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Compensation For Cauda Equina Syndrome Misdiagnosis

Compensation For Cauda Equina Syndrome Misdiagnosis

Although many GPs may be unfamiliar with cauda equina syndrome, the severity of its impact is such that all should be conversant with its red flag symptoms. A misdiagnosis can prove catastrophic for the patient and justify a claim for compensation.

Assessing for cauda equina syndrome

A patient who is developing cauda equina syndrome may attend their GP with symptoms of lower back pain, radiating down one leg. They may be experiencing tingling or weakness in that leg.

Their GP may decide that they are suffering from sciatica. They may be prescribed pain relief and referred to a physiotherapist.

However, that it not necessarily the whole story and not necessarily the correct diagnosis.

A failure to investigate further or to warn the patient of possible sinister developments may allow the patient to suffer life-long disability.

A patient with the above-mentioned symptoms may, at the point of attendance, be experiencing no further symptoms. Nonetheless, they should be warned of the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and the need for immediate attendance at Accident and Emergency should any of these symptoms develop.

Red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

  • Bilateral sciatica (i.e. when the pain and altered sensation spreads to the second leg)
  • Loss of sensation in the saddle area
  • Altered bladder function
  • Altered sexual function
  • Altered bowel function or loss of feeling around the anus

A failure by a GP to recognise that a patient with sciatica-like symptoms may in fact be developing cauda equina syndrome may lead them not to give the red flag warnings. If the patient subsequently develops these symptoms but fails to attend hospital as a matter of emergency because they have not been made aware of the need, it may be appropriate to make a claim for medical negligence.

Furthermore, faced with a patient showing possible early cauda equina symptoms, the GP should examine the patient for any of the above symptoms. A thorough assessment may reveal that, in fact, the patient is already experiencing poor urinary flow or having to strain to empty their bladder.

A misdiagnosis and failure to consider alternative possible explanations for the patient's symptoms may result in late surgery and be regarded as substandard care.

Legal advice

If you or a loved one are suffering the shocking, on-going symptoms of cauda equina syndrome because the GP misdiagnosed those symptoms, you may wish to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

Here at Glynns Solicitors, we are working with numerous clients who are suffering with complete cauda equina syndrome and we will be very happy to advise you. Why not ring us today?

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

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