ALERT

For the latest coronavirus care instructions and resources, please call our COVID-19 hotline at 208-381-9500. Find additional information and resources here and learn more about how we’re working to keep you healthy and safe.

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation

Supplemental

Menu

When to Call Your St. Luke's Neurosurgeon

Conditions and treatments for spine and brain problems can cause many changes to your body. Knowing which symptoms are normal and which aren't can be confusing. When you need to talk with your St. Luke's neurosurgeon, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant, please follow these general guidelines:

  • If your questions are of a routine nature, your doctor will be happy to discuss them with you during your regular office visit.
  • If you have a problem or question between your regular visits, please feel free to call us during regular clinic hours.
  • After-hours calls should be reserved for emergencies only.
  • For all calls, please have your pill bottles or medication list with you so we can be certain we know exactly what medications you're taking.

Danger Signals

Call your physician immediately or go to the emergency department if you experience any of the following:

For spine conditions that have not been operated on in the past month:

  • One leg or arm is even weaker since your last appointment
  • Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
  • Unable to move an extremity

For spine conditions that have had surgery within the last month:

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • No bowel movement for more than three days, and laxatives, enemas, and suppositories haven't worked
  • Difficulty moving or weakness of your face, arms, or legs
  • Uncontrolled nausea or vomiting
  • Your pain is intolerable with pain medication
  • A fever of 101° F for more than six hours or any redness, swelling, odor, or drainage at your incision site

For brain conditions that have not been operated on in the past month:

  • Sudden and severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neck stiffness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizures
  • A drooping eyelid
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty moving or weakness of your face, arms, or legs
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble with balance

For brain conditions that have had surgery within the last month:

  • Sudden and severe headache
  • Uncontrollable nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Different pupil sizes
  • Frequent urination
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • A fever of 101° F for more than six hours or any redness, swelling, odor, or drainage at your incision site
  • Arm, leg, or facial weakness
  • Difficulty walking, loss of balance, or dizziness
  • Stiff neck
  • Slurred speech

What to Expect

When you call the clinic about your medical needs, for medication refills, or for test results, the information will be forwarded to a nurse. The nurse will call you back for more details. Please be sure to provide accurate phone number(s) for us to return your call, and consider limiting the use of your telephone so we can get back to you promptly.

This process can be lengthy. The nurse will prioritize calls based on their urgency and severity. We know your medical issues are of great importance and we do all we can to respond quickly. At times, non-urgent requests may be handled later in the day if more serious issues arise. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

During Clinic Hours, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

  • Call (208) 381-5500

After-Hours

A St. Luke's neurosurgery doctor is always available for emergency care. Please reserve after-hours calls for urgent needs. If you haven't received a return call from the doctor within 30 minutes, please phone again.

  • Call (208) 381-5500
    • This number will direct you to an answering service that will either fax your message to the office or contact the physician on call.