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Can I Make A Claim for Delay of a Cauda Equina MRI Scan?

Can I Make A Claim for Delay of a Cauda Equina MRI Scan?

If a referral for an MRI scan was not made when to do so would have been considered good practice, the relevant medical professional may be regarded as negligent. If the patient suffers significant long-term disability as a result, a compensation claim may be appropriate.

MRI scans and cauda equina syndrome

A timely MRI scan is absolutely vital for a patient who is developing cauda equina syndrome. Without an MRI scan, the patient is unlikely to get a confirmed diagnosis that their cauda equina nerves are suffering compression. Without a diagnosis, they will not undergo the urgent or emergency surgery necessary to try to maintain their lower body function.

The timing of the MRI scan and the efficiency with which the results are reported are key to a positive outcome.

Making a referral for an MRI scan

A patient who is experiencing pain in the lower back and one leg may be suffering from sciatica. However, it is also possible that they are developing cauda equina syndrome. It is, therefore, imperative that such patients undergo a thorough assessment to identify if they are experiencing any additional symptoms indicating that their cauda equina nerves are under pressure.

The patient may be losing sensation around the genitals and the anus. They may be finding it difficult to urinate or they may be experiencing altered sensation during sexual intercourse. They may be suffering weakness or pain in the legs.

If this proves to be the case, they should be referred for an MRI scan to clarify the underlying cause of their symptoms.


If medical professionals fail to make the appropriate referral and the patient's symptoms deteriorate prior to surgery as a result, that patient may well suffer far worse, long-term symptoms than had an immediate MRI referral been made. It might be appropriate to make a compensation claim in these circumstances and the patient should seek expert legal advice.

If a delay in organising an MRI scan is not associated with any deterioration in the patient's condition prior to surgery, a compensation claim may not be appropriate. If the outcome of surgery is likely to have been the same regardless of when the MRI scan was carried out, a compensation claim may not be appropriate.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the impact of complete cauda equina syndrome due to a medical professional failing to make a timely referral for an MRI scan, contact Glynns to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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