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Cauda Equina
Compensating Permanent Disability in Cauda Equina Syndrome

Compensating Permanent Disability in Cauda Equina Syndrome

If diagnosis and treatment of cauda equina syndrome are delayed, the patient may face a lifetime of severe disability. If medical professionals are at fault, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

CES as a medical emergency

Treatment for cauda equina syndrome requires that the patient undergoes decompression of the nerves at the base of the spine. This is often a matter of emergency where a delay can prove life-changing.

Cauda equina syndrome is a progressive condition and it is crucial that it is recognised before the patient's loss of lower body function becomes irreversible.

Patients who suffer with complete cauda equina syndrome are likely to experience the following permanent disabilities:

  • Loss of control of the passing of faeces
  • Loss of control of the passing of wind
  • Loss of bladder sensation and control, leading to incontinence
  • Loss of sexual sensation and control
  • Loss of mobility, possibly rendering the patient reliant on a wheelchair

The impact of such a shocking catalogue of problems is inevitably wide-ranging and severe, affecting every aspect of a person's life: their ability to work; their ability to drive and travel easily; their ability to function independently around their own home; their personal relationships.

Diagnosing cauda equina syndrome

The importance of a timely medical response cannot be overstated and relies on the ability of medical professionals to recognise the symptoms which might suggest a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, as well as a willingness to refer a patient for an emergency MRI scan, where this might be the case.

When either of the above requirements is missing, the patient may find that they are sent home with pain relief and a diagnosis of sciatica rather than a referral for immediate attendance at Accident and Emergency.

Symptoms which might indicate that a patient is developing cauda equina syndrome, rather than sciatica include the following:

  • Where their leg symptoms of pain and tingling or numbness are present in both legs rather than one
  • Where they are additionally experiencing bladder or urinary symptoms such as difficulty initiating urination or losing the sensation of needing to urinate
  • Where the patient is experiencing loss of or alteration of sensation in the saddle area between the legs and around the anus and buttocks
  • Where the patient is experiencing reduced control of ankle reflexes, possibly leading to foot drop

Medical negligence

If medical professionals are instrumental in delaying a patient's diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, they may be regarded as having acted negligently.

Should the patient suffer permanent disability as a result of the delay, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns Solicitors, specialists in medical negligence compensation, to talk to an experienced solicitor about your situation.

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