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Cauda Equina Syndrome: MRI Negligence

Cauda Equina Syndrome: MRI Negligence

The role of an MRI scan is absolutely crucial to the long-term outcome of a patient with cauda equina syndrome. Mismanagement of this vital procedure by medical professionals may be regarded as negligent.

Cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome can develop when a person suffers compression of their cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine.

Undetected and untreated, this compression can lead to complete loss of function of the cauda equina nerves. The patient may suffer permanent loss of mobility as well as double incontinence. Their sexual sensation and function may also be lost.

If a patient is expressing symptoms which might suggest a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, it is essential to identify what is causing their symptoms. An MRI scan is usually the way in which this is achieved.

MRI scans and the cauda equina nerves

If the patient appears to be at the stage of development referred to as incomplete cauda equina syndrome, a referral for an MRI scan may be a matter of emergency. A patient with CESi (i.e. incomplete) still retains some lower body function and emergency surgery within a matter of hours may enable them to recover lost function or, at least, to ensure that no further function is lost. A failure by medical professionals to recognise the symptoms which should prompt such action and a failure to make an emergency referral may well be regarded as negligent.

A patient with incomplete cauda equina syndrome is likely to be experiencing lower back and leg pain along with altered bladder sensation and function or altered sensation in the saddle area and around the buttocks. Nonetheless, they are likely to still retain some sensation and function, even if this is impaired.

If the patient has already lost bladder sensation and is experiencing painless retention of urine, the impact of surgery may not be so great and diagnosis and treatment may not be regarded as such an emergency. The moment for the optimum outcome may already have passed. An immediate MRI scan may not be considered necessary.

Medical negligence

If a patient with early or incomplete cauda equina syndrome is not referred for an emergency MRI scan by their medical practitioner, they may be regarded as having received substandard care.

If the patient subsequently suffers a poor long-term outcome due to the delay in diagnosing their condition, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the appalling effects of cauda equina syndrome due to medical delays, it is essential that you receive expert legal advice.

Glynns Solicitors is a specialist medical negligence legal practice with considerable expertise in cauda equina syndrome compensation claims. Contact us today to talk to one of our team of experienced solicitors.

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