Clinical Features: One patient was a 46-year-old Hispanic woman with 3 to 4 years of intermittent backache that usually resolved with conservative care but failed to do so during an acute episode. Lower motor neuron signs, including bowel and bladder dysfunction, were revealed upon clinical assessment. The second patient, a 38-year-old white man under routine treatment, had no lower motor neuron signs or symptoms.
Intervention and Outcome: Both patients were referred, one to a local hospital emergency department and the other directly to a neurosurgeon. Both underwent surgery. Upon returning home, the first patient received follow-up treatment primarily consisting of radiation therapy. Follow-up telephone interviews (3, 6, 12, 24, and 40 months) revealed the patient doing well. The second case did not require radiation therapy and was doing well at 4, 10, 12, and 18 months; the patient returned for unrelated treatment 1 year after the surgery.
Conclusion: These cases show that with a careful history and patient examination, enough clinical data may be gathered to make an accurate health care determination under various conditions. It also illustrates the importance of interprofessional cooperation for various disciplines of health care providers regardless of training or specialty.
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