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Perineal Numbness Missed in Cauda Equina Syndrome Assessment

Perineal Numbness Missed in Cauda Equina Syndrome Assessment

A patient who visits their GP or Accident and Emergency facility with lower back and leg pain should undergo a thorough assessment for signs that their symptoms may be caused by pressure on the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine.

A failure to carry out such an assessment may allow the patient's condition to deteriorate to complete cauda equina syndrome before surgery is carried out. This may well leave the patient with a very poor long-term outcome.

Such a failure may also justify a claim for compensation for the pain, suffering and financial losses associated with the negligence.

Assessing for cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is, thankfully, a fairly rare condition and most people who suffer pain and possibly tingling and numbness in the lower back and one leg are probably suffering with sciatica.

However, it is possible that they may, in fact, be developing a far more serious condition due to compression of their cauda equina nerves. Cauda equina syndrome is a progressive condition where the compression of the nerves causes increasing loss of function in the lower body. The patient may ultimately find that they have lost control of both their bowel and their bladder. They may lose their mobility and become dependent on a wheelchair. They may also suffer loss of sexual sensation and function.

Consequently, it is essential that medical professionals assess a patient thoroughly for any indication that their symptoms are due to cauda equina compression.

Symptoms, in addition to lower back and leg pain, which might suggest this possibility would include the following:

  • Where the pain and tingling or weakness and numbness are present in both legs rather than one
  • Where the patient is experiencing an altered urinary function such as having to strain to commence urination or finding it difficult to empty the bladder
  • Where there is some loss of sensation in the saddle or perineal area between the legs and around the anus and buttocks
  • Where the patient is experiencing some loss of ankle reflex

Medical negligence

Therefore, a failure to examine a patient for any signs of altered sensation in the perineal area might mean that the underlying cause of their symptoms is missed and they may return home unaware that their condition may suddenly deteriorate.

A misdiagnosis due to a failure to examine may also mean that the medical practitioner fails to advise the patient of these red flag symptoms and the need to attend hospital as a matter of emergency should they develop.

Such a failing might also be regarded as negligent and may justify a claim for compensation if the patient should suffer long-term problems as a result of the subsequent delays in treating their condition.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are struggling with the appalling on-going problems associated with cauda equina syndrome due to poor medical care, you may wish to get expert legal advice.

Cauda equina syndrome compensation claims can be highly complex and require the management of a specialist lawyer. Glynns Solicitors is a niche medical negligence legal practice with extensive experience in cauda equina syndrome compensation.

Contact us today to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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