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Incomplete Cauda Equina Syndrome Medical Negligence

Incomplete Cauda Equina Syndrome Medical Negligence

A knowledgeable and timely medical response to incomplete cauda equina syndrome is absolutely essential if the patient is to avoid permanent disability.

Why does timing matter in incomplete cauda equina syndrome?

The long-term outcome of cauda equina syndrome if not addressed promptly can involve double incontinence and loss of sexual function and mobility. However, if the symptoms are recognised at an early stage and decompression surgery is organised in a timely manner, the patient may avoid this appalling outcome.

This requires a prompt diagnosis to facilitate surgery at the optimum moment before the patient develops complete cauda equina syndrome.

Incomplete cauda equina syndrome is regarded as the stage of the condition when the patient still retains a degree of bladder sensation. If diagnosis and surgery occur at this point, the chances of a successful outcome seem to be greater than if surgery is delayed beyond the point of loss of bladder sensation.

Diagnosis in cauda equina syndrome

Diagnosis is everything. However, this requires medical professionals to recognise the early symptoms and to be willing to refer their patient for an immediate MRI scan which will assess the condition of the spine in the lumbar region where the cauda equina nerves are located.

Possible early symptoms which might indicate that the patient is suffering from incomplete cauda equina syndrome include the following:

  • Pain, tingling or loss of sensation in both legs
  • Altered sensation in the saddle area between the legs
  • Altered sensation when urinating such as having to strain to commence, or a poor flow however, sensation and control are still present

A failure by medical professionals to recognise these possible early symptoms and a failure to act accordingly may be regarded as substandard care. A delay in diagnosis is likely to mean a delay in surgery and a poor outcome for the patient, which can justify a claim for compensation.

Red flag warnings

Where symptoms such as altered sensation in the perineum are not present, it is still necessary for medical professionals to warn a patient with lower back pain to be aware of these symptoms. If they should develop, it is likely that they patient needs to attend hospital immediately in case they are suffering from nerve compression in the lower spine.

A failure to provide this information may mean that the patient does not seek medical attention when their symptoms deteriorate and they may suffer long-term disability as a result.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the permanent impact of cauda equina syndrome due to poor-quality medical care, contact Glynns, specialists in medical negligence compensation, to talk to an experienced solicitor.

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