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To want to take this further?

(83 Posts)
esk1mo Fri 27-Jan-17 18:26:15

Hi all, long time lurker but have never posted (although have often thought about it). Bit of a back story here...

DP herniated a disc (L4/L5) in his spine in May 2013. He was given painkillers and told he wouldn't need an MRI unless the pain persisted for months. He was on tramadol, codeine phosphate, nefopam and gabapentin. He never went over the allocated dosage and always requested new medication when he had fully ran out (ie. not going back asking for more after 4 days as if he were addicted). Despite being in agony daily (he cried from the pain frequently) he wasn't given an MRI until October 2013.

May 2014 he underwent operation for this herniated disc. He enjoyed around 6 months pain free before it started to creep back in. Although sore, it wasn't unbearable. It become gradually worse and over the last 8 months his pain has been worse than ever before. He attended his GP to ask for medication (that he was taking in 2012) but was told she couldn't give him anything until he was given an MRI although she did sign him off work. He was given an MRI in December which showed multiple herniated discs (all at lumbar level) and that his previous L4/L5 herniated had now ruptured and spread bilaterally, affecting both sides of his body (pain down both legs, hips, glutes and ribs). He can barely walk without breaking a sweat and wincing in pain. After receiving these results the GP agreed it was very severe and referred him to a surgeon and gave him a prescription of codeine phosphate. He thanked her and assumed that while he was waiting to see his surgeon he would continue to take this medication.

This was not the case. Today he returned to see GP to request more codeine (he was given 60 pills 3 weeks ago, you can take up to 6 per day). He was denied this. The GP who saw him FELT his back muscles and said he should take an anti-inflammatory. DP said he couldnt as he they made him throw up (despite taking omeprazole too). GP told DP that there wasn't anything else he could do and he wasn't allowed to give out opiate based medication. DP told reception this and asked if he could see another GP. Reception told DP that the GP he saw is indeed allowed to prescribe pain killers, he just didn't feel necessary. DP was told to phone NHS 24 if he felt his pain was so severe.

I am fuming. Not only has he taken multiple painkillers responsibly for over a year, this was when his condition wasn't as bad as it is now. He is at the stage now where he cries because of the pain. He has wet the bed on more than one occasion because he has crowding of the cauda equina nerves (which I believe are linked to bladder and bowel?). He is still signed off work and waiting to see surgeon on the 2nd of Feb.

I want to take this further but unsure who to contact, AIBU to want to complain to someone about this? I have asked to speak to practice manager but was told he was not in until Monday and when I mentioned my DP's name they said 'in that case he has already been told what to do".

I don't want to believe it is a race issue but my DP is mixed race (half Scottish half Caribbean) and for comfort he will wear jogging bottoms some days instead of a suit or jeans to see doctor. He asked a GP previously if this was an issue and she said 'it doesn't help.' angry I don't believe that any form of appearance should be taken into consideration when helping a patient. I have never been in a situation like this before and I am not one to complain about things but this feels so unjust and I feel there must be someone I can write to about this? My MSP or the GMC? I must mention, I am a white female and currently on a repeat prescription from the same GP surgery for an opiate-based painkiller for a hip condition, which although will require surgery at some point, is not as serious as my DP's condition. They have no issue giving me a repeat prescription for this. AIBU?

Thank you all
Sorry for the length

sunflowers14 Fri 27-Jan-17 18:28:51

I don't think it's a race issue.

Unfortunately, treatment of bad backs (and that isn't intended to undermine, I had similar) is very poor.

You can be in 8/10 pain most day and no one will do anything. It's just how it is.

OwlinaTree Fri 27-Jan-17 18:29:59

Sounds awful for your dp. He obviously needs something for the pain. I don't know what the next step would be. It's he under a consultant?

OwlinaTree Fri 27-Jan-17 18:30:45

Sorry is he under a consultant?

TheHauntedFishtank Fri 27-Jan-17 18:33:41

Can you find out if there is a pain management clinic he could be referred to?

TheEmmaDilemma Fri 27-Jan-17 18:36:08

Start with PALS?

OopsDearyMe Fri 27-Jan-17 18:38:44

Why did he ask that?
Sorry not sure why his joggers meant he did not get pain relief.

Anyway he very much should be on more than codiene, especially as he was on a decent regime before the original surgery, he need to do the talking though because they will not talk to you, you need him to ask for a written explanation as to why he was being left in pain, whyhetwas not prescribed adequate medication and why he was not referred too the pain team? He may not have made the correct moans in that right places , I was once told it could not hurt in y hip because the Dr had not touched it, despite the fact that my condition causes shooting pain in my hips, no need to touch them!.
I would were and complain tothe health authority.

esk1mo Fri 27-Jan-17 18:39:54

sunflowers sorry to hear, did you ever resolve your pain?

owl he is waiting to see a consultant surgeon which is on the 2nd of February. He will probably suggest another operation, so DP only wants medication to help until the operation.

haunted I don't think this has been suggested to him, are they able to help with this sort of thing?

sealswithwhiskers Fri 27-Jan-17 18:41:02

Eventually, but it's still weak. Mine wasn't as severe as your husband (slipped disc) but I was horrified I was in that much pain and no one was interested!

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Fri 27-Jan-17 18:42:41

Have he ever tried a TENS machine - I used one when I had similar (but nowhere near as bad) issues & it certainly helped

Domino20 Fri 27-Jan-17 18:43:36

Unfortunately, back care in this country is woeful. I've never had a problem obtaining my repeat prescription for painkillers though. Definitely complain, leaving him in such pain is just awful. Could you share your medication with him for the time being?

esk1mo Fri 27-Jan-17 18:44:35

emma thank you, I will give that a google.

oopsdearyme he felt he was being judged because on his previous visit to a GP he hadn't seen before, she made a comment about tramadol "having street value" when she declined to prescribe him any. My DP works full time, not sure why he would care about street value!? That's why he asked on his next appointment, if his appearance had given some kind of wrong impression. Thank you for your suggestions, I will ask them and write the health authority.

esk1mo Fri 27-Jan-17 18:47:21

someday i have heard of TENS machine, wasn't sure if it was just pseudoscience though, but it is worth a try I suppose.

domino it's just so odd to have given him 4 different meds and now refusing to give any, unless they have been told off for handing them out to others so easily and are cutting back on everyone. I am sharing mine with him as I only take 2 a day when it gets really bad, hopefully he will get some help before mine run out.

OutToGetYou Fri 27-Jan-17 18:50:03

Well, he can complain, I don't see how you can.

My sister had an op for caudia equina syndrome (yes, linked to bowel and bladder) and it can cause paralysis. So go via the Care Commissioning Group and ask for referral and a care plan and next steps (him to do this, not you - he's not a child).

Foxysoxy01 Fri 27-Jan-17 18:51:06

I'm confused by the joggers comment.
Why did your DH ask if wearing jogging bottoms made any difference to receiving pain killers? confused am I missing something?
Why on earth would a DR then say, yes wearing joggers makes a difference to how we treat you?

I didn't realise GP surgeries had dress codes!

Why are you making out it has something to do with him being mixed race?

That issue aside can you not go to the next local GP surgery and ask for a second opinion? Or go around the GP and give 111 a call when he is in the worse pain and see what they advise?

It must be excruciating for him and you both have my sympathies!

Petal12 Fri 27-Jan-17 18:52:02

I know it's not what you're looking for but maybe try a clinical massage for some pain relief between now and any op. Not a normal massage down the local salon but a proper clinical one. Helps my bad back loads

FellOutOfBed2wice Fri 27-Jan-17 18:53:23

The street value comment is fucking inappropriate without the rest of it. Would be taking that to PALs if nothing else!!! I'm a white remake with back issues and have repeats for opiate based painkillers and Valium for it... it's never been implied that I'm a drug dealer!!

esk1mo Fri 27-Jan-17 18:58:36

outtogetyou sorry to hear, hope she is ok flowers. thank you for the advice. he is under alot of stress due to this so I am helping him as much as I can.

foxysoxy well there was the comment about street value I mentioned previously, and the fact that I have no issue getting codeine prescribed for a less serious condition, but they seem to be going out their way not to help him. although we don't live in a posh area, the surgery borders our area and one of the most expensive areas in my country, so going in wearing tracksuit bottoms might be one way to get judged. he is mid 20s and relatively young looking, so it is not like a 40 year old man going in and wearing tracksuit bottoms. the majority of people wouldn't judge, but there will always be exceptions, and we are struggling to figure out why he is having such a difficult time in receiving medication he has taken for a year previously.

esk1mo Fri 27-Jan-17 18:59:18

petal thanks petal, i will suggest to DP, hopefully it will offer some relief

Musicaltheatremum Fri 27-Jan-17 19:04:07

So he was in all those horrendous drugs with street value a few years ago. Had surgery and then came off them (so not selling them obviously) and now isn't allowed any more. Bet that GP has never had back pain.
How awful for him. Can he see another GP? Surely the history of his drug use shows he was not abusing them. I'm sure he doesn't like being on them.

esk1mo Fri 27-Jan-17 19:06:10

musical exactly my point. they had horrific side effects but they were his only option for relief.

he has just come off the phone with NHS 24 who suggested he go to the nearest pharmacy and ask for 8mg/500mg cocodamol confused

OllyBJolly Fri 27-Jan-17 19:07:52

I went to a private physio for frozen shoulder (sounds trivial but I was in agony). The physio wrote to my doctor saying I should have stronger meds which the doctor prescribed with no issue at all.

I do think physios are under rated. They generally take time to understand the issue and assess the extent of a problem When I hurt my back recently I went to the physio first rather than the GP.

mumofthemonsters808 Fri 27-Jan-17 19:13:52

Another vote for a private physio.

Alachia Fri 27-Jan-17 19:14:26

I have found TENS machines useful (have a deformed spine/pelvis).
Do you have a drop in, out of hours you could go to?

If the pain gets too bad, and it sounds like it might be already, maybe you should try a&e? I know it isn't an emergency as some see it, but the pain can be unbelievable and the GP has given you little choice.

Patchouli666 Fri 27-Jan-17 19:16:56

They are very careful with opiates nowadays, however, they have MRI evidence that your hubby's back is shot and he will be in agony ( I've had a disc replaced c5/6 so know the pin all too well). You need to get him some pain relief, it's too late this eve for GP surgery but I'd defo complain. They are treating him like a druggie. If you are in severe pain painkillers become much less addictive. It's only if you are using them recreationally or for mild pain that they become addictive. Can you get him to out of hours and get a supply and then go in all guns blazing on Monday with the GPs

And if the codeine are 30/500 he can have eight a day. I did find tramadol much more effective tho but it's not great to come off if you've been on it a while and you need to taper off. Codeine doesn't seem as harsh

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