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Two Patients, One Family: Dr. Sonstein

Karen Martin first consulted William J. Sonstein, M.D., F.A.C.S., when a car accident left her with bulging disks in her neck and lower back. Since Dr. Sonstein was able to help her with her pain, she later recommended him to her 85-year-old mother with a history of lymphoma.

“I found myself in excruciating pain in my lower back, radiating down my leg,” Karen said. Dr. Sonstein diagnosed Karen with a pinched nerve and sent her for pain management at NSPC.

Dr. Sonstein is a Board-Certified Diplomat, American Board of Neurosurgery, and Chief of Neurosurgery at LIJ-North Shore University Hospital in Plainview. He specializes in complex, minimally invasive spine surgery, and he has extensive experience with Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF) for patients with severe back pain.

“I was supposed to get a series of three shots, and after the second one, I never had to go back for the third,” Karen said. “I was pretty much cured. It was a blessing really.”

In 2014 when Karen’s 85-year-old mother started experiencing similar lower back pain, she was misdiagnosed by other doctors. Karen’s mother had a history of lymphoma, and Karen explained the misdiagnosis of her pain: “For about six months, [my mother] went for physical therapy. They all thought it was a pinched nerve or sciatica, but she was in so much pain that I said, ‘Let me take you to Dr. Sonstein. He did a great job with my pain.’”

After consulting Dr. Sonstein, Karen’s mother had an MRI, which showed a lymphoma mass on her spine. “He was very compassionate and kind, and he got on the phone with her oncologist and set up an appointment for us. The staff was amazing too,” Karen said. After that, when Karen’s mother went for radiation treatments, she felt much better.

In conclusion, Karen offered some advice for fellow sufferers: “It’s very important… to have a proper diagnosis. The doctors at Neurological Surgery are very thorough, and even though [lymphoma] wasn’t something that [Dr. Sonstein] could handle, he knew exactly what we needed to do to take care of the situation.”