As I’ve said previously, it is rare that a day passes without us taking a telephone call from a member whose injections have been stopped. We had one such call yesterday from a very distraught patient who had been diagnosed as having Pernicious Anaemia 18 years ago. On Monday of this week she was told, by telephone, that because her levels were now 230 she no longer needed her three-monthly injections. She was so upset, confused, frightened that at one point I had to speak to her husband as she was in no state to speak to me. It was the usual story I’m afraid. She went back to the doctor and asked for more frequent injections. The doctor told her that he would check her serum B12 levels and make a decision based on the results of the test. The test came back at 230 and that’s when she received the telephone call. Bad eh? It gets worse. When I resumed talking to the member she told me that her peripheral neuropathy was getting worse and she now had real balance problems and had to use a stick to get around otherwise she kept falling over. She had been told several years ago that the pins and needles and slight numbness in her feet were probably due to her getting older. Since then her feet are completely numb and this is spreading to just past her knees.
I did what I always do, write her a letter that she can show her GP – the one that states that if the patient has Pernicious Anaemia then the injections are for life (as per the Guidelines) and that if there is neurological involvement then the patient should receive injections every other day until ‘there is no further improvement’.
Oh! And the ’80’ in the headline? That’s how many candles will be on her cake to celebrate her birthday – today.