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Is Complete Cauda Equina Syndrome Negligent?

Is Complete Cauda Equina Syndrome Negligent?

Complete cauda equina syndrome may be regarded as a sign of medical negligence if medical professionals had the opportunity to recognise and treat the patient when they were only developing this unpleasant condition, but failed to do so.

What is complete cauda equina syndrome?

Complete cauda equina syndrome differs from the 'incomplete version in that patients suffering with complete CES have paralysis of the bladder whereas those with the 'incomplete version do not and still have some degree of bladder sensation and function.

A patient with a paralysed bladder due to CES will no longer experience the sensation which tells them that they need to urinate. Their bladder will continue to fill but the patient will not feel the discomfort which is associated with the need to urinate. They may, as a result, leak urine without meaning to or realising. Their control of their bladder has been lost.

It is likely that a patient with complete cauda equina syndrome is also experiencing other symptoms.

They may have numbness around the buttocks and possible bowel incontinence.

They may have weakness of the legs and foot drop. This can make them dependent on a walking stick or wheelchair.

They may have lost their sexual sensation and function. For men this may mean that they have lost the ability to achieve an erection.

Delayed treatment of complete cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is frequently a medical emergency. Where possible, it is essential that the patient undergoes surgery before they reach the stage described above - painless retention of urine or complete cauda equina syndrome.

If a patient undergoes surgery after this stage has been reached, it is less likely that they will achieve a good recovery and they may continue to suffer disabling symptoms for the rest of their life.

Ideally, therefore, diagnosis should be achieved whilst the patient still has incomplete cauda equina syndrome and retains some bladder function. They may then achieve a degree of recovery of function in the lower body if surgery is carried out promptly.

Medical negligence

If a patient visits a medical professional, maybe their GP or Accident and Emergency, with incomplete CES but their symptoms are not recognised or investigated, it is possible that, by the time a diagnosis is achieved, they may have deteriorated to complete CES.

If they subsequently suffer a poor long-term outcome, the relevant medical practitioners may be regarded as having been negligent in their management of the patient.

Such circumstances may justify a claim for compensation for the patients pain, suffering and associated financial losses.

Legal advice

If you or a loved one are struggling with the appalling, permanent symptoms of CES due to medical delays, contact Glynns Solicitors to speak with a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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