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Cauda Equina
Is it Negligent to Ignore Bilateral Sciatica?

Is it Negligent to Ignore Bilateral Sciatica?

Failing to investigate possible symptoms of cauda equina syndrome can prove catastrophic. If the patient's condition is not recognised at an early stage, the compression of their cauda equina nerves may increase, leaving them with permanent bowel and bladder incontinence even if surgery is undertaken.

Acting on cauda equina symptoms

A medical professional who fails to act on the red flag warning signs of cauda equina syndrome may be regarded as having been negligent. It may then be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Symptoms such as changes to sensation in the pelvic region are often recognised as possible indicators of a deteriorating condition. If the patient is experiencing difficulties when urinating or is losing sensation around the anus, their medical professional may be prompted to take action.

Bilateral symptoms

Bilateral leg symptoms are also an indicator that the patient may be developing cauda equina syndrome rather than simply suffering from sciatica and a failure to investigate further may cost the patient their independence.

The first signs that an individual is developing cauda equina syndrome are pain in the lower back radiating down one leg. They may also be experiencing tingling in the leg or some weakness. This is often diagnosed as sciatica and may remain confined to one side of the body.

If these symptoms start to spread to the second leg, however, it may indicate that the patient is suffering compression of the cauda equina nerves and requires emergency attention.

Assessing cauda equina symptoms

Pain which radiates down both legs, or loss of feeling spreading to the second buttock, can be signs that the patient may be developing cauda equina syndrome. It would be appropriate for the medical professional to assess the patient for any other symptoms of cauda equina syndrome such as reduction of ankle flex or altered sensation in the saddle area. The medical professional should also consider the need for a referral for an emergency MRI scan

The patient may not have cauda equina syndrome but individuals presenting with bilateral leg symptoms in addition to lower back pain are considered to be in danger of developing the condition and a delay in assessing the underlying cause of their symptoms may leave them disabled.

The patient may require an emergency or urgent MRI scan to clarify the condition of their lower back. If their scan shows compression of the cauda equina nerves, probably due to a herniated disc, the patient is likely to need emergency surgery.

In these circumstances, there is a good chance that the patient will recover much of the function and feeling that they have lost.

If investigation and treatment are delayed, however, the patient may experience further loss of function and sensation on a permanent basis.

Claiming compensation

If you are suffering the shocking long-term effects of complete cauda equina syndrome due to a delay by your medical practitioner, contact Glynns for legal advice.

We have supported numerous clients in suing their medical practitioner for substandard care and will be very happy to help you.

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

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