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Dr.Saleem
Dr.Saleem, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 2134
Experience:  MBBS
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My mother who is 83 years old had suffered giddy spells and

Customer Question

My mother who is 83 years old had suffered giddy spells and jaw pain when eating since 2011. GP sent her to various hospitals, ENT, Eye hospital and Dental hospital. She had a cataract removed 10 months ago. So also had follow up at Eye hospital. The beginning of the month she saw flashing lights in her eye. Then lost her sight. Went to eye hospital who then diagnosed Giant Cell Arteritis.

Have we a case for complaint, as none of the specialists or GP picked up on her diagnosis until she lost the sight in her eye.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr.Saleem replied 4 years ago.

Dr.Saleem :

Hi

Dr.Saleem :

Welcome to JA!

Dr.Saleem :

Thanks for the question..

Dr.Saleem :

plz enter the chat..

Dr.Saleem :

The pain in jaw when eating also called jaw claudication is also a symptom of giant cell arteritis along with visual loss and vertigo

Dr.Saleem :

Other known symptoms of giant cell arteritis include:

Dr.Saleem :

fever, fatigue, weight loss

Dr.Saleem :

headache

Dr.Saleem :

aching and morning stiffness of shoulders and pelvic girdles

Customer:

She has lost weight recently.

Dr.Saleem :

Well all four symptoms of her's as mentioned by you are manifestation of giant cell arteritis

Customer:

Cannot understand why none of the doctors picked up on the diagnosis until it was too late to save sight.

Dr.Saleem :

Well that's a difficult question to answer as of "why" but i she should be fully investigated to prevent further losses

Dr.Saleem :

What were her symptoms before visual loss?

Customer:

She has been prescribed steroids and will be visiting eye hospital again on 4th June.

Dr.Saleem :

Has she improved symptomatically after the start of steroids?

Customer:

Yes much better apart from the sight in left eye. No giddy spells or jaw pain.

Dr.Saleem :

What were her symptoms before visual loss when you visited GP?

Customer:

Giddy spells and pain in jaw when eating.

Dr.Saleem :

Well then he should have suspected GCA and should have referred you

Customer:

Thanks for that, can I make a complaint to ombudsman?

Dr.Saleem :

What did GP told you and advised you?

Customer:

He said after all visits to various hospitals that they could not find out what was causing her giddy spells, and that he put it down to anxiety.

Dr.Saleem :

Well based on giddy spells and jaw pain it was difficult to diagnose GCA straight away but he should have suspected and referred you to investigate

Dr.Saleem :

but as you mentioned now he referred you too

Dr.Saleem :

in that case how will you blame him as he sent you to different hospital but none was able to diagnose

Customer:

I am not just blaming him. I was disappointed that none of the doctors seen picked up on the diagnosis.

Dr.Saleem :

Yes this seems true but you know there are different manifestations of different diseases and these symptoms or manifestations differ in single individual depending upon various factors

Dr.Saleem :

and it is not always easy to diagnose based on symptoms thats why some of the institutes investigate completely to rule out all possible causes

Dr.Saleem :

but then that is too costly

Dr.Saleem :

to investigate for all possible causes of each symptoms but if you visited a specialist and even he or she was unable to diagnose then this is a worry

Customer:

Thank you. I just hope that they will be able to save her other eye. You have been most helpful.

Dr.Saleem and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr.Saleem replied 4 years ago.
You are always welcome!

Best wishes,

take care
regards