A DISTRAUGHT dad collapsed in agony in front of his frightened young daughter because of chronic back pain which doctors have so far been unable to cure.
The pain, which he has endured for more than a year, is so intense that Justin Willis, of Beauchamp Road, Malvern, feels like he has been “stabbed” and is forced to use a walking stick at 42 years old.
He has spoken of his distress as his five-year-old daughter bursts into tears and feels like the pain is somehow her fault.
Mr Willis’ ordeal began last October with a prolapsed disc in his lower back which may have been caused by him lifting a guitar amplifier.
Since then he has been under the care of the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Mr Willis has had two MRI scans, in February and October, and has been subject to several treatments including acupuncture and a pain-numbing nerve root block injection in July at Spire South Bank Hospital in Bath Road, Worcester. He has been prescribed pain-killers and has also been to clinics run by Mr Grainger at St Martin’s Gate Surgery in Worcester.
But he says if anything the pain is getting worse and it has spread to his right leg, hip and buttock.
For the last six weeks he has been signed off sick from his work at Foster Care Co-operative in Malvern by his GP, at Malvern Health Centre.
He collapses, on average, four times a week.
During one particularly distressing incident he collapsed in Tewkesbury High Street in front of his five-year-old daughter, Tyler, and wife Gené.
He said: “I just dropped to the floor. People must have thought I was having a heart attack.
“I have a five-year-old dau-ghter who bursts into tears every time she sees this happening. She isn’t able to understand and when it happens in the house she thinks ‘Is it something I have done?’ “She strokes my arm to try and make it better. It feels like somebody is stabbing me. It is absolute agony. The pain is off the scale.”
Mr Willis now feels that his daily life is on hold and as he cannot drive or even perform the most simple household tasks.
While he his family has experienced positive care through the NHS in the past he says the health service is now failing him. He now has to wait until December 16 for his next appointment.
A spokesman for the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Justin Willis has been in contact with our patient advice liaison service PALS) and spoken to extensively last week.
“His symptoms don’t seem to correlate with his scans which I’m sure will be discussed with him at his next appointment which is a little over two weeks away.
“He continues to be under care and we would hope that we will be able to find suitable treatment for him to alleviate his pain.
“We do understand how debilitating pain can be for our patients, the adverse impact it has on quality of life and how it can limit family and day to day activities. This understandably can have a profound effect on overall health and wellbeing. It is usual practice for doctors and surgeons to explore what we call conservative treatments before proceeding with any surgical intervention.
“Conservative treatments include but are not limited to medication, splinting, physiotherapy and pain-killing injections for example.
“Surgery for low back pain is only undertaken when the surgeon feels the patient has exhausted all other reasonable options.”