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Compensation for Delayed Decompression of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Compensation for Delayed Decompression of Cauda Equina Syndrome

If a patient is diagnosed with incomplete cauda equina syndrome, decompression surgery is likely to be required within hours as a matter of emergency. If this does not occur, the patient may suffer a poorer long-term outcome and it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Decompression surgery

A patient with cauda equina syndrome is experiencing loss of function due to compression of the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine. Decompression surgery is usually required to relieve the pressure and, if not too late, to allow the restoration of some or all of the nerve function.

Decompression surgery is more likely to bring about the return of function if it is carried out as early as possible after a definite diagnosis.

If surgery is delayed, the patient may be left with a lifetime of incontinence and mobility and sexual problems.

The timing of surgery

The likelihood of this scenario occurring would seem to depend on the patient's symptoms at the time of surgery.

If the patient has lost a significant degree of function to the point that they no longer experience the sensation of needing to urinate and may be suffering some bladder incontinence, it seems less likely that they will make a good recovery.

It is vital, therefore, that diagnosis and surgery are achieved before the patient deteriorates to this point.

A delay in decompression surgery may be due to two fundamental reasons:

  • 1. A diagnosis has been made but there is an unreasonable delay in organising surgery, perhaps due to a failure to understand the degree of urgency or due to unavailability of suitable medical professionals and a failure to transfer the client as a matter of emergency
  • 2. Diagnosis of the patient's condition has been delayed. This could be due to a failure to recognise the symptoms, a misdiagnosis or a delay in referring for or carrying out and reporting an MRI scan.

If the patient suffers a deterioration of symptoms during this period of delay, it is possible that they will suffer a poor long-term outcome.

In these circumstances, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation for the pain, suffering and financial losses experienced by the patient.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the appalling symptoms of cauda equina syndrome due to a delay in diagnosis and surgery, contact Glynns today 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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