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Compensation for Delayed MRI Scan for Cauda Equina Syndrome

Compensation for Delayed MRI Scan for Cauda Equina Syndrome

A delay in carrying out an MRI scan for a patient who is developing cauda equina syndrome can mean the difference between recovery of function and a lifetime of disability.

MRI Scan delays

If a patient with the early symptoms of cauda equina syndrome goes to their local Accident and Emergency facility, an emergency MRI scan may not occur for a number of reasons:

  • Their symptoms may not be recognised. If the medical practitioner who deals with them misdiagnoses their symptoms or fails to seek further advice if they are uncertain about the significance of the patient's symptoms, the patient may be sent home with false reassurance. They may not even be warned of the red flag symptoms which should demand an immediate return to Accident and Emergency. In these circumstances an MRI scan is unlikely to be arranged, at least not with the degree or urgency necessary for a patient with incipient cauda equina syndrome.
  • The symptoms being experienced by the patient, such as lower back and leg pain and urinary dysfunction, may be recognised as indicative of possible cauda equina syndrome but the need for an emergency MRI scan may not be understood. If the MRI scan is delayed, the patient's diagnosis and treatment will likewise be delayed.
  • The need for an emergency MRI scan may be understood but the hospital may not have the necessary equipment or staff at the time of the patient's attendance is concerned. In these circumstances, it is vital that the patient is transferred as a matter of urgency to the nearest facility which can carry out an MRI scan. A failure to arrange such a transfer may be regarded as negligent.

Why an MRI scan matters

A delay in diagnosing cauda equina syndrome can be key to determining the long-term outcome for the patient.

If the patient attends their medical professional with incomplete cauda equina syndrome but a delay in undertaking an MRI scan allows time for their condition to deteriorate, decompression surgery is less likely to be successful in restoring their lost lower body function.

Claiming compensation

If an MRI scan is delayed for whatever reason when it would generally have been considered necessary, the relevant medical practitioner may be regarded as having provided substandard care.

If the patient suffers a significantly worse outcome due to that delay, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

A successful compensation claim can help to deal with the physical, practical and financial problems caused by the delay in diagnosis and treatment.

Speak to a solicitor

Contact Glynns Solicitors to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor about the suitability of 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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