A Patient Broker Finds Space For The Experts Who Saved Her
As an outgoing, healthy 24-year-old Pilates enthusiast, Lindsay Nicholas was beginning a promising career in real estate when one day, out of the blue, she started to experience excruciating back pain.
“It was absolute misery,” she recalls. “I originally thought I might have pulled a muscle and assumed it would heal itself.” Lindsay continued her active lifestyle, did Pilates four days a week and dealt with the discomfort. Four months passed. The pain did not go away. It only intensified. “It was finally my Pilates instructor who suggested it was time to go to the doctor,” Lindsay admits, “because I was unable to continue my normal activities.”
By that time the pain was waking Lindsay up every night. “It was so bad it was almost paralyzing,” she says. “I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I saw an orthopedic spine doctor in Newport Beach, but despite his efforts to diagnose me, I continued to get worse. I began to really worry that there was a bigger issue that everyone was missing.”
Lindsay went to see more doctors and specialists in Orange County. Her back was carefully examined. The MRI she had taken did not show anything out of the ordinary. Nobody could find anything wrong with her. She was diagnosed with muscle pain. She was given an anti-inflammatory, cortisone shots, and physical therapy.
But her pain levels continued to increase. “Even though the physical therapy was not helping, they continued conservative treatment for about six months,” Lindsay says.
In August 2008, Lindsay was seeing a chiropractor who specialized in sports medicine in Newport Beach. “When he started treating me, he said that he would give it a go, but if I didn’t start to get better he wanted me to see a doctor in Los Angeles that he knew,” Lindsay says. “That doctor was Dr. Horrigan.”
A few weeks later, Lindsay headed 50 miles north to meet with Dr. Joseph Horrigan at D.I.S.C.’s Soft Tissue Center in Marina del Rey.
“Dr. Horrigan immediately was able to tell me that something was not right, and that I should talk to Dr. Bray,” Lindsay explains. “The benefit of having Dr. Bray and his expertise – literally in the next room – proved to be a huge benefit to me.”
Dr. Bray took more MRIs of Lindsay’s aching back. A closer look revealed that she was suffering from something far more serious than thoracic muscle pain. Dr. Bray diagnosed Lindsay with T.E.A.M. disease, and advised her that she would require spinal surgery. He was the head surgeon on all of her operations. “I’d looked at doctors all over the country, and I remember looking at Dr. Bray’s resume and thinking, ‘Wow. He’s one of the best, if not the best.”
After a total of four surgeries, Lindsay is finally pain free. “I feel better than I’ve felt in two years,” she enthuses. “Dr. Bray says that I’m cured.”
Lindsay works at Cresa Partners in Newport Beach, a commercial real estate firm that specializes in representing only tenants. When Dr. Bray told Lindsay about his vision of opening an office in Newport Beach, he engaged her and Cresa Partners to target the perfect location for his expanding practice.
Lindsay’s experience as a D.I.S.C. patient gave her unique insight into what Dr. Bray and his colleagues would require to make their new medical facility function beautifully for both doctors and patients alike. She worked closely with Dr. Bray and his management team to provide customized solutions.
“I understood D.I.S.C. and had a vested interest in having them nearby,” she says. “As much as I love Marina del Rey, I can’t wait for the D.I.S.C. team to be in Newport Beach so that my 45 minute drive will be cut down to five minutes and I can easily continue my soft tissue and post-operative rehab down the street!”
The new D.I.S.C. offices in Orange County will be centrally located right off the 73 Highway at the intersection of Jamboree and Bristol. “It’s going to be a Class-A facility,” Lindsay says of the six-story building that used to provide headquarters for Downey Savings. In addition, D.I.S.C. in Newport Beach will include all of the same services that patients enjoy in Marina del Rey. There will be a state-of-the art surgical center, a soft tissue center, a clinic and an imaging center—all under one roof. “Which means you can get examined by a world class specialist, get your MRI, and then sit down with Dr. Bray and have him read your films with you, explaining everything.”
“There’s not a medical group that is like D.I.S.C. in Orange County,” Lindsay adds.
“We represent integrated care,” Dr. Bray says, “Or what we like to call truly multi-disciplinary care. D.I.S.C. not only employs spine surgeons, all of whom are trained in minimally-invasive surgery, but orthopedic surgeons from all specialties: hand, foot, knee and joint replacement, as well as pain management, sports medicine and chiropractic doctors.” D.I.S.C. also has PhDs in sports psychology, strength conditioning coaches who train professional and Olympic athletes, along with nutritionists and acupuncturists.
“We built D.I.S.C. to look at every aspect of care,” Dr. Bray adds, “because there wasn’t really one design or building that could do all of this.”
The lease is signed, and construction is scheduled to begin in the new year. D.I.S.C. expects to open its doors to patients in Orange County in May 2011.