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Sacramento Attorney Joins Consumer Push for Direct Access to Physical Therapist Services

Claims Current Health Care Process Impedes Patient Progress

(Sacramento, CA) Scott Galati, a local attorney, was at his fittest as he pressed on with his training in preparation for his first Ironman Triathlon. But early on, he hurt his back and ended up in so much pain, he couldn’t even stand up, so he went to see a physician.

“The orthopedic surgeon immediately proposed surgery, stating I had two herniated disks that required stabilization through the insertion of a metal cage,” said Galati. “He told me physical therapy would only aggravate my pain and cause re-injury. And he gave me absolutely no hope, emphasizing that even with surgery, there was no way I would be able to compete in the triathlon.”

As a last resort, Galati turned to a physician friend who recommended Sacramento physical therapist Cary Caulfield. Galati had to pay out of pocket for the treatment because Caulfield was an independent practitioner outside the medical group. The visit was more than worth the attorney’s time and expense.

“I went to Cary Caulfield, completely dejected that I was going to have to give up my lifetime dream of taking part in the Ironman event,” said Galati. “While offering no promises, Cary simply told me ‘let’s take one day at a time.’”

Caulfield helped demonstrate for Galati the different phases of healing and took the time to research all the body positions required of Galati to compete in the triathlon. With this information, Caulfield developed an appropriate regimen within his patient’s limitations: bending over his bike for the 112 mile cycling event, swimming the crawl for 2.4 miles and running the full 26.2 mile marathon for a total of 140.6 grueling miles.

In what may seem like a miracle, with Caulfield’s support and flexibility (the physical therapy extended into the weekends and some nights), Galati surpassed all odds, completing the triathlon slower than he wanted but clearly within the allotted time.

“What kept me going is Cary explained the difference between sour pain, when you’re truly hurting, and sweet pain, which comes when your muscles are hurting because of a tough workout,” said Galati. “When I experienced sweet pain, I kept going. When I felt sour pain, I took it easy. Knowing the boundaries of my physical limits allowed me to work through my pain. It got me through the Ironman and continues to get me through each and every day of my life since.

Galati believes he avoided unnecessary surgery and the associated costs and recovery time. “My friends have had surgery because of various aches and pain and they still have problems. By going to physical therapy, I got better and I still have the option for surgery later,” he added.

“I understand professionals all want to protect their turf but with scarce health care resources, it’s important that the medical profession comes together to put patients first. I was lucky to find a physical therapist who cared enough about me to get me back on my feet and provide me with a healthy quality of life. More health care professionals should be like Cary Caulfield. His expertise allowed me to fulfill my lifetime dream.”

Patients like Scott will benefit from AB 721, legislation which will allow patients to receive immediate treatment from physical therapists without the need for a physician diagnosis.


Editor’s Note: Shannon Mayo is an employee of ACS Quantum Strategies and is advocating on behalf of supporters of AB 721.

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