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Physiotherapist Did Not Suspect Cauda Equina Syndrome

Physiotherapist Did Not Suspect Cauda Equina Syndrome

Did your physiotherapist fail to realise that you were suffering from cauda equina syndrome? If so there could be a case of medical negligence.

All medical practitioners must provide patients with a reasonable standard of care, including physiotherapists. If they fail to do so, there could be grounds for a compensation claim.

If you believe your physiotherapist was negligent in failing to recognise the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and refer you for further investigations, please get in touch with us today.

Should a physio recognise cauda equina syndrome?

Some physiotherapists are delegated to accept referrals from GPs and have the designation of 'Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist'. Such physiotherapists would be expected to possess a knowledge of spinal conditions, plus relevant assessment and clinical decision making skills broadly equivalent to a registrar grade Orthopaedic Surgeon.

Therefore a physiotherapist should be fully aware of cauda equina syndrome, which is an uncommon but well documented clinical diagnosis. It should be possible for a physiotherapist to recognise the signs of cauda equina syndrome, which include leg weakness, numbness around the genitals and urinary dysfunction.

Should a physio refer a patient with suspected cauda equina syndrome?

A physiotherapist should have sufficient understanding of cauda equina syndrome to know that when a patient is displaying these symptoms, an emergency MRI scan is required. The patient should be referred for MRI investigations immediately, and this will either confirm or rule out cauda equina compression.

If a physiotherapist does suspect cauda equina syndrome, it is their responsibility to refer a patient for an MRI scan/to a higher authority. A physiotherapist will not normally have access to MRI scanning facilities, so an urgent request must be lodged. Only once the MRI images have been obtained can a patient be evaluated.

Physiotherapist fails to recognise cauda equina syndrome

If a physiotherapist fails to recognise the presenting symptoms of a developing incomplete cauda equina syndrome, the patient will not be immediately referred to a spinal surgeon. This falls below the standard of care a patient could reasonably have expected to receive from a designated spinal service.

If this delay causes a patient to suffer persistent symptoms, there could be a case of medical negligence.

Want to know more?

For more information on claiming compensation for cauda equina syndrome, please get in touch with our specialist solicitors today. We will offer you expert legal advice during a free initial enquiry.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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