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Cauda Equina Misdiagnosis
MRI Delays Lead to Complete Cauda Equina Syndrome

MRI Delays Lead to Complete Cauda Equina Syndrome

Despite arriving at A & E in extreme pain, it was eight days before Jan underwent surgery for cauda equina syndrome. But by then it was too late.

When Jan began to develop pain in her lower back, she sought help from her GP. On the doctor's advice, Jan started to take painkillers and the pain gradually eased.

Seven months later, however, it returned and, over a few days, deteriorated until Jan was in such severe pain that she could scarcely move. Her parents called an ambulance.

On arrival at A & E, Jan was suffering with severe pain in her left leg with numbness in her foot, and pain and weakness in both legs. It was decided that she should undergo an MRI scan the following day. This would have been an appropriate course of action which would have identified that Jan had a prolapsed disc which might be indicative of cauda equina syndrome.

Unfortunately, the MRI scan did not take place the following day. In fact, it did not take place until three days later. Jan was now suffering with pins and needles in both legs and could only struggle the short distance to the toilet with the help of a zimmer frame. Jan realised at this point that she had not emptied her bowels once since arriving at hospital.

The findings of the MRI scan should have been reported the same day but it was another three days before Jan's case was reviewed. She continued to be in excruciating pain during this time but was given no indication as to what the scan had shown or what would happen.

When Jan's MRI scan was eventually reviewed, it was recognised that she would need to be treated by a neurosurgical specialist and it was arranged for her to be transferred to another hospital. By this time, however, Jan's condition had worsened. She was now retaining urine and required a catheter.

Jan's decompression surgery finally took place the day after she was transferred, eight days after she first arrived at A & E.

Had Jan's symptoms been investigated and treated in a timely manner, it is likely that she would have made a full recovery. Sadly, she has instead been left with on-going urinary symptoms, reduced mobility and impaired sexual function.

We supported her in her claim for substandard care and she was awarded in excess of £200,000 compensation.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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