Patient Credits Portneuf Staff for Helping Her Feel at Home Despite Sudden Spine Surgery

Cassia M., 39, tweaked her back while stepping out of the car. Four days later, the pain in her back was significant enough to bring her to the emergency room. The physicians at Portneuf Medical Center’s (PMC) emergency department, following a full diagnostic workup, informed her that she needed immediate surgery.

“Friday morning, my husband took me to the chiropractor for an appointment I had pre-booked,” Cassia said. “The Chiropractor took one look at me and said, ‘get to the ER.’ I practically crawled into the emergency room on all fours. They took a scan of my back and could see right away that I had a few ruptured disks that had fragmented into my spinal column which were putting extreme pressure on my sciatic nerve.”

Jordon S. Marshall, D.O., an emergency medicine physician at PMC, sat down and thoroughly explained her diagnosis and treatment options.

“Dr. Marshall calmly told me what they saw and said that they strongly recommend surgery right away,” Cassia said. “He was very reassuring and compassionate. I think he could tell I was hoping to avoid surgery and would’ve preferred to work this out on my own, but he could see that I needed to be told that was not the solution. He told me if he were in my shoes, he would do it. I don't know if it was because I was in so much pain at that moment, but his reassuring voice was what I needed to hear to realize this was more serious than needing a back adjustment from the chiropractor and I needed to just let them take care of me. They helped me get out of pain quickly so I could relax enough to decide to go ahead and schedule the surgery for the next day. I wasn’t prepared at all to be told I would need major surgery, but honestly, the staff was so sweet and kind I knew it would be fine. I knew it was the best and right choice.”

With that reassurance, Cassia was scheduled for a discectomy procedure the following day.

“I don’t remember everything leading up to my surgery, but I remember all the nurses being so great and kind,” Cassia said. “They talked to me, laughed with me and were very gentle with me as well. I enjoyed every one of them.”

While the nurses and doctors served as Cassia’s main support, she received excellent care from each department team member she dealt with during her stay.

“The food was fantastic, and I loved that they would call me to remind me to order so I didn't go without, as my sleep schedule was very wonky,” Cassia said. “I was blown away by the staff in every area. Between the ER staff, the radiology techs, the nurses and the doctors, the experience was just peachy! I felt like I was being pampered instead of cut open. It was a great three-day vacation and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat if I had to.”

Upon waking, Cassia explained she couldn’t even tell she had back surgery.

“After the surgery, I feel amazing,” Cassia said. “When I woke up my back felt almost normal, and I’ve stayed pretty much pain-free. I’m floored that I don’t even really have a treatment plan going forward. I thought I'd be doing physical therapy for months but at my post-surgery checkup, Dr. Morgan said I was doing great and didn't need it. He gave me instructions to ease back into my workouts and advised me on things to be careful with. He also explained he lasered my discs to help with my aging process which I thought was very kind of him.”

Cassia is very grateful Jonathan Morgan, D.O., a neurosurgeon, and Portneuf Surgical Specialist and part of the Portneuf’s Department of Surgery, was on call the night she was admitted.

“I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Morgan,” Cassia said. “I have met so many people since my surgery who have gone through similar situations. Everyone is floored at how fast and easily I have recovered. I do not doubt that Dr. Morgan’s expertise, experience and methods are to credit for that. I seriously can't even tell I’ve had surgery on my spine and I’m only three weeks out. I would recommend Dr. Morgan to everyone I know.”

For more information on Portneuf Medical Center’s surgical department, visit or give us a call at 208-239-1000.