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NHS investigating after student left screaming in pain for weeks with slipped disc after being “fobbed off” by GP

AN NHS board are investigating after a student claimed she was “fobbed off” by doctors and left screaming in pain for weeks with a slipped disc.

Karolina Bolimowska was discharged from the A & E department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Falkirk in October last year without even being given a scan.

The 21-year-old was just given paracetamol and sent back home despite being in excruciating pain.

Karolina post operation - Health News Scotland
Karolina happy to have finally had her operation

The following week she was in so much agony she had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance after being “scraped off the floor” by her boyfriend.

Karolina was given Morphine and was kept in for four days before finally given an MRI scan which showed a “massive disc protrusion at L4/L5 level”.

Karolina's X-Ray - Health News Scotland
Karolina’s X-Ray showing her slipped disc

She was discharged 12 days later and received a letter weeks later from an NHS neurosurgeon that she had never met, saying she was “not a serious case” and did not require surgery.

However, Karolina decided to get a second opinion and was forced to pay £3,000 for a private ambulance from Falkirk to Warsaw, Poland.

The Polish neurosurgeon rushed Karolina in for emergency surgery and said if she had left it any longer she would be at risk of “neurological disability”.

Karolina has now launched a complaint against NHS Forth Valley after saying she believed she was “fobbed off”.

Karolina's private ambulance - Health News Scotland
Karolina’s £3,000 private ambulance

Speaking today, Karolina, a second year medicinal chemistry student at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I thought I’d be treated fast, but there was no help coming from the NHS, except useless letters, so my family consulted a neurosurgeon here in Warsaw.

“I was crying and screaming, the pain was so terrible. It was a different kind of pain, I could feel pressure pushing onto my nerves and could barely walk.

“I don’t trust the NHS to help me.

“I don’t know how much worse I would have to have been to get more help. I considered taking too much of the medication they gave me.

“Some of the nerves died and these will take up to a year to recover if they ever do.

“Being in an embryonic position for two months caused my muscles in my legs to go into atrophy.”

“[The Polish neurosurgeon] said it had to be operated on as soon as possible or I would lose the sensation in my leg.

“They brought me to the hospital on Saturday at midnight, straight from the journey, did a covid test, admitted me and the next day did the surgery.” 

Karolina's scar - Health News Scotland
Karolina’s scar after keyhole surgery

Karolina’s boyfriend, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “She was left screaming in pain for weeks after her disc slipped.

“They only gave her an MRI after she still couldn’t move, insisting she was exaggerating.

“She has PTSD from it due to the level of pain she was in for six weeks.”

Karolina was rushed into the Forth Valley A & E department on October 17 last year with spinal pain following her fall.

She was readmitted by ambulance on October 24 after her conditions worsened.

She was kept in for 12 days and discharged on November 5 with a referral to an NHS neurosurgeon.

She received a letter from the neurosurgeon, who she had never met, on December 1 who said her condition was not serious and did not require surgery.

On December 5, she travelled to Warsaw, Poland for a second opinion where she was given emergency surgery the following day.

Two months later, Karolina said she is still traumatised by the situation. 

She is getting therapy for post traumatic stress disorder and is still living in Warsaw as she is too scared to return to the UK in case she needs medical treatment in the future.

Karolina is also receiving physiotherapy including half a year of intensive rehabilitation to get her back to her full capabilities.

A spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley today said: “We are still investigating the complaint and will be responding directly once our enquires are completed.”

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