Cauda equina syndrome occurs when the nerves at the base of the spine are trapped, causing excessive pressure. Symptoms tend to include pain or discomfort in the affected areas, most frequently the lower back, legs and bowels. Difficulty passing urine is another common side effect. Although the condition is fairly rare, if left untreated it can lead to serious complications such as permanent nerve damage, or even paralysis. This means that early diagnosis is vitally important, in order to avoid any delays in treatment. If you are suffering from any or all of the symptoms outlined above, you should contact your GP immediately or visit your nearest A&E department. A GP, doctor or hospital consultant should recognise a patient’s 'red flag’ symptoms, which should trigger emergency medical attention.
Providing the condition is diagnosed promptly, pressure on the nerves can be relieved without any lasting damage. Unfortunately, because cauda equina syndrome is relatively uncommon, it can sometimes go totally undiagnosed. This is especially true in circumstances where a patient suffers medical negligence. While this is inexcusable, the good news is that it does mean a claim is more likely to be successful. This is because a complete failure to diagnose a condition is considerably easier to prove than a simple delayed diagnosis. Research has shown that nearly half of all cauda equina claims result in compensation for the victim.
Damage to the spinal cord itself is almost always irreversible. Recovery depends on the accuracy of the diagnosis and the subsequent promptness of treatment and care by doctors, specialists and other practitioners on a medical team.
If diagnosis, testing and treatment are not received within 8 hours, the outcome for a patient can be life-changing.
Long term consequences include:
- Difficulty in walking
- Impaired bladder and/or bowel control
- Nerve/neurological problems
- Permanent paralysis
A permanent spinal injury can have a devastating, traumatic impact upon the whole family, especially if the damage was avoidable and if sufficient care was not taken.
Permanent damage and spinal injuries caused by complications arising from symptoms missed, misdiagnosed or mistreated can all be grounds for clinical negligence claims relating to cauda equina syndrome.
As these cases are often complicated, it is vitally important that you seek a legal expert who has a specialist knowledge of the key medical issues, together with a sympathetic and sensitive understanding of how everyone involved is affected.
Your Legal Friend has many years of experience in successfully resolving different types of clinical negligence cases.
If you have developed cauda equina syndrome due to receiving negligent medical care, you may have a claim. With a wealth of specialist knowledge in medical negligence cases, we can provide advice support and guidance throughout the process. There are no upfront fees or payments, so talk to Your Legal Friend today for more information.