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Cauda Equina Misdiagnosis

Cauda Equina Hospital Delays Lead to Successful Compensation Claim

Cauda Equina Hospital Delays Lead to Successful Compensation Claim Delays in reviewing Ruth's condition and in arranging an MRI scan caused a delay in surgery which has changed her life.

Ruth was used to back pain and sciatica in her left leg and was familiar with the severe pain it could cause. She knew it was unusual, therefore, when the pain also developed in her right leg, causing a burning sensation and feeling as if the whole of her leg was on fire. She found it difficult to stand or walk, a situation which, not surprisingly, caused her considerable anxiety.

An ambulance was called and she was taken to hospital where she was given pain relief and admitted. It was also noted that she had not opened her bowels for 10 days and it was planned for her to undergo an MRI scan a few days later.

By lunchtime the following day, Ruth was complaining of numbness in her legs and had been incontinent of urine. She told the nursing staff who were attending her that she was unable to feel herself passing urine. This distressing situation continued throughout the night.

Astonishingly, there is no record to suggest that Ruth was reviewed by a doctor the following day despite her condition. She remain incontinent of urine and, when laxatives helped her to pass a stool, she realised that she had no sensation of that either. The doctors were informed both of this loss of sensation and of Ruth's continuing numbness in the legs.

Finally, the following afternoon, when a bladder scan revealed that Ruth was retaining urine, a review prompted an urgent MRI scan which showed that she was suffering from compression of the cauda equina nerves in the lumbar region of the spine.

She was transferred to a specialist centre later that evening and decompression surgery was carried out early the following morning.

Unfortunately, the delay in arranging for an MRI scan to be undertaken, leading to a delay in identifying Ruth's cauda equina nerve compression has meant that she has been left with highly distressing and disabling bowel and bladder symptoms. She also has a tendency to fall and the restrictions which these symptoms have imposed on her life have, not surprisingly, caused her significant distress.

When Ruth asked us to investigate her medical care, our experts found that her symptoms on admittance to hospital should have prompted concerns about spinal compression and that an earlier MRI scan and earlier surgery would have meant that she was unlikely to be suffering with many of her current symptoms.

Ruth was awarded in excess of £500,000.00 in compensation for the impact of the negligent care she suffered.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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