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Can I Sue my GP for Misdiagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Can I Sue my GP for Misdiagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

If the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are not recognised and investigated as a matter of emergency, the patient may be left with a lifetime of disability and distress.

Cauda equina syndrome diagnosis

Giving an incorrect diagnosis when a patient presents with possible symptoms of cauda equina syndrome can waste valuable time and delay the surgery necessary to bring about any recovery.

Cauda equina syndrome is a fairly rare condition and the symptoms may not be familiar to all medical professionals. The possible on-going symptoms of this appalling condition are so unpleasant, however, that any practitioner who might encounter a patient who is developing cauda equina problems should be conversant with the red flag symptoms.

Nonetheless, a misdiagnosis is often made. This means not only that the patient is sent home with false and inappropriate reassurances of recovery but that they are not always warned that, if their symptoms deteriorate, they may need to attend Accident and Emergency immediately.

We have worked with numerous clients who have been in precisely this situation. Their possible cauda equina symptoms have been misdiagnosed variously as sciatica, fibromyalgia, a trapped nerve and a slipped disc but not possible cauda equina syndrome and no referral for further investigation has been made.

Cauda equina syndrome symptoms

If a patient sees their GP with the following possible symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, they may require an emergency MRI scan:

  • Altered urinary experience such as poor flow or having to strain
  • Altered sensation in the saddle area between the legs
  • Bilateral sciatica like symptoms
  • Leakage or incontinence of bladder or bowel

It is imperative that a patient who is developing cauda equina syndrome undergoes surgery before they lose bladder sensation. It is thought that, once the patient is experiencing painless bladder retention, their chance of recovery of function following surgery is reduced.

Therefore, if the patient sees their GP before this stage is reached and their surgery is delayed because the GP makes a misdiagnosis, the GP may be considered as responsible should the patient suffer a poor outcome due to that delay.

Medical negligence

If you or a loved one have received a misdiagnosis of your cauda equina syndrome symptoms, your GP may be regarded as having acted negligently.

If the subsequent delay in surgery has meant that you now suffer debilitating, on-going symptoms as a result, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns Solicitors to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor regarding your experience.

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