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Claiming Compensation for GP Delays in Cauda Equina Syndrome Diagnosis

Claiming Compensation for GP Delays in Cauda Equina Syndrome Diagnosis

A diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome often commences at a GP surgery where the patient has attended for lower back pain and associated symptoms.

Diagnosing cauda equina syndrome

It is crucial that the GP rules out any possibility of cauda equina syndrome. A failure to examine the patient for possible indicative symptoms, a failure to warn of red flag symptoms where appropriate and a failure to make a referral for an MRI scan where appropriate may be regarded as negligent.

Symptoms which might indicate that the patient is developing cauda equina syndrome would include the following:

  • Bilateral leg symptoms of pain, weakness, loss of sensation or pins and needles
  • Altered or reduced sensation in the saddle area around the genitals and buttocks
  • Difficulty urinating such as having to strain to empty the bladder
  • Reduced awareness of needing to urinate
  • Reduced ankle reflexes
  • Altered sensation around the anus

Why does a delay matter?

Cauda equina syndrome is a progressive condition. This means that, if diagnosis is delayed, a patient's condition may deteriorate before a confirmed diagnosis is achieved. The nerve dysfunction which causes cauda equina syndrome is less likely to recover as the compression increases. Consequently, a delay in diagnosis and surgery may mean that the patient's condition at the time of surgery is less responsive to treatment than it may have been had diagnosis been achieved at an earlier stage.

Cauda equina syndrome can be a medical emergency. Confirming a diagnosis requires an MRI scan of the lumbar region of the spine and a delay in arranging for this to take place can mean the difference between a good and a poor outcome. If the possible symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are not recognised, such a delay may occur.

Claiming compensation

If a patient experiences significant long-term disability due to delays in the diagnosis and treatment of cauda equina syndrome, they may suffer both incontinence and loss of mobility. Where this outcome is due to delays in medical care, a compensation claim can address any financial losses caused by the delayed treatment.

For example, this may be the loss of income as the patient can no longer work or is only able to work for reduced hours or in a less well-paid role.

Speak to a specialist solicitor

If you or a loved one are struggling with the on-going impact of cauda equina syndrome due to medical delays, contact Glynns Solicitors to talk to a legal expert about the suitability of making a claim for compensation.

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

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