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MRI Negligence in Cauda Equina Syndrome

MRI Negligence in Cauda Equina Syndrome

Medical failings relating to an MRI scan are frequently the focus of a compensation claim for cauda equina syndrome. Why does this happen and why does it matter?

A prompt MRI scan is crucial in the diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome and a delay can mean that the patient suffers a significantly worse long-term outcome.

Delays can occur for a variety of reasons:

Referral delay

If the GP or A amp; E practitioner who deals with the patient when they first attend their medical facility fails to recognise or investigate the possible symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, it is unlikely that the patient will receive the emergency referral for an MRI scan which they may well need.

Organisational delay

The patient may receive a referral for an emergency MRI scan but find that the hospital is slow to arrange it. This may be because the hospital does not have the appropriate facility and there is a delay in transferring the patient to another facility. It may be because the hospital does not recognise the urgency of the request.

Reporting delay

The MRI scan may take place within a suitable timeframe but the reporting of the results may be delayed. This may be due to a lack of suitable expertise or pressure of work or an over-weekend delay.

Why it matters

An MRI scan is necessary to confirm whether or not the patient's symptoms are being caused by compression to the cauda equina nerves. Decompression surgery cannot take place until this is clear. However, surgery can be a matter of emergency in this appalling condition and if there is a delay in undertaking the MRI scan it can allow the patient's symptoms to deteriorate further. This may well mean that the patient is less likely to recover the function they have already lost such as bowel and bladder control.

The patient may then suffer a lifetime of disability, finding it difficult or impossible to work or retain their social and personal relationships as well as their independence.

Medical negligence

If it can be shown that the delay in surgery led to the patient being left with a significantly worse outcome, and that the delay in surgery was due to an unnecessary delay in the MRI scan, the relevant medical professionals may well be regarded as having provided a substandard level of healthcare.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the appalling, long-term effects of delayed surgery for cauda equina syndrome, contact us to discuss your situation with a medical negligence solicitor experienced in cauda equina cases.

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