This is how I became an accident doctor: Francisco Quintana

An unexpected event

About six years ago, while driving on the Expressway to work, Dr. Francisco Quintana was involved in an accident that would unknowingly change his life. 

As he waited for his turn on a congested exit, he was rear-ended.  This caused him to rear-end the car in front of him, making that car collide with the one in front of that one.  “There were about five cars involved in the accident in total”, Quintana states. He was one of the most affected passengers because he received a second rear-end impact in the line of vehicles involved.

A few days later, on the recommendation of a friend of his wife, he arrived at Agape Health Provider accident clinic for a  check-up because he noticed that he was feeling battered after the incident. “It’s common not to feel the severity of injuries immediately after a crash but rather after a few days.” 

Although he’s a doctor in general medicine, he knew little about the world of personal injuries caused by accidents. Despite there being more than a thousand traffic accidents per day in Florida – according to statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)– Dr. Quintana had never been in an accident before, and in his medical practice, he didn’t see accident (personal injury) patients. 

His diagnosis included several herniated discs in the lumbar spine. This condition’s main symptom is chronic back pain and is usually treated with therapies. 

As the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states, only a tiny percentage of patients with lumbar disc herniation require surgery. Spinal surgery is typically recommended only after a period of non-surgical treatment with no effect on the pain. 

This time was challenging for Dr. Quintana. The pain diminished his quality of life, and he didn’t have the same energy for daily activities. “An accident is an unexpected event that makes you feel very vulnerable,” he recalls.” It’s not clear when you will start feeling better or if you will ever feel as good as before”.

Fortunately, at Agape, the doctor felt welcomed and supported by his therapists, which made a significant difference for him. “I completed all the therapies at Agape. I felt that they understood my situation well, which I greatly appreciated at that time.”

From accident patient to accident doctor 

In the end, Dr. Quintana completed about two months of physical therapy at Agape and regained his health. Still, he also returned as an internist physician at this accident clinic shortly after that, by invitation from the owner and staff. “After going through that experience, I became interested in this branch of medicine and the recovery process for these individuals,” he states. 

So, as an internist physician at Agape, Dr. Quintana remembers his experience as a patient. He knows that completing the nearly four weeks of necessary therapy for recovery can be challenging because the distances to travel are long, and there’s no time to waste. But he also knows completing them is essential for injury recovery and filing a claim. 

Today, as an internist physician at the Agape accident clinic, he must evaluate incoming patients and consider their pre-existing conditions and diseases. Injuries from accidents tend to be more severe in patients with health problems and previous injuries. 

One of the things that has surprised him as an accident doctor is that people tend to ignore their symptoms. “Sometimes they prefer to overlook discomfort,” he explains. That’s why he always advises his patients, in addition to completing all the therapies, to pay attention to their health and return if they don’t feel fully recovered. “The recommendation is to listen to your body more,” he adds. 

Accidents also bring opportunities 

After an injury, tissues never return to their original state. Improvement doesn’t reach one hundred percent. That’s why patients must remain vigilant. “I, for example, have seasons without discomfort due to my herniated discs, but sometimes I get overconfident and, with a wrong move, I relapse and have to go back to therapy,” explains the now accident doctor. 

Dr. Quintana understands very well how an accident can change someone’s life. “It’s a difficult and traumatic experience that makes you reevaluate your priorities,” he explains. He himself spent some time driving with the fear of being rear-ended again, even months after recovering. But, as with almost everything in life, he also learned that an accident can bring positive changes and opportunities too. 

After recovering, in addition to now treating personal injury patients, Dr. Quintana started exercising more and paying more attention to his diet to care for and strengthen his body. “Sometimes patients become more cautious after an accident and get in better shape than they ever were,” he says. 

In summary, an accident can bring many hidden lessons that surprise people. This is a process Dr. Quintana enjoys experiencing with his patients at Agape

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