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Failing to Seek Specialist Advice in Cauda Equina Syndrome Assessment

Failing to Seek Specialist Advice in Cauda Equina Syndrome Assessment

Cauda equina syndrome is a fairly rare condition and failing to seek the opinion of a specialist may mean that a medical practitioner provides substandard care and may be regarded as having been negligent in their assessment of their patient.

The symptoms of cauda equina syndrome can be mistaken for other conditions. They may vary to some degree from one patient to another and can progress over time. Consequently, diagnosis can be complex and the decision to refer a patient for an emergency MRI scan can be a difficult one, especially for a medical practitioner who does not specialise in this field.

A willingness to seek further, expert advice and to make a referral in the case of uncertainty may save the patient from a lifetime of disability. It may also save the medical practitioner from an accusation of negligence and a compensation claim.

If a patient attends their GP or Accident and Emergency facility with the possible symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, it is essential for the medical practitioners to determine whether or not they need an emergency MRI scan. With the possibility of varying symptoms to varying degrees, this is not an easy process.

Symptoms which might indicate that the patient has incomplete cauda equina syndrome, at which point emergency surgery is vital, could include the following in addition to lower back and leg pain:

  • Bilateral leg symptoms, perhaps tingling, weakness, numbness
  • Altered sensation in the saddle area which may be tingling or loss of sensation
  • Altered sexual sensation or function
  • Altered bladder sensation and function such as difficulty starting urination
  • Altered anal tone or sensation around the buttocks

If a medical practitioner is uncertain as to whether their patient's symptoms warrant an emergency referral for an MRI scan, it is essential that they take a thorough history of the patient, carry out an examination to assess for any signs and seek a second opinion from a senior specialist in the field.

A failure to do this may mean that the patient returns home, ignorant of their need for emergency medical attention and possibly unaware of the symptoms which should justify such an action.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the shocking impact of cauda equina syndrome due to poor-quality medical care, contact Glynns Solicitors.

We are a legal practice specialising in medical negligence compensation claims with considerable expertise in cauda equina syndrome.

Ring us today to speak with an experienced solicitor who will be happy to discuss your situation.

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

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