He thought he was suffering from muscle spasms, he was not. At 59, Glen Urmson, fit and healthy, has learned that a spinal infection will almost certainly take away his ability to walk again.

Fit and healthy Glen Urmson, 59, has been told he has the worst spinal infection doctors have ever seen after suffering multiple seizures in 2021, leaving him in a wheelchair .

On Christmas Eve, the father-of-four had to be rushed to hospital on Christmas Eve, where he remains since his shocking diagnosis was announced.

An unknown cause

He had smelled a “funny smell” before convulsing and collapsing to the ground. On Nov. 30, 2021, Shaw was taken to hospital after suffering a stroke at his workplace. But once there, faced with overloaded services, Shaw had waited five long hours before being examined. Doctors at Fairfield General Hospital in England eventually sent Shaw home after failing to identify the cause of his seizure. From there, Debbie, his wife, said things only got worse.

Support not possible

Unable to walk due to pain, Shaw once again ends up in the hospital. This time, it’s Debbie who drives him there, the paramedics having warned that Shaw could wait seven hours before being taken care of. “He had a very bad back. We blamed it on the installation of Christmas lights,” she commented in The Sun newspaper, adding, “They said he had muscle spasms from falling during the seizure and they sent him back with codeine. and diazepam. Without further testing, and despite Shaw’s pronounced pain, he is again sent home.

A serious infection

On Christmas Eve, Shaw collapses again. “I had to beg the ambulance service to take him to hospital, he was getting confused, saying things that didn’t match. He couldn’t even have a proper conversation because he was screaming in pain,” Debbie recalled. One of Shaw’s children commented, “If our mother hadn’t begged the paramedics to take him to the hospital, he probably would have died at home by Christmas.” Less than a month after his first seizure, Shaw misses his grandchildren’s first Christmas, and on December 28, an MRI reveals a severe spinal infection, with abscesses that had burst and pressing on his spinal cord. “The surgeon said they had never seen such a severe spinal infection.” In a wheelchair, five months after being in a hospital bed without walking, Debbie now fears the worst for her husband.

Shortcomings and errors

“We are sorry to learn of Mr. Urmson’s situation, including the challenges surrounding his admission and diagnosis,” said hospital management Dr. Chris Brookes. But system pressures related to Covid-19 and winter in all of our emergency departments at the time meant that our colleagues were struggling to successfully transfer Mr Urmson to our care.” Acknowledging their wrongdoings and the family’s disappointment, Dr. continued, “Patient safety and high standards of care are our top priority and I encourage Mr. Urmson and his family to contact our Patient Counseling and Liaison Department to that we can hear in more detail about the issues surrounding his care.” Committing to follow closely the evolution of his case, he made a point of wishing Shaw a full recovery… which has not been of much help to the family who are now raising funds so that Shaw can receive proper care.


Lara T.
Lara T.

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