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Compensation for Delayed Surgery for CES-I

Compensation for Delayed Surgery for CES-I

CES-I refers to incomplete cauda equina syndrome. This means that the patient's symptoms are sufficient to be able to identify that they are suffering from compression of the cauda equina nerves, but that they have not yet developed CES-R, or complete cauda equina syndrome.


The difference in these related conditions is in the severity of the symptoms and the likelihood that surgery may bring about improvement.

CES-I, or incomplete cauda equina syndrome, refers to the stage where the patient's compressed cauda equina nerves are causing a variety of symptoms but recovery through decompression surgery may be possible. At this stage, symptoms are likely to include the following:

  • Lower back and leg pain and tingling, possibly in both legs
  • Altered sensation in the saddle area between the legs
  • Altered sensation and control when urinating
  • Loss of sensation around the buttocks and anus

This combination of symptoms may indicate that the patient's cauda equina nerves are being squashed by, say, a herniated disc.

It is significant that the patient still retains some sensation and control of their bladder and bowel. If surgery takes place at this point to decompress the cauda equina nerves, there is a chance that the patient will recover some of their lost function.

CES-R, complete cauda equina syndrome, offers less hope of recovery to the patient. At this point, the patient will have lost all bladder sensation and be in painless retention of urine. Surgery may be less successful in restoring lower body function.

Negligence in diagnosis and surgery

If a patient is suffering from CES-I, it is, therefore, essential that they receive a diagnosis and undergo surgery to decompress their cauda equina nerves as promptly as possible.

If a delay occurs at this point, either in achieving a diagnosis or arranging surgery, the patient's condition may deteriorate to CES-R and their chance of recovery may be lost.

Such a delay may be due to a lack of knowledge on the part of their GP or Accident and Emergency practitioners or due to a failure by the hospital to arrange surgery as a matter or emergency.

Whatever the case, if medical failings cause the patient to suffer a worse, long-term outcome than would otherwise have been the case, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation for the financial impact of the delay.

Legal advice

If you or a loved one are struggling with appalling impact of cauda equina syndrome due to medical delays, you may wish to seek legal advice.

Glynns is a specialist medical negligence legal practice with extensive experience of cauda equina negligence claims. Contact us today.

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