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Cauda Equina
Claiming Compensation for Neurological Damage due to Cauda Equina Syndrome

Claiming Compensation for Neurological Damage due to Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome causes loss of function in the lower body due to compression of the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine. Surgery for decompression can be a medical emergency if the patient is still at the 'incomplete' stage of this appalling condition.

Surgery and cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome causes loss of function in the lower body due to compression of the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine. Surgery for decompression can be a medical emergency if the patient is still at the 'incomplete' stage of this appalling condition.

If, however, the patient does not undergo surgery until they have lost bladder sensation and are considered to have 'complete' cauda equina syndrome, their chance of recovery is reduced.

The impact of neurological damage caused by cauda equina syndrome can be severe, including loss of both bladder and bowel function as well as loss of mobility. Inevitably, the impact on a person's life is dramatic.

The key, therefore, is for medical professionals to ensure, where possible, that the patient undergoes surgery at the best moment to ensure recovery of function.

Responding to cauda equina symptoms

If the actions of medical practitioners cause a delay, meaning that the patient has reached the 'complete' stage of cauda equina syndrome before they undergo surgery, it may be a case of medical negligence.

Medical practitioners need to be able to recognise the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and to understand the urgency with which they need to be addressed. A willingness to consider that cauda equina syndrome may be at the root of the patient's symptoms is vital to giving the patient the best chance of recovery.

If the patient appears to be exhibiting symptoms beyond that of sciatica, such as altered sensation in the saddle area or unusual urinary symptoms, they may require a referral for an immediate MRI scan.

Medical negligence

A failure to carry out this action may mean that the medical professional has acted negligently.

If this failure to refer the patient for an MRI scan delays the patient's diagnosis and surgery until their symptoms have deteriorated, the relevant medical professional may be seen as partly responsible for the patient's on-going symptoms.

Likewise, if surgery is delayed beyond what would normally be regarded as appropriate, meaning that the patient suffers additional functional losses, the hospital may be regarded as at fault.

If a hospital does not have the facilities to carry out either the necessary MRI scan or the decompression surgery required, they should organise for the patient to be transferred to an appropriate facility. Where this does not occur in a timely manner, and the patient's outcome suffers as a result, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the shocking effects of cauda equina syndrome due to medical negligence, contact Glynns to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor about 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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