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Cauda Equina
Compensation for Cauda Equina Nerve Dysfunction

Compensation for Cauda Equina Nerve Dysfunction

If your cauda equina nerve compression remained undiagnosed until the damage was permanent, it may be possible to make a claim for compensation from the medical professionals responsible.

The human nervous system

The human body houses an extensive and comprehensive network of nerves without which we could not function. From facilitating movement, to sensing heat and touch, to enabling sight and smell and speech, the nerves are fundamental to our survival. When our nerves cease to function, our ability to interact with the world disappears.

The central nervous system runs though the spinal cord connecting the brain with every part of the body. At the base of the spine are the cauda equina nerve roots, so called because of their similarity in appearance to a horse's tail.

The cauda equina nerves

The function of the cauda equina nerves is to pass messages of sensation and instruction between the brain and the lower body. They are responsible for initiating function in the bladder, the bowel and the legs. A loss of cauda equina nerve function can, therefore, lead to double incontinence, sexual dysfunction and loss of mobility.

Occasionally, the cauda equina nerves can become squashed or compressed, which affects their ability to function fully and effectively. As the compression increases, it is likely that the individual concerned will experience increasing loss of lower body function.

Compression and decompression

Cauda equina compression is often caused by a herniated or prolapsed disc pressing on the nerve. It can also be caused by inflammation of the spine or a tumour around the spine or trauma. An MRI scan is usually required in order to confirm the presence of compression and its cause before surgery is carried out.

If diagnosis of cauda equina nerve compression is delayed, the impact on the patient can be both shocking and severe, affecting their ability to work, socialise and, in some cases, remain independent.

Although cauda equina compression in not common, the severity of its effect should ensure that all relevant medical professionals are familiar with the symptoms and the urgency with which diagnosis and surgery are required.

Ideally, a patient with compression of the cauda equina nerves needs to undergo decompression surgery before they lose bladder sensation. It would appear that, if surgery is delayed until after this stage is reached, the patient is less likely to recover lost function and may suffer disabling bowel, bladder and mobility issues as a result.

Negligence

If medical professionals fail to recognise or act on the possible symptoms of cauda equine syndrome with sufficient urgency, allowing the patient to deteriorate prior to surgery, they may be regarded as having been negligent.

If the patient suffers a poor long-term outcome as a result, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are struggling with the appalling permanent symptoms of cauda equine syndrome due to medical delays, contact Glynns to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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

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