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Please read below to see how patients have benefited
from Dr.Coufal


May 25, 2015

I am writing this testimonial for two reasons. First, I would like to thank Dr. Coufal and his staff for their hard work, dedication, and compassion. From diagnosis, to acquiring insurance approval, and to the surgery itself, they worked tirelessly to ensure that I would receive the care I needed. Second, I would like for anyone suffering from chronicc pain to know that there is hope for an improved quality of life. Since Dr. Coufal performed my surgery, I feel like an axe has been taken out of my spine. I wake up pain free and am able to participate in activities I never expected to be able to resume. Because Dr. Coufal works with phenomenal doctors, such as the preeminant vascular surgeon Dr. Terramani, he was able to perform the lease intrusive surgery, allowing for a rapid and remarkable recovery.

Thank you, Eric Cogan


April 5, 2014

Dear Dr. Coufal,

My name is Kylie Hill, I'm 10 years old, I'm Brendan Hill's daughter. This last Septemeber you peformed surgery on my Dads back. For as long as I can remember my dad had pain. He was limited on the activities he could do with us. It has been really hard on my brother Dominik and I, as well as my Dad. Since his surger he taught us how to play golf, taught us how to go kayaking, taught us how to play volleyball, and taught me how to drive a golf cart. Thank you so much fixing my Dads back.

Sincerely, Kylie Hill


March 27, 2012

Talented, great reputation for his technical expertise in surgery, amazingly patient in answering all questions concerns, caring , compassionate, confidence inspiring. For me, these adjectives describe Dr. Coufal. The only neurosurgeon who I have ever come across that could possibly be described in this way.

I feel so very fortunate that I found Dr. Coufal. I had seen about every neurologist and neurosurgeon in town over the years and not one seemed to have an answer. Not one of them acknowledged my symptoms were getting worse. Most of the time I found them to be in a hurry, condescending, overworked (and letting me know), seemingly uninterested in my case even telling me just to live with the problems. Yet, I knew my symptoms were getting worse even affecting my ability to walk. I think of myself as an active person and I knew something had to be done. I was becoming desperate. I just did not know where to turn.

My physician referred me to Dr. Coufal. After viewing all of my MRIs and studying the situation, without hesitation he took time to explain what had to be done. He took time to answer every single one of my questions. I had surgery right away December 14, 2012.

Post surgery, every time I have had a concern this office has gotten me in without delay. Again, I have found Dr Coufal very interested in my recovery, willing to listen, answer my questions and concerns. He has called me back personally to answer concerns. The surgery required great expertise since it involved my spinal cord and I feel that the surgery was a success. I am still in the process of recovery, rehab physical therapy for other symptoms that I had before the surgery, and it will be months before I know the ultimate results and how much improvement is achievable . I have hopes for improvement in function with time. Now, at least I know that the compression of my spinal cord has been relieved and that I am not deteriorating. For the first time in years I am free of a debilitating electric shock type of daily pain that radiated from my back around to front under my rib cage!

I would not hesitate for a moment to recommend Dr Coufal. He is the rare, exceptional physician/surgeon who has not lost a humanistic quality and approach that truly evokes trust in his expertise and talent.

Linda Valderrama, R.D.H


November 4, 2011
Dear Dr. Coufal:

(My son Chase) is an amazing young man and I count my blessings every day that he is alive and well, thanks to your miraculous Doctors. Chase returned to school yesterday and felt overwhelmed with the love and concern of the staff and students. He is looking forward to getting back on his skateboard as soon as Dr. Coufal gives him the green light, with his helmet glued to his noggin! I do believe a good comes from every bad and the good on this one is the "head safety" awareness amongst his skating peers. Hopefully, he has saved a life or two with his injury.

Thank you again, Jennifer Walleen


August 15, 2011
Dear Dr. Coufal:

Words cannot express how much we appreciate what you did for my husband Bob, but we felt we needed to send this note to thank you. Perhaps it will give other patients with the same condition some hope and ease their anxiety. We certainly had a lot of anxiety when you told us the extent of the surgery that Bob needed and the urgency. You can only imagine what went through our minds.

About a month after our initial visit, Bob became so weak he couldn’t cut a pancake. He couldn’t lift his arms higher than his shoulders. His balance was off, and we were afraid he’d fall. He hardly had any strength, and he needed help with his personal care.

I can remember how frightened my family and I were as we waited during the surgery. After surgery, you came out and told us everything had gone well. I told you that I wanted to dance with my husband again. Well, Dr. Coufal, we are doing just that. We are enjoying life again, thanks to your skill and expertise. Bob is functioning well and doing activities we feared he’d never be able to do again. You have given him his independence. This is the first time in almost 10 years that Bob is no longer taking pain killers of any kind, which is beyond our highest expectations.

Dr. Coufal, your calm and pleasant bedside manner was such a comfort to us. You never rushed our visits, and you took time to answer all of our questions. You always made us feel like Bob’s case was special and important to you. I’m sure you do this for all of your patients, which is an unusual quality for a surgeon. You took time to get all necessary tests before making a decision about the surgical procedure (This was not the case with the first neurosurgeon we visited). You also pushed up the surgery date and fit it in your schedule when Bob’s condition deteriorated quickly and unexpectedly. I called you in the morning, and we had an appointment to see you that afternoon. Within three days, he had his surgery.

We also want to thank your office staff who helped us with appointments, tests, admission, and pre-op procedures. As you can imagine, we sing your praises to our friends and Dr. Lobatz, and we highly recommend you.

Thank you, Rita & Bob


April 13, 2011
Dear Dr. Coufal:

On April 13th, 2011 you performed my spinal surgery. I attribute my life without pain to your remarkable surgery. There are no words to express to you how grateful I am for giving back to me a quality life. Please accept this gift with my gratitude. .

Sincerely, Beverly Skinner


March 27, 2011

On the 27th of March, I collapsed at home in the presence of my mother and father. The quick response time of the ambulance led me to a CT of the head where it was confirmed that I had a brain aneurysm. I was sent to Scripps Memorial in La Jolla where I was lucky to be in the care of Dr. Coufal and his team which included Drs. Yoo, Ammirati, and Barr. After six hours in surgery which, as I've been told, included a few very close calls, I spent six weeks in Scripps in ICU and PCU being cared for by a very skilled staff as my healing process began in an induced coma at first, and, as I regained conciousness, various therapies to overcome movement and cognitive thinking impairments at Scripps Memorial Encinitas for acute rehabilitation. When I was well enough, they sent me home with scheduled follow-up visits to Dr. Coufal's offices at LJNA. I can honestly say that my happiest moment in 2011 was the opportunity to shake the hand of the man who saved my life. In fact, every visit to Dr. Coufal involved feelings of warmth and caring as all my questions were addressed with professionalism and put into language that my family and I could easily understand.

While I'm still in the early stages of my recovery, attending therapies to get myself back to pre-aneurysm status, I have no doubts in my mind that this road,paved by Dr. Coufal and his team, will lead me straight there. The doctors, nurses, and all the various profesionals I've encountered during my tour of San Diego healthcare facilities are credited with my "miraculous" recovery. In fact, it's these miracle-workers that I owe my ability to even write out this letter of thanks.

So, thank you for everything, Dr. Coufal and your team of surgeons and physicians.

April Abarrondo


May 10, 2010
Dear Dr. Coufal:

Two months ago to-date (May 10, 2010), a car hit me as I crossed the street. The Oceanside Police, paramedics, and many strangers and friends all assisted me. However, I must thank YOU and your trauma team at Scripps for your expertise and care. This is why I am here today. Scripps gave me the ultimate kindness, care, and comfort to ease my pain. I will never forget anyone who served and sacrificed. You are all in my prayers daily as I recover still. I was lucky to have you, Dr. Coufal, and no words can express my true gratitude. Many blessings to you, your family, your staff, and Scripps. Many angels will be with you as they were with me on May 12th, 2010.

Patricia Koerr


September, 2009
Dear Dr. Coufal:

France was the first international trip since Michael’s accident in September of 2009. I continue to thank God for Michael’s recovery and for the great gift of your profession. Our son Michael is now engaged to Ann Marie. They plan to marry next year. You are in my prayers.

Ever so grateful, Patty Kersey, AZ


November 1, 2008

I woke up one day feeling dizzy and nauseous. I had never experienced symptoms like this before, and thought it might be the flu or food poisoning. I we: told that is was probably vertigo, arid that it should go away soon. Instead, the symptoms worsened to the point where 1 could not move my head without getting dizzy and feeling like I wanted to throw up. My family doctor sent me in for an MRI exam.
You can imagine my shock and horror when I got a call an hour after my MRI from my doctor telling me that the radiologist ''found something'' on the MRI, and that I needed to see a neurosurgeon right away.

Fortunately for me, my doctor knew Dr. Coufal, and got me an appointment that same day. Dr. Coufal showed the films to me and my fiance and explained that I had a tumor or cyst in the cerebellum section of my brain, and that he wanted to operate as soon as possible. As scared as I was, I was also relieved to finally know what had been ailing me. I was also relieved (as was my fiance) after Dr. Coufal patiently explained the procedure and told me what to expect. He said after the surgery I would experience immediate relief from my symptoms. He also told us not to postpone our wedding which was only three months away! Dr. Coufal's confidence professionalism and caring gave us both the sense we wire in great hands.

Later that evening I was admitted into intensive care to await surgery. Dr. Coufal's office did a fabulous job scheduling and coordinating my surgery for the very next evening. It was no small task, first to End a bed for me in ICU that night, and second to schedule a surgery on a Friday evening before a long holiday weekend. I am very grateful for their hard work in making that happen. My discomfort seemed to be worsening by the hour.

The surgery took place as scheduled on Friday night and lasted for over 4 hours, I woke up early Saturday morning to my fiance and family smiling at me. Dr. Coufal was there as well to tell me the surgery was a success. I was later told that Dr. Coufal took the time after surgery while I was still sleeping to sit with my family and answer their questions. The time he spent with my family went a long way to putting them at ease.

The abnormality in my brain ended up to be a benign cyst. The continued growth of the cyst was the cause of my worsening symptoms. With the cyst removed, I felt remarkably better.

Within about two months following surgery, I was 100% recovered. I can't tell you how thankful I am to Dr. Coufal and his team for taking such good care of me. When my wife and I look back and talk about the whole experience, we remind ourselves how blessed we were to have had such an exceptional doctor. Dr. Coufal is truly one of a kind.

Stephen LaSala




April 5, 2006
Dear Dr. Coufal:

Could you please share this with your staff and colleagues at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. As you know, I had broken my neck and dislocated my shoulder while surfing on November 13, 2005. My plans were to surf that morning and then meet up with family and friends to celebrate my 50th birthday. Instead, I had the fortunate opportunity, under stressful circumstances, to meet you.

You and your colleagues spent 7 ½ hours in the operating room doing neck surgery on me, rebuilding the 6th ad 7th vertebrae. Then I spent five days in Scripps Memorial Hospital recovering and having numerous people and professionals watching over me.

This not normally the type of surgery you would do without checking and or researching credentials. I was very lucky to have you on the Trauma Staff at the time of my accident. I am going to say that somebody was watching over me. Everybody in your staff, along with all the nurses and employees of the hospital, were great.

I would highly recommend you and your staff to any individual that is requiring neurological surgery. I take a lot of comfort in knowing that I am still doing the things I pretty much like to do. I owe this to you.

I will always remember my 50th birthday, and I am very happy to have met you. You saved my life.

Thanks for everything.
Terrill (Terry) Gibson


March 22, 2006
Dear Dr. Coufal:

This letter is long overdue, but I want to “thank you.” Thank you for saving my life. That may sound pretty basic to some, but to me it means that you used your knowledge and gifted skills to heal.

As you know, on October 9, 2005, I fell in my driveway and broke my neck. The break was so severe; you said you had never seen such a bad break that didn’t result in either death or the person being quadriplegic. Being nearly 79 years old, I was in a very serious situation.

Your performance during the 9-hour surgery was done with love, passion, gift, smarts, adrenalin and God’s hand. I mentioned that “I owe you”- you said you don’t work for me, you work for the Lord. Well, you certainly do. You use the gifts He gave you to the fullest extent, and I was one of the blessed recipients.

I am so grateful that you were called in to assess my condition; thankful that you took my case, and so very blessed that your hands are guided by God’s power. I am 100% healed and a walking testimonial to the skills that you possess.

All my best and my love,

Jim Stonhaus



If you are sitting in Dr. Coufal’s office reading this or happen to run across his name on the Internet in search of finding a reputable Neurosurgeon, your search has ended.

My story begins with a chance meeting with Dr. Coufal. I will try to keep my story short and to the point. I can tell you one thing, if it were not for Dr. Coufal I could be sitting in a wheelchair right now.

I began to have excruciating pain in my lower back that ran down the right leg to the foot and then the pain started to do the same on the left leg. This happened in about a two month span where I went from being a pain free, healthy, happy, person to a person I didn’t recognize that relied on medication to get me through each hour of the day. After taking a variety of medications for pain, the pain was still there. I can’t tell you how many pain pills, muscle relaxers, ibuprofen, steroids and pills to deaden the nerve endings I tried, all in hopes of alleviating the pain. I made a decision to request an MRI, as I could no longer stand the pain and the thought of being in a constant state of medication worried me as to what damage it may cause my organs.

The mystery and diagnoses of my back pain came to realization after that MRI. I remember being asked (while I was I the MRI machine) when I had back surgery. That was my first inclination that something was terribly wrong, as I never had back surgery. When they brought me out of the MRI machine I was greeted by the Radiologist, another not so good sign. The Radiologist informed me there was a mass growing within my spine and that this was holding my spine together, as it had consumed one or two vertebrae. The Radiologist also advised me that I was going to the Emergency Room immediately, because any wrong turn, slightest jolt or misstep would paralyze me.

On February 16, 2006, I will say I probably met Dr. Coufal in the ER; however, I don’t remember a lot after being admitted into the ER. I do remember (and this is no exaggeration) that when I was asked by staff as to who was gong to do my surgery and I told them Dr. Coufal, the response was always consistent. Every time the response would be positive and only good things were said such as what a great surgeon he is. I was admitted and was going to have surgery in three days but I did not know what Dr. Coufal was going to do or the extent of the surgery details.

The surgery day came and went, and I am going to skip a lot of details of being in the Intensive Care Unit because I just don’t remember much from those three days there. From what I was told, the surgery took almost nine hours and was very demanding and challenging on Dr. Coufal and all those involved. When I started to become aware of the outcome of the surgery and what it entailed, it truly amazed me that Dr. Coufal saved me from being paralyzed. I found out the mass was a rare Aneurysmal Bone Cyst, which was diagnosed days later as benign, and it’s not really known how or why it appeared.

I remember my husband telling me that he asked Dr. Coufal if he ever had a case involving an Aneurysmal Bone Cyst and he said yes one other. I also learned rods and screws were now in place to stabilize my lower back along with bone taken from my hip for a bone graft. It’s truly amazing what modern medicine can do, and in this case save me from the worst case scenario.

It’s been three months since the surgery. I will tell you it will and does take time to heal. I have some aches and pains, but they are from recovering from a very extensive surgery. These aches and pains are nothing compared to how I was before, and being pain free is worth every piece of hardware in me. At first it bothered me to see the hardware in my back (Radiology gave me a copy of all the MRI and CT scans), but I’ll take hardware over wheelchair any day.

I cannot begin to thank Dr. Coufal enough for saving my life. For anyone who has a chance to meet him, he leaves an impression. He’s very optimistic, encouraging, positive and very sure of his ability to perform a tough surgery. I think he said it was good to see a smile and color in my face and that I looked happy. I say that because when he first saw me in the ER, he said I had a grim look and my skin color was Grey because of the severe pain.

It feels good to be myself again; smiling, alive, happy, walking and mostly pain free from my body adjusting to thee hardware. It is truly amazing how Dr. Coufal gave me my life back, and for that I cannot thank him enough.

If anyone wishes to speak to me, please contact Dr. Coufal’s office.

JoeAnna Snowden



March 2006
Normally I would do heavy exercises; I enjoyed doing heavy job duties. Three years of my life was dedicated to giving courses on computer repair to other workers. In general, these employees had back injuries, and none of them wanted to do the operation they needed because of the possibilities of becoming paralyzed.  I felt healthy until the day I could not get up from bed due to an intense pain in my left leg. The only way I felt comfortable was lying down. That day they took me to an orthopedic surgeon and traumatologist. They took x-rays and after reviewing the results they performed physical tests and gave me pain meds, and told me to follow up in one month. During the next couple of days the pain worsened, so I was referred to a neurologist who recommended an MRI Scan of my back. I tried to get up, but the intense pain would not let me. Finally paramedics had to go and take me to the El Centro ER. After taking an MRI, and having a neurologist, neurosurgeon, and a radiologist review them, they recommended the next step to be physical therapy. After the second day of physical the pain returned and I was unable to continue doing it. I was in a wheelchair, about to be only 50 years old, and three children needed to be taken care of. My neurologist commented to me that the surgery would be a major one and if I decided to go forward with that option I should find a spine specialist. I thank my neurologist who helped me understand and accept my problem. After a long investigation I came across the name Frank Coufal, a neurosurgeon with good experience and with, according to his curriculum vitae, a great interest in the spinal cord. I had spoken to other neurosurgeons and even went to appointments and cancelled some. When I called to Dr. Coufal’s office the first time, I spoke with the receptionist who treated me very pleasantly, and I felt she was very proud of her boss. I noticed that she admired him for how he was with his patients. I could sincerely say that this gave me the confidence and assurance that I was calling the right place. When I saw the doctor he asked me to explain my situation, and then performed several physical tests. He explained I had a herniated disc and a cyst that was putting pressure on a nerve, what I should do, along with all the other details of the recommended surgery. I asked him if this was a common procedure and he answered “this is a common surgery for me”. One day after the surgery a physical therapist got me out of bed and had me walk. They discharged me from the hospital after four days. The team of nurses, therapists, anesthesiologist, and general personnel of Scripps Hospital in La Jolla treated me with excellent service and were well organized. My therapist in El Centro was very shocked because this was the first case in which one of his patients after a fusion had no pain doing the therapy. It’s been 3 months since my surgery and I have been back to work for 3 weeks. I feel so healthy that I made a bet with my daughter that I would race her on Christmas. I think that behind every successful surgery is a good specialist and a trustful, professional staff. Dr. Coufal has it.

Jose Dennis


As the reality of what happened to me slowly starts to sink in, I can’t help but know that my life was spared because of Dr. Coufal. Throughout the course of my injury and recovery, there were several instances when I can remember being truly panicked: first, when I got to the hospital and was told not to move; second, when my neck felt so fragile after the surgery; third, when I was told to move my neck again after my brace came off; and finally, when my thoughts would wander onto the idea of never being able to move again. When I was first told that I would not be returning home from the ER the night of my injury, I experienced the first of several scary moments. The next would be when Dr. Coufal told me that surgery would be necessary if I wanted to move again. When Dr. Coufal was explaining the procedure, I must admit that I zoned out and focused solely on not moving any part of my body for fear that moving an inch might cause me permanent paralysis. My parents, however, were the ones asking question after question and it was Dr. Coufal who put my family at ease. He was always calm, patient, and understanding as my family continued to ask questions, trying to understand what was going to happen.

Dr. Coufal, being so humble, would never boast that he is responsible for my being able to live a normal life, but without him it would not be possible for me to even type this. He is the reason that I am still able to walk and move freely. Even now, I sometimes forget that I have broken my neck because Dr. Coufal left such minimal evidence that my injury even occurred.  Dr. Coufal not only took care of me, but my whole family and it is hard to put into words how much he means to all of us. I remember the day when Dr. Coufal told me that I was 100 percent better and that this would be my last appointment with him. My heart sank because it is hard to imagine not seeing the person who gave me back my life and a future without any limitations.

Katy Boyd





June 4, 2000
I was involved in a devastating car accident in which I was thrown from our conversion van at 70 miles an hour.  My body crashed into a concrete barrier over a highway bridge.  As a result, I sustained a serious cervical dislocation rendering my body quadriplegic with a complete spinal cord injury.  Neurosurgeon, Dr. Frank Coufal, fused my neck from C4-C7, and broke the traumatic news that I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

My entire team of doctors, including Dr. Coufal, was amazed to watch my recovery.  It seemed like a lifetime, but gradually over the next year and a half, I regained the ability to walk again WITHOUT assistance.  

Today I walk with a limp and struggle with decreased hand function, as well as stiff and sore muscles, but I have regained my independence to care for myself and my family.  I am also able to travel the country for a living with my husband to share my story through our music ministry and instill hope in others who suffer.    

Dr. Coufal's incredible care and compassion through this tragic event in my life has indeed been a blessing beyond words!  Although he has moved from Kansas City, I will continue to seek his expertise with my injury and highly recommend him!

Pam Morgan