"I could have been paralysed"

(as the patient),

I had emergency surgery two weeks ago.

For the last 3 years. I've been in pain from a car crash. GP referred me to an orthopaedic consultant, who diagnosed me and performed surgery. Therein, it all began. I was told that I was going to have a microdiscectomy or discectomy, after surgery I was now told I'd had a laminectomy and wallis stabilisation. I saw the consultant once in my week stay at hospital, and I felt I didn't get any answers from him.

I felt the outpatient appointments were pointless. They sent appointments to the wrong address various times, cancelled the appointment when I'd turned up to it (after travelling 50 miles especially for it) and I saw a different doctor each time I turned up. These different doctors told me different things: 1) my back was mechanically fine and the pain was neuralgia 2) I still have 2 slipped discs but thanks to the laminectomy they are no longer trapping the nerve and 3) I only have one slipped disc but it's not causing problems. I could not get a clear view on what was actually wrong with me and why I was still in so much pain, and developing numbness in my legs.

I believe these appointments were always unhelpful and made me feel more distressed. They tapered off to once every 6 months.

My pain got worse and worse over the course of a year and I was prescribed stronger and stronger opiates. By the end of this year (roughly about 3 months ago now) I had been told I had chronic pain, that was it.

Through sheer accident, did A&E doctors in another hospital discover that I had a prolapse causing cauda equina, and I was rushed through to surgery. I wasn't allowed to wait, because there was a good chance of me becoming paralysed.

Had Sussex County Hospital (brilliant!) not discovered this, I think Mayday University Hospital would be still doling out the pain pills.

I'm only 20, and I can't process that I could have been paralysed.

I think the operation and the state of my body afterwards should have been explained properly to me. There should have been at least a little continuity of care in terms of seeing different doctors with different opinions. More importantly, I believe someone should have noticed that I developed a serious neurological condition.

I've lost all faith now in the Mayday orthopaedic department.

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