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Cauda Equina Syndrome: Delayed Diagnosis of a Prolapsed Disc

Cauda Equina Syndrome: Delayed Diagnosis of a Prolapsed Disc

The disabling lower body condition, cauda equina syndrome, is often caused by a prolapsed or herniated disc. A delay in assessing the patient for this possibility may result in permanent disability.

The impact of a prolapsed disc

A herniated or prolapsed disc is one where the inner gel-like substance of the spinal disc has protruded through the outer layer of the disc. This can cause nerves located close to the disc to become squashed or compressed, affecting their ability to work.

The cauda equina nerves are absolutely crucial to an effective and functioning lower body. They allow the body to recognise sensation in the lower body, such as the need to urinate, as well as to initiate muscle movement, such as both preventing and allowing the passing of wind and faeces.

A loss of function of these important nerves can leave the patient with a range of distressing and debilitating symptoms for the rest of their life:

  • Bladder incontinence
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Loss of mobility or paralysis

Consequently, where there is any possibility that a patient may have a prolapsed disc which is compressing their cauda equina nerves, it is essential that this is discovered as promptly as possible. Any delay may prove catastrophic to the patient's quality of life, ability to work and psychological well-being.

Diagnosing a prolapsed disc

A prolapsed or herniated disc can be identified through the use of an MRI scan and patients who may be exhibiting symptoms of cauda equina syndrome may need to undergo a scan as a matter of emergency.

Where medical professionals delay in organising this crucial assessment, they may be regarded as negligent and it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Patients whose clinical assessment identifies possible red flag symptoms of cauda equina may need an emergency referral. Symptoms which may justify this include lower back and leg pain, possibly in both legs, altered bladder sensation, such as difficulty starting urination, and altered sensation in the saddle area between the legs.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are struggling with the long-term impact of cauda equina syndrome due to a delay in diagnosis, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation. This can help to provide recompense for the financial impact of your situation such as loss of earnings or the cost of support.

Contact Glynns Solicitors to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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