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Cauda Equina Misdiagnosis
£120,000 For Delayed Cauda Equina Syndrome Diagnosis

In excess of £100,000 For Delayed Cauda Equina Syndrome Diagnosis

After developing acute cauda equina syndrome, Tori suffered an eight day delay in diagnosis. This means treatment was not provided in time, leaving her with permanent complications.

On 6th February 2010, Tori bent down to pick up her eight month old baby and suddenly developed severe lower back pain. She attended her GP surgery the same day and was put on strong pain relief medication.

Three days later, the pain was much worse, and she had also developed further symptoms. Tori rang her GP practice and spoke to a doctor, saying she now had sciatica-type pain down both legs, a numb bottom, numbness around her anus and a numb right foot.

In light of the change in symptoms, the GP asked Tori to attend for an examination. This was carried out the same day and she was sent home with another prescription for painkillers.

The following day, 10th February, she rang the GP practice again as more symptoms had developed. The sensation in her saddle area had reduced even further, and Tori now had difficulty urinating as there was a poor flow and a reduced volume of urine.

She saw a GP later the same day, but no action was taken. Feeling increasingly concerned, Tori returned yet again to the GP the next day, and was finally advised to go straight to Accident and Emergency.

The hospital suspected that Tori had some form of nerve compression, something which requires immediate treatment. Despite this she was referred to a specialist orthopaedic hospital. She was discharged the same day and told to wait for the appointment, which had been arranged for 11th March.

Thankfully the appointment was brought forward to 13th February, two days after Tori was discharged from A&E. The consultant asked her to urinate into a commode. When he saw how little urine she had produced, he immediately inserted a catheter and told Tori she needed urgent decompression surgery for cauda equina syndrome.

The operation took place the next morning, on 14th February, eight days after initially seeking medical help for the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. She underwent a second procedure on 23rd February for the insertion and fixation of screws and rods into her lower back.

Sadly the initial decompression surgery was not carried out in time and Tori has been left with permanent nerve damage. She cannot empty her bladder fully and must occasionally self-catheterise. She also suffers recurrent urinary tract infections because of her inability to void. She has constant pain and weakness in her lower back and legs, meaning she can only walk with the assistance of crutches.

Tori has no sensation around her waist, buttocks and upper legs. She has no sexual sensation.

As a result of these physical complications, Tori has become very depressed. She is virtually housebound and finds it difficult to look after herself and her young children. She has had to move in with her parents as she needs continual assistance.

Her prognosis could have been very different, had Tori's GP referred her to hospital when she first began to display the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. The hospital was also at fault for failing to arrange a specialist review on an emergency basis.

We helped Tori pursue a claim against both her GP and the hospital. She was awarded over £100,000 compensation.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed)

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