Patient Stories

Persistence Pays: Diagnosis of Mysterious Pain in the Shoulder

Ralph Cromartie, age 67 and retired electrician, started having pain in his left shoulder and went to the hospital thinking it was a heart attack - but it wasn’t the case. As the pain worsened over time, Mr. Cromartie consulted with a number of doctors to find help. 

“I was having a great deal of pain and none of the suggestions from the doctors [I had seen] over the years led to any relief,” says Mr. Cromartie. “I knew Hospital for Special Surgery was known for treating joint pain, so I decided to go there.”

Mr. Cromartie saw Susan Goodman, MD, a rheumatologist at HSS who diagnosed arthritis in both his shoulder and neck. “The patients who come to us for the treatment of osteoarthritis [OA] are at varying stages of the disease,” says Dr. Goodman. “Some patients may have osteoarthritis for years before their symptoms become seriously troubling.”

Dr. Goodman recommended injection therapy. “The pain was so bad that it got to the point that I couldn’t drive for more than five minutes,” recalls Mr. Cromartie. “Once she started the injections, the pain was gone.”  For the past three years, Mr. Cromartie has received injections every four months and is able to take a pain-free drive to see his grandchildren.

“Dr. Goodman is very patient-oriented and she has a wonderful staff,” says Mr. Cromartie. “As soon as I walk in the office they know who I am, they know my name, and genuinely seem concerned about me.”

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