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Physician Relationship Important to the Bastions

by UPMC

A relationship with a doctor can last a lifetime. Dan Bastion of Troy, turned to Rodwan Rajjoub, MD, neurosurgeon and spine specialist at UPMC Williamsport, in 1983 when he had a fall at work, and has been relying on him for more than 35 years. 

“I always tell him he can’t retire because I need him,” said Dan. “The initial injury was when I fell down a flight of stairs carrying a 150-pound meat slicer. I tried to live with the back pain, and was going to a chiropractor before someone pointed me to Dr. Rajjoub.”

One Fall Leads to a Lifetime of Back Problems

Dan did extensive damage to his cervical vertebrae and spine during the fall and has had nine surgeries over the years to improve his mobility and lessen his pain. He attributes physical therapy and surgeries for allowing him to live a normal life over the years. 

“My fall activated bone growth in my back, as the bone grows, it narrows the openings for my nerves in my spine. Dr. Rajjoub and opened up the area, giving me some relief,” said Dan. “Every time something goes wrong, he is there to help, but he only does surgery when we can’t find relief any other way.”

Care Worth the Trip

Although the Bastions live in Troy, just a few miles down the road from a community hospital, they travel an hour to Williamsport for all of their specialty care. Dan was born at UPMC Williamsport and has seen many of the same doctors for years. So, it wasn’t surprising when the Bastions were in a car accident in 1991, Dan’s wife, Sue, went to UPMC Williamsport to see Dr. Rajjoub for her care.

“We had a head-on collision, and I was the driver,” explained Sue. “I didn’t feel all of my injuries right away, but over the years, I have had two neck fusions, a plate put in my back, and two carpal tunnel surgeries. I’ve only trusted one person to do those surgeries — Dr. Rajjoub.”

Building a Special Relationship

One of the reasons the Bastions haven’t looked for a different doctor over the years is they fully trust Dr. Rajjoub, and their trust doesn’t come easily. 

“I could tell Dr. Rajjoub was a soft-spoken man, but I asked a lot of questions and wanted to get to know him before I let him perform surgery on me,” says Dan. “I asked him some unique questions and he answered everyone. He took his time with us and was very thorough.”

“My goal is to help my patients regain their lives from their current condition,” explains Dr. Rajjoub. “Neurosurgery takes a lot of medical knowledge, skill, and trust to have successful outcomes, and Dan’s problem required a precise diagnosis and treatment. I invest in developing that trust with my patients, and in Dan’s case, it took place over years of consultation and treatment.”

Before Dan’s surgeries, Dr. Rajjoub sits on his bedside in the hospital and explains every step of the surgery and recovery. 

In 2018, Dan had a stroke and has been working with Dr. Rajjoub and the neurosurgery team ever since to relieve some of the side effects he has experienced over the past couple of years.

“I firmly believe you are going to heal better if you have faith and trust in your doctor,” says Dan. “I can’t say enough about what Dr. Rajjoub has done for me and my family — I recommend him to everyone I know.”

Learn more about Neuroscience Services offered at UPMC in the Susquehanna region.