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Cauda Equina
Can I Sue my GP For Delaying my MRI for Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Can I Sue my GP For Delaying my MRI for Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome can be a medical emergency. A failure by a GP to recognise the urgency of the patient's symptoms can cause permanent life-changing symptoms and justify a claim for compensation.

Delayed MRI scan

If a patient is exhibiting symptoms which might indicate that they are developing cauda equina syndrome, they may require a referral for an emergency MRI scan. This would mean an immediate attendance at hospital and an MRI scan within a matter of a few hours. A delay of 24 hours or more may be regarded as negligent and may allow the patient to deteriorate prior to surgery.

If the patient is sent home without a referral, that may be regarded as negligent. If they are sent home without being advised of the red flag symptoms of this appalling condition, this may also be regarded as negligent. If the patient is unaware of the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, they may not realise the need to go to Accident and Emergency should those symptoms start to develop. This could mean that, by the time they are diagnosed and undergo surgery, their symptoms are well-established and surgery may do little to alleviate this.

Considering symptoms of cauda equina dysfunction

If the patient is complaining of lower back and leg pain and weakness or tingling, it may be appropriate just to carry out an examination for possible cauda equina syndrome symptoms and advise the patient of the red flags. Their symptoms could mean that they have sciatica, for example and a regular referral for an MRI scan may be appropriate.

However, if the patient is additionally suffering symptoms which might suggest that their cauda equina nerve function is compromised in some way, it might be appropriate to make a referral for an urgent or emergency MRI scan in order to clarify the diagnosis.

Symptoms which should alert a GP to the possibility of a cauda equina nerve problem would include altered sensation in the saddle region between the legs, altered sensation or control when urinating and loss of sensation around the anus and buttocks. If a GP fails to take symptoms such as these into consideration when deciding on the course of action, they may be regarded as negligent.

Symptoms in cauda equina syndrome tend to deteriorate as the compression of the nerves in the back increases. This will cause worsening lower body function and the later this is diagnosed, the less likely the patient is to recover their lost function.

Speak to a solicitor

If your GP failed to recognise the significance of your cauda equina symptoms, thereby allowing your symptoms to deteriorate prior to surgery, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

If you have been left with significant. And on-going problems due to the subsequent delay in surgery, contact Glynns to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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