Self-Employed Textile Artist And Teacher With a Spinal Condition Instructs Medical Negligence Lawyers To Investigate Care
A Lincolnshire woman has spoken out on how her life has ‘changed dramatically’ after being diagnosed with a rare spinal condition.
Angela Daymond, from Freiston, Boston, was taken by ambulance to A&E at Pilgrim Hospital complaining of back pain and shooting pains down her left leg. She was advised by medics she had a UTI and arthritis and discharged home with painkillers and antibiotics.
She collapsed shortly afterwards and she was taken back to the A&E department where she was readmitted to hospital. Her pain worsened and she was now experiencing pain down both legs and she was unable to walk.
She underwent an MRI scan the following day and was diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome, a rare condition in which the nerves of the spinal cord are compressed. She was advised she needed urgent surgery. This was performed two days later at another hospital. Whilst she waited for surgery to be undertaken her condition continued to deteriorate.
The 53-year-old has been left with mobility problems, as well as bladder and bowel issues. Angela, a mum-of-two struggles to get upstairs and now sleeps in her dining room.
Following her diagnosis in September 2019, Angela instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, and whether her condition should have been treated sooner.
Angela is now joining her legal team in marking Cauda Equina Syndrome Awareness Day on 1 October by sharing her story and making others aware of the signs and symptoms of the condition.
Expert Opinion“Angela has been through an incredibly difficult time after being diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome. While it’s a rare condition, it can be very dangerous and leave sufferers with ongoing life-limiting health problems.
Angela continues to have concerns over the care she received and we‘re now investigating these. If during the course of our investigations any issues are identified, it’s vital that lessons are learned to help improve patient safety.
Sadly, there’s nothing we can do to change what Angela has been through. However, Cauda Equina Syndrome Awareness Day is an opportunity for her to share her story and raise awareness of the condition, where early detection and treatment are key to making as full a recovery as possible.
We’ll also continue to support Angela to ensure she has access to the specialist therapies she requires.”
Julianne Moore - Partner
During the early hours of 11 September, 2019, Angela woke with ‘extreme’ back pain. Her husband Mark, 54, called 999 and Angela was taken to A&E by ambulance, arriving just before 5am.
She was examined and told she had a UTI and arthritis in her hip. She went to the hospital pharmacy to collect her medication, but collapsed. Mark went to get a wheelchair and they returned to A&E.
That evening, a decision was made to refer Angela for an MRI scan. This was undertaken the following day, 12 September, at around lunchtime. Shortly afterwards, Angela was told she needed an urgent operation due to a compressed spinal cord.
She was transferred to another hospital at around 9:30pm on Thursday, 13 September, and underwent surgery the next day, 14 September.
She was subsequently referred to the specialist spinal unit in Sheffield for rehabilitation.
Three years on, Angela, a self-employed textile artist and teacher, has very limited power in both ankles. She has altered sensation in both feet and has no feeling down the backs of her legs. When inside, she walks using crutches, however complains of pain, poor balance and leg spasms. She also suffers from bladder and bowel problems.
She relies heavily on Mark, a social worker, for assistance in the house and has undergone physiotherapy.
She said: “The past few years have been awful. My life has changed dramatically and I’ve really struggled to come to terms with everything that’s happened. I’d never even heard of cauda equina syndrome before I was diagnosed.
“The pain at the time was so unbearable that I felt sick and was close to passing out on more than one occasion. I knew something wasn’t right but I trusted that the hospital staff knew what they were doing.
“However, I have worries over how long it took for me to be diagnosed and operated on. It’s really tough to get my head around it all.
“To this day, I can’t feel my feet and it really affects how I get around. I need a lot of help from Mark and I struggle so much with the stairs that I’ve been sleeping in the dining room, which is really not how I want to continue.
“I hope that by raising awareness of cauda equina syndrome, it might help others with the vital signs they need to look out for. I wouldn’t want anyone else going through what I have.”
Angela is currently raising funds to buy a specialist electric wheelchair device. She added: “ While I’ve had to make a lot of significant changes in my life, I’ve always been fiercely independent and I’m determined not to allow my injury to get in the way of living.
“I’m now crowdfunding for a Triride, which is a lightweight device that fits on the front of a wheelchair to convert it to electric. Having this would make such a difference to me, not only for attending large exhibition stitching shows, but also for getting out and about in more difficult terrain.
“It will allow me to continue doing what I love the most.”
Angela also recently undertook a challenge to climb the O2 in London in an adapted wheelchair to help raise funds for her Triride wheelchair.
The red flag symptoms for cauda equina syndrome include loss of sensation between the legs, bladder and bowel disturbance, back pain and lower limb pain, numbness and weakness. For further information or for support following cauda equina syndrome, please contact the Cauda Equina Syndrome Association.