years. He is also diligent about doing aqua therapy in the pool and doing his stretches in water.

A grateful patient, Parrotti heaped accolades on his surgeon but it did not end there, he had high praise for Shore Medical Center Advanced Spine and Orthopedic Unit fourth floor nursing team helping him to get back on his feet, quite literally. Kralick likewise praised the Shore ASOI team for their focused commitment to patients post operatively and said the care his patients receive after surgery is one of the reasons making the choice to travel from Philly to South Jersey for surgery is a good one.

To learn more about Shore Physicians Group and options for spinal and lumbar surgery as well as a complete list of physicians and specialists visit