"Not asking the right questions"
Posted by Astiforme (as ),
I phoned NHS 24 to state that I had intense pain in one part of my leg and numbness in my buttocks, genitals and part of the back of my leg. This was following on from my GP's advice earlier in the week when I had gone to him for a suspected trapped nerve in my back. He had advised me that if there was any change when wiping myself, I was to contact either them or out of hours urgently. Despite stating my symptoms, I was called back from someone who asked when my vaginal pain had started! ! I explained again and eventually was advised to attend the out of hours, but not to drive if I was numb. Remember this word, numb.
I get to Kings Cross to be seen by a Nurse who neither examined me, nor took any notes and who told me that I had sciatica, and people with sciatica go numb. I'd never had sciatica before and discussed the genital numbness and was told this was normal. If I needed more pain relief, I was to see my GP.
Long story short, after not being happy with this diagnosis, I went to my GP who referred me for an MRI. I was admitted for emergency surgery for impending Cauda Equina. The surgeon told me he would have liked to have seen me 24-48 hours after my initial presentation rather than weeks. There was nothing on my notes from the out of hours service about numbness - numb was never mentioned by them.
When you self refer to the physio on the national number they ask several questions regarding numbness, difficulty passing urine, etc which, obviously, are flags for Cauda Equina and demand urgent medical attention. Why on earth are these questions not asked by NHS 24? ? ? If I had been asked them when I had phoned, I may have had a better outcome than I have now. I find it incredible that these are not standard questions for all the services helpline staff. This needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I have no faith in NHS 24 at all now. I could have been left doubly incontinent if I hadn't had the impetus to go back and say something isn't right here. It is frightening and completely unacceptable.