A FORMER teacher coping with a lifelong neurological disorder has accused hospital staff of leaving her locked in an agonising muscle spasm.

Ada Cowie, 65, says she will not return to Colchester Hospital after the care provided left her feeling humiliated.

Ada has suffered with the worsening symptoms of a rare condition called Dystonia since her early 30s.

The symptoms are uncontrollable and painful muscle spasms caused by incorrect signals from the brain.

Regular ‘storms’ involve her body contorting into a painful and unnatural position with only continual pressure on the locked points gradually breaking the spasm.

Ada, who worked as a teacher before her condition worsened, said: “It is painful but it is more painful to be left in such a position.

“Without assistance, I can remain locked from two to three and a half hours and stress exacerbates it.”

She relies on the help of her 73-year-old partner Jean Burwood to physically assist her.

When Ada suddenly experienced 20 painful ‘storms’ across a single day, the pair called for an ambulance and Ada was taken to Colchester Hospital.

Ada says at first she received “first class” care.

“All efforts were being explored to get things under control,” she said.

“With increased pain medication and timely intervention from the nurses, I was just about coping.

“A new explanation and plan to go forward had come from Addenbrooke’s Hospital and I started a new approach to control the storms - one of sedation and infection control.”

But she alleges things took a turn for the worse when a nurse informed her staff could no longer help her physically.

Nurses had previously helped to break her painful spasms in under six minutes.

Ada said: “My key nurse told me that all nursing staff were no longer allowed to help me physically at all, just administer any required medication.

“I was shocked, dismayed and mostly frightened to hear this because I am helpless to help myself and need assistance.

“I tearfully pointed this out to her and she said that she had been reprimanded for fighting my corner.

“The nameless figure who had issued this order was stripping me of my humanity and putting me in a potentially dangerous position.

“Apart from the excruciating pain lasting two hours or more each time I had a storm, if left and in stress the body can slip into status dystonicus.

“This is a potentially life-threatening unbreakable cycle of storms that usually results in the patient being left in life support in ICU.”

She added: “The nursing staff my not have been aware of this possibility but the medical team should have been aware.”

At this point Ada says she was still suffering up to 12 storms per day.

She said she had no choice but to call Jean and ask to be taken back to their home in Thorpe.

Ada was medically discharged but not before spending the afternoon locked in an agonising spasm.

She said: “I had the added humiliation of food arriving and being taken away uneaten, with no-one offering to help or assist me.

“I was no longer Ada, but ‘patient in side room 7’.

“Nurses gave me medication as needed but then walked away and I despaired watching the clock until my partner arrived.”

Ada said she had made a formal complaint to the hospital about her care.

The Gazette approached the hospital for comment but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.