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Cauda Equina
Misdiagnosis of Severe Lower Back Pain in CES

Misdiagnosis of Severe Lower Back Pain in CES

A failure to recognise that severe lower back pain may be an indicator of cauda equina syndrome may lead to a catastrophic outcome and justify a claim for compensation.

Lower back pain may have a variety of underlying causes. It is essential that medical professionals consider all possible factors and undertake a thorough assessment of the patient to ensure that the most debilitating explanation, cauda equina syndrome is ruled out. A failure to do so may leave the patient with double incontinence and loss of mobility.

A diagnosis of muscle pain or sciatica or constipation may mean that the patient returns home without understanding the possible implications of their symptoms and the need to attend hospital as an emergency should they symptoms worsen.

Cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is most likely to present initially as pain in the lower back and legs. Unfortunately, if medical diagnosis and treatment are not sought and achieved promptly, these symptoms may extend to include loss of function of both bladder and bowel as well as loss of sensation and function in the legs and ankle reflexes.

Red flags symptoms of cauda equina syndrome:

  • Severe lower back pain which may radiate down the leg
  • Pain and sensation losses in both legs
  • Altered sensation in the saddle area between the legs and around the anus and buttocks
  • Altered bladder awareness and sensation
  • Altered urinary control such as having to strain or leakage or poor flow
  • Altered bowel function
  • Altered ankle reflex control

Medical negligence

A failure to suspect the possible diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome and a failure to assess the patient for the red flag symptoms may be regarded as negligent.

A failure to make a referral for an emergency MRI scan when most medical professionals would have considered it to be necessary may be regarded as negligent.

A failure to warn a patient of the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome when that would generally be thought necessary may be regarded as negligent.

Claiming compensation

If a patient suffers long-term disability due to cauda equina syndrome following a misdiagnosis of their symptoms, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

A successful compensation claim can address the financial issues of income losses and support needs which a patient with cauda equina syndrome may encounter.

Legal advice

Contact Glynns Solicitors, specialists in medical negligence compensation with expertise in cauda equina syndrome claims, to discuss your situation.

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

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