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Medical Negligence and Complete Cauda Equina Syndrome

Medical Negligence and Complete Cauda Equina Syndrome

If a patient suffers the long-term impact of complete cauda equina syndrome due to failings in their medical care, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Complete cauda equina syndrome

A patient suffering from complete cauda equina syndrome is likely to be experiencing some or all of the following physical problems on a permanent basis:

  • Bladder incontinence or dysfunction
  • Bowel incontinence of both wind and faeces, or urgency
  • Loss of sexual sensation and function
  • Foot drop, causing a foot to drag when walking
  • Numbness and loss of mobility in both legs

The reason for this catalogue of shocking and disabling symptoms is that the patient's cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine have become compressed by some local condition such as a herniated disc or a tumour.

Cauda equina syndrome often develops gradually and, if the condition can be diagnosed before loss of function becomes permanent, the patient may recover. If investigation and diagnosis is delayed, however, the outcome for the patient can be catastrophic.

Timing is crucial.

Incomplete cauda equina syndrome

Ideally, the patient needs to be diagnosed accurately whilst their condition remains at the incomplete stage, meaning that all function has not been lost. At this stage, the patient is likely to be exhibiting symptoms which suggest that the cauda equina nerves are under pressure and starting to fail. It is crucial that these symptoms are investigated as a matter of emergency to try to avoid a lifetime of misery.

The symptoms which might suggest that the patient is suffering from incomplete, rather than complete, cauda equina syndrome would include the following:

  • Lower back and leg pain
  • Altered sensation in the saddle area, such as tingling or some numbness
  • Altered bladder function but not complete loss of sensation and control
  • Altered sensation around the anus and buttocks

Medical negligence

If a patient attends a medical professional, be it their GP or an Accident and Emergency practitioner, with these symptoms, and they are not assessed as a matter of emergency, the relevant professional may be regarded as having provided poor-quality care.

If the patient suffers long-term dysfunction as a result, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

Here at Glynns Solicitors, we have supported numerous clients in pursuing compensation claims for negligence related to cauda equina syndrome.

Contact us today if you or a loved one are struggling with this appalling condition due to substandard medical care.

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

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