Cauda Equina Syndrome
Our friendly team of specialist lawyers at Medical Solicitors help people who have suffered from negligent medical treatment of cauda equina syndrome. Compensation can be claimed where there has been delayed diagnosis of cauda equina or delayed surgery to treat cauda equina due to Medical Negligence.
Do you have a compensation claim for negligent care of Cauda Equina Syndrome?
If you, or a loved one, have suffered permanent injuries after suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome then speak to a specialist Medical Solicitor (for our team click here). Our Lawyers will advise free of charge about whether you can make a formal complaint or bring a claim for compensation.
Do contact our friendly team of specialist lawyers at Medical Solicitors. We conduct most of our Clinical and Medical Negligence claims under No Win, No Fee agreements, also known as Conditional Fee Agreements. So, you do not have to worry about how you are going to afford to bring a claim. You have nothing to lose in speaking to us.
Compensation cannot bring back normal physical function in these distressing cases. However, it can go a long way towards making up for your past and future loss of earnings. In addition, the past and future cost of providing extra care. Given the life-changing disabilities that delayed treatment of this condition causes, cauda equina compensation is usually in large sums.
What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare condition when a group of nerves at the base of the spine (known as the ‘Cauda Equina’ – Latin for ‘horse’s tail’), that supply the lower parts of the body, become compressed. This is usually because of damage to the discs in the spine in the area of the Cauda Equina. The discs act as shock absorbers in the spine, but when they are damaged and spill out into the Cauda Equina, that bundle of nerves can become compressed.
What causes Cauda Equina Syndrome?
- Accident that crushes the spine (e.g. a car accident or fall)
- Penetrating injury (eg, a knife or gunshot wound)
- Complications of spinal anaesthesia
- Mass lesion (e.g., blood clot)
- Complications from cancer
- Side effect of medicine
What treatment is needed?
An estimated 400-600 patients are diagnosed with this condition every year in the UK. It is a medical emergency, needing urgent surgery to relieve the pressure. Otherwise, permanent and life-changing injuries can be suffered, as a patient may lose function below the waist and can even be paralysed below the waist.
What injuries can Cauda Equina Syndrome cause?
Cauda Equina Syndrome can lead to loss of feeling, or tingling, in the genital area (in men perhaps the inability to have an erection). There can be mobility problems (difficulty walking or dragging feet, or weakness/loss of sensation or pain down one leg and particularly an ankle loss of function), as well as continence issues affecting the bowel and bladder (inability to urinate, or to hold in urine or stools). These problems can become permanent if surgery is undertaken quickly enough. There is a period of up to 48 hours to treat the patient. The sooner surgery is done, within that time, the more chance there for better recovery.
Doctors should act quickly
There are symptoms that should alert a GP, or other care providers, to err on the side of caution, and to refer you to a hospital for urgent investigation. Cauda Equina Syndrome can often come on after a patient has been suffering from back pain for some time. A doctor should not assume that new symptoms are part and parcel of a less serious minor health condition. A doctor should be concerned if a patient is complaining of loss of sensation in the genitals, around the anus, numb buttocks, bowel or bladder problems, loss of sensation in the lower limbs (that can also be accompanied by shooting pains) and particularly loss of ankle movement.
If a patient is quickly diagnosed and promptly receives surgery, then a full recovery is possible. However, a delay can lead to permanent disabilities that can have life-changing and financially devastating effects on the patient and their family. A patient may find they can no longer walk normally and have to use a stick or other aids. They may become permanently incontinent and lose sexual function.
Examples of past successful cauda equina claims:
£250,000 to a lady who had suffered long-standing back problems and had undergone two past operations on her spine. She developed difficulty passing urine and numbness in her right buttock going down her thigh. Her GP and the local Accident and Emergency Department did not recognise the severity of her problems, so her eventual surgery was delayed. She was left with permanent and severe pain in one leg and foot and a loss of bowel and bladder control.
£225,000 to a 54-year-old man, a former lorry driver, who injured his back after moving road signs around in a lorry. He visited 2 GPs who both failed to spot Cauda Equina Syndrome. He lost his job and was left in permanent pain with mobility problems. He needed shin splints and walks with the aid of elbow crutches.
Follow our links below to quickly access some of our other information pages:
- defining your needs after poor medical care
- complaining about care
- funding a medical negligence claim
- Conditional fee agreements
- Time limits
- How are claims settled?
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