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Cauda Equina
Cauda Equina Syndrome Medical Negligence

Cauda Equina Syndrome Medical Negligence

Cauda equina syndrome is a condition of the lower back with potentially life-changing long-term effects. If your negative outcome was exacerbated by your medical practitioner(s), you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Responding to cauda equina syndrome symptoms

The symptoms of cauda equina syndrome can develop either slowly or suddenly and it is possible, therefore, that you might attend either your GP or A&E for assessment if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Whatever type of medical practitioner you seek help from, you need to be confident that they will take the appropriate action to achieve the best outcome for you. Where their standard of medical care falls below that which it is reasonable to expect, resulting in a worse prognosis, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Diagnosing cauda equina syndrome

Key to a successful outcome with cauda equina syndrome is the recognition and accurate assessment of the red flag symptoms as early as possible. It is widely agreed that, if the patient is operated on as an emergency whilst still retaining an element of urinary control, the chances of a good outcome are significantly increased. Where there is a delay, the outcome may be compromised.

What are the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome?

The red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome before loss of urinary control can include the following:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain, tingling, weakness in the legs (one leg, possibly developing to affect both)
  • Numbness in the saddle area between the legs
  • Altered urinary sensation such as difficulty emptying the bladder, poor flow, straining

What is considered substandard medical care?

The presence of these symptoms in a patient should prompt further investigation and, if necessary, surgical decompression, as a matter of emergency. Therefore, the following circumstances might be considered to have been negligent:

  • The medical practitioner fails to check or examine for these symptoms when a patient presents with lower back pain and/or leg symptoms
  • The medical practitioner fails to warn the patient about these red flag symptoms when presenting with lower back pain and/or leg symptoms
  • The medical practitioner fails to recognise these symptoms as possibly indicative of cauda equina syndrome
  • The medical practitioner fails to refer for emergency further investigation/MRI
  • The hospital fails to undertake an emergency MRI
  • The hospital fails to undertake decompression surgery within 48 hours and the patient's symptoms deteriorate producing a worse outcome

Seeking Legal Advice

The speed and nature of the development of cauda equina syndrome can vary from one person to another and the assessment of the severity of symptoms at a given moment can be both complex and controversial. If you believe that your on-going symptoms may be due to a failure by your medical practitioner(s) to act with appropriate care at key moments, you should contact a specialist solicitor to discuss the circumstances of your case.

Glynns Solicitors are a team of specialist medical negligence solicitors with considerable experience of cauda equina syndrome claims. Contact us today.

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

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