"Horrified by Neurosurgery- via Outpatients and..."

About: Charing Cross Hospital

I have been suffering with 3 prolapsed discs in my back since 2012 and have been visiting the pain management team at Charing Cross for treatment.

In April this year my back got far worse, and I met with pain management mid-May, who advised an operation to fuse my discs is required. However I first needed a neurosurgery appointment to ensure it is safe to conduct the operation. An urgent referral was raised to Neurosurgery and I was told I would be seen within 4 weeks. I received no word from the hospital and chased the neuro dept early July. My referral had not been picked up. I then received a letter inviting me to an appointment on the 31st October (4 months overdue).

Over the last few weeks my back pain has increased to severe levels and I can no longer walk, lie or sleep comfortably due to tremors caused by nerve pressure. I began to experience loss of sensation in my lower back, accompanied by excruciating pain and so I attended A&E on Monday 18th July. I was seen by a doctor who arranged an MRI and review by a neurosurgeon. The MRI showed that I now have a fourth prolapsed disc.

The treatment I received from the Neurosurgery registrar was incredibly disappointing. The person who came to see me was dismissive, unsympathetic, and exceptionally disinterested in my situation, or the very visible amount of pain I was in. He reviewed my MRI results and said I needed a nerve block around the new prolapsed disc, and advised I would receive an appointment in the post. I explained that I had been receiving this exact treatment for some time, and that pain management had said I couldn’t have any more nerve blocks until November this year. I explained I was due to be scheduled for surgery to fuse my discs, pending approval via an urgent neurosurgery appointment which is scheduled for Oct. I explained I felt it was inconceivable to wait this long, due to the pain, and the lack of mobility I am experiencing. They admitted at this point that they hadn’t checked my historic records and went away to review them, and speak to their consultant. They returned some time later, repeating the same line of treatment. Despite initially asking about which pain management and neurosurgery consultants I was scheduled under, they had clearly done nothing to learn further about my case, speak with any of the members of the team already responsible for my care, and had not initiated trying to move my appointment forward, to help facilitate a speedier surgery date.

They had not written up any pain medication for me and had to be prompted about what additional pain relief should be supplied in the interim.

Despite seeing and hearing me speak of my agony, and clearly being at the point of despair, they insisted on showing a hugely disrespectful lack of care or interest in me.

An animal would not be left suffering in this much pain, and I am still in shock about the disgraceful level of care and service received by neurosurgery. I would most certainly not recommend.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Charing Cross Hospital

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is very concerned about your feedback posted on NHS Choices and wishes to sincerely apologise to you for the experience you have had in our Accident & Emergency Department at Charing Cross Hospital under the care of the Neurosurgeon.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) has passed on your comments to the relevant service managers.

We would like to encourage you to contact PALS on either 0203 313 0088 or email pals@imperial.nhs.uk

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