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Cauda Equina
Medical Negligence and the Cauda Equina Nerves

Medical Negligence and the Cauda Equina Nerves

Essential function of the cauda equina nerves: The cauda equina nerves are found in the lower, or lumbar, region of the back. They are absolutely crucial to the effective functioning of the bowel and bladder, as well as the successful movement of the legs and feet. If an individual starts to develop pain in the lower back and symptoms which might suggest cauda equina nerve dysfunction, prompt and skilled medical attention is vital.

These essential nerves allow a person to feel the sensation of needing to urinate or needing to defecate. They also initiate the movement which allows urination and defecation to occur. If they cease to function, a person can become doubly incontinent.

Assessing cauda equina dysfunction

A patient attending their GP with lower back and leg pain needs to be carefully assessed for any additional signs or symptoms which might indicate cauda equina compression as the cause of their problems.

Possible early symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, a debilitating and life-changing condition, could include the following:

  • Bilateral leg symptoms
  • Altered sensation in the saddle area and around the buttocks
  • Altered bladder sensation such as reduced awareness of needing to urinate
  • Altered experience when urinating such as a poor flow
  • Altered bowel function or sensation
  • Reduced ankle reflexes

Medical negligence

A failure by a medical professional to either assess a patient for these symptoms or to recognise the significance of these symptoms may mean that the patient does not receive the necessary referral for an MRI scan. Depending on the nature of the symptoms, this may be a matter of emergency.

A failure to refer a patient for an emergency scan may be regarded as negligent. If the patient suffers a deterioration in symptoms and a poor long-term outcome as a result of the subsequent delay, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Surgery to decompress the cauda equina nerves can sometimes also be regarded as a medical emergency, needing to commence within a matter of hours. If the nerves can be decompressed before too much function is lost, the patient may avoid developing further appalling symptoms. A failure by medical professionals to understand the urgent nature of the situation or to arrange surgery at the earliest possible moment may be regarded as substandard care.

Claiming compensation

If you or a loved one are struggling with the shocking impact of cauda equina syndrome due to poor-quality medical care, it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns Solicitors, specialists in medical negligence compensation, with extensive expertise in cauda equina claims.

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

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