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No Cauda Equina Red Flag Warnings: Was my GP Negligent?

No Cauda Equina Red Flag Warnings: Was my GP Negligent?

Prompt diagnosis and treatment of cauda equina syndrome is absolutely crucial if the patient is to have a chance of recovering lower body function.

The emergency of cauda equina syndrome

If a patient developing cauda equina syndrome does not undergo decompression surgery at the optimum moment, it is likely that they will be left with permanent symptoms of bowel incontinence and loss of mobility.

The severity of the condition and the urgency of surgery is such that any patient who appears to be at risk of developing this appalling condition needs to understand the red flag symptoms fully.

If a patient visits their GP will possible early symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, the GP should advise them of the red flag symptoms. They also need to know that, should any of these symptoms start to develop, they should attend their nearest Accident and Emergency facility as a matter of emergency.

A swift response can give them a chance of recovering lost function, such as full bladder control, whereas a delay in attending a medical facility may lead to a lifetime of disability.

Red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

The red flag symptoms which should prompt the patient to attend Accident and Emergency immediately are as follows:

  • Alteration or loss of bladder sensation
  • Alteration in bladder function
  • Sexual dysfunction or loss of sensation
  • Disturbance or alteration of sensation in the saddle area between the legs and around the buttocks
  • Bilateral leg pain, weakness or pins and needles

All the above symptoms are indications that the patient is suffering increasing loss of function in the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine.

If the loss of function continues, the patient may not be able to recover that function. Once these symptoms start to develop, surgery becomes a matter of emergency.

Medical negligence

Therefore, if a GP does not warn a patient about cauda equina red flag symptoms when appropriate, they might be considered to have acted negligently.

If a patient attends the GP with sciatica symptoms in one leg, the GP should consider the need to check for and warn of the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the shocking long-term symptoms of cauda equine syndrome due to failure to warn you of the red flag symptoms, call us to discuss your situation. It might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

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

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

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