Dr. Hass I thought was a great gastroenterologist for many years. He had a good bedside manner and I generally felt well cared for by visiting him at the medical center in Hamden CT.
I have reoccurring pancreatitis, and after five years of going to Dr. Hass, they have finally found the cause to be pancreas divisum. See below for the proper definition. I am part of the 10% of people who are born with this problem. Most people who have pancreas divisum never develop pancreatitis; I was one of those people who did.
Well Dr. Hass seemed to be very helpful in the beginning and I agreed with all the procedures ERCP's, MRI's and other tests that he thought I needed. Towards the end of our relationship he began pushing for me to get a Puestow procedure and scheduled me to meet with a surgeon. I spoke to the surgeon and he recommended a totally different procedure. I then decided to follow up with another Gastroenterologist to get another opinion. That doctor recommended yet another surgical procedure.
At that point I was very frustrated because each doctor was recommending a different procedure that involved major surgery. I just couldn't wrap my head around why each doctor who is supposed to be an expert in this field recommends different operations. I began doing research on the internet on each procedure that was recommended to me. The results were SHOCKING!
Most people who had these procedures were not cured of pancreatitis, most continued to have episodes and a percentage of them had complications after the procedure. Some became diabetic after the procedure.
I felt so lost and so powerless as these professional doctors who had my life in their hand couldn't come to an agreement with each other. But I am really happy that this happened because it caused me to do a lot of research on all these procedures that are supposed to cure pancreatitis. What I found is that there really is no cure yet! There are some cases where people have been cured, but it seems like those cases are more of a fluke than anything else. I would love to be proven wrong and if you have evidence that a particular procedure works to cure pancreatitis, I would love for you to provide it in a comment below.
I saw a doctor in Yale by the name of Priya Arvind Jamidar and he was very straight up with me. He said that there is no cure for pancreatitis. Some of those procedures can work to reduce the amount of flare ups but at this time there is no cure for pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is apparently not a well understood medical problem yet, meaning they do not know how to cure it, but they sure as heck wouldn't mind making some money of you at private clinics by performing procedures on you.
I look forward to the day when I can live without any pancreatitis flare ups, but until then I will just watch my diet and try to keep my stress down. Those are the only things that truly keep pancreatitis at bay. Also I see a pain management doctor to prescribe painkillers for my flare ups. And my flare ups are a lot less painful ever since I had a polyp removed from one of my ducts.
So if you get pancreatitis, don't be so quick to jump the gun and follow the advice of the first doctor you see. Go get yourself a whole set of opinions. Everyone is different so in some cases I'm sure it makes plenty sense to do something but if you are like me where the flare ups are triggered by diet or stress, painkillers get me through the pancreatitis flare-ups which are mild compared to the intense episodes I used to get a few years ago. Hats off to Priya Arvind Jamidar for being straight up and even supporting my decision not to get surgery unless medicine progresses on this subject and pancreatitis is well understood and becomes curable.
Take care and I hope this helps someone dealing with pancreatitis or any of the doctors mentioned!
BTW: I had an ERCP done which revealed that the tail end of my pancreas reduced in inflammation when compared to a previous ERCP done 6 months back, and Dr. Hass instead of thinking these are positive results pushed even harder for me to get surgery. When I told this to Priya Arvind Jamidar, he was very surprised, as was I and my entire family. That is when I decided to change doctors and course of treatment. I do thank Dr. Hass for telling me that I could go to a pain management center if I choose not to get surgery because at least I can get my meds for when I need them without being pressured to have some sort of surgery done.
Oh yeah, the surgeon (Dr Randall Zuckerman) Dr. Hass sent me to looked at my MRI where it clearly showed to some doctors that I have a pancreas divisum and he couldn't find any evidence of a divisum. Now that was scary, this guy can't even read and MRI and he wanted to do major surgery on me?
What is pancreas divisum?
The human embryo starts life with two ducts in the pancreas; the ventral duct and the dorsal duct. In more than 90% of the embryos, the dorsal and the ventral ducts will fuse to form one main pancreatic duct. The main pancreatic duct will join the common bile duct (the duct that drains bile from the gallbladder and the liver) to form a common bile and pancreatic duct which drains into the duodenum through the major papilla. In approximately 10% of embryos, the dorsal and the ventral ducts fail to fuse. Failure of the ventral and the dorsal pancreatic ducts to fuse is called pancreas divisum (because the pancreas is drained by two ducts). In pancreas divisum, the ventral duct drains into the major papilla, while the dorsal duct drains into a separate minor papilla.