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Suing my GP for Cauda Equina Syndrome

Suing my GP for Cauda Equina Syndrome

The timing of diagnosis and surgery for cauda equina syndrome is crucial to the patient's long-term outcome. If a GP fails to recognise the symptoms or the urgency with which action should be taken, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

The long-term impact of cauda equina syndrome

A delay in either the diagnosis or treatment of cauda equina syndrome can leave the patient with a catalogue of distressing and disabling symptoms:

  • Loss of control of the bowel, affecting both faeces and wind control
  • Loss of control of the bladder
  • Loss of sexual sensation and function
  • Numbness and weakness in the legs

The impact of such a shocking combination of physical problems can be wide-ranging, affecting the person's ability to walk, drive, work and function independently.

Consequently, it is vital that GPs are able to recognise the symptoms which might be indicative of cauda equina syndrome and understand the need for immediate action.

If the patient is experiencing symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and yet still retains some bladder sensation, it is likely that they need an emergency response. If diagnosis and surgery are delayed until the patient has lost bladder sensation, it is likely that their long-term outlook will be worse.

Diagnosis and symptoms indicative of cauda equina syndrome:

Symptoms which should prompt an emergency response would include the following:

  • Lower back and leg pain with possible numbness
  • Altered sensation in the saddle area and around the buttocks, such as numbness
  • Altered experience of urinating such as having to strain
  • Alteration of awareness of needing to urinate
  • Bilateral leg symptoms

It is essential that a GP makes a thorough assessment and examination of the patient to check for these symptoms. An assumption that the patient is suffering from sciatica may mean that key red flag symptoms are missed.

The patient may need an emergency MRI scan and emergency treatment and a delay in arranging these may be regarded as negligent.

If the patient is not showing any signs or symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and yet is suffering with lower back pain, it may still be necessary to warn them of the red flag symptoms above. Red flag symptoms are a sign that the individual needs to go to hospital immediately and if a GP fails to make this clear, they may be negligent.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are struggling with the long-term impact of cauda equina syndrome due to medical delays, contact Glynns to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

We have extensive experience of cauda equina syndrome compensation claims and will be very happy to help you.


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

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