Cauda Equina Syndrome Claims

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Cauda Equina Syndrome Claims

If cauda equina syndrome has been misdiagnosed or negligently treated, you may be able to make a compensation claim.

What is cauda equina syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome is a rare, but very serious, medical condition in which the nerves at the bottom of the back suddenly become very compressed (squeezed together). These nerves are responsible for the function of the pelvis and lower limbs.

There can be numerous different causes for this including, for example, trauma to the spine, a herniated disc in the back, an infection in the spinal canal, a tumour or a narrowing of the spinal canal.

How is cauda equina diagnosed and treated?

If cauda equina syndrome is suspected, emergency admission to hospital is required.

This can cause symptoms including;

  • Lower back pain, sometimes radiating to the buttocks and/or leg(s)
  • Numbness / pins and needles / tingling, sometimes in the leg(s), anus and/or genital area
  • Weakness, often in the leg(s)
  • Difficulty and/or lack of control when passing urine
  • Difficulty and/or lack of control when opening your bowels

At the hospital a full history should be taken, to include details such as a description of your symptoms, and the timeline of how they occurred, and any relevant past medical history. An examination should also be performed, to include an assessment of pain, strength, sensation and mobility. The condition is then often diagnosed following an MRI scan.

Once diagnosed, emergency surgery to decompress the nerves in the spine is necessary.

What happens if there is a delay in diagnosis or treatment of cauda equina syndrome?

If diagnosed and treated early the symptoms of cauda equina can resolve and patients can have a good prognosis. This is however dependent upon the degree of compression and damage at the time of surgery.  With cauda equina syndrome, every second counts.

The longer the nerves are left compressed, the more damage is likely to have been caused. In such circumstances, the outcome from surgery can be devastating and catastrophic. Patients may subsequently suffer from life changing injuries, including ongoing pain, impaired bladder and bowel control, motor and sensory paralysis, and also sexual dysfunction, all of which could be permanent. The impact of a delay in diagnosis can therefore be huge and can very often result in the need for care, assistance and other aids for the rest of a patient’s life.

The greater the delay in diagnosis and treatment, the worse the outcome is likely to be.

Can you make a compensation claim?

If you believe you have suffered as a result of delayed diagnosis or negligently treated cauda equina syndrome, you may be eligible to claim compensation.

Due to the complex medical and legal issues involved, it is essential that you talk to a specialist clinical negligence solicitor. A specialist will understand all the implications of a cauda equina injury. This means that they can maximise your compensation if you succeed in your claim. You can contact us by calling 01244 354688, or by filling in our contact form. We are happy to offer free, confidential, and professional advice on potential clinical negligence claims.

It is important to contact us as soon as possible. This is because there are strict time limits in place for making a claim for compensation. Once contacted, our solicitors will be able to advise you specifically on the facts of your own case. We even have an in-house dual-qualified doctor/solicitor who can assist in assessing whether or not you may have suffered from clinical negligence.

Why choose us?

Why choose Oliver & Co Medical Negligence team? – Read our guide.

You can direct dial our Clinical Negligence Department on 01244 354688 or fill in our contact us form.

Case studies:

Every year, we help lots of clients just like you to claim the compensation they deserve. Below is a case study, which is an example of how we have helped a client claim compensation for missed or delayed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome in the past. Please be aware that the compensation amounts depend on the client’s individual situation and experiences. To see how much your claim could be worth please contact us directly.

Case Study 1: £500,000+ in Compensation

  • Our client had a history of back pain, requiring a walking stick and assistance with very heavy housework.
  • One morning, she experienced new back pain that radiated down her left leg with numbness and pins and needles.
  • At A&E she was assessed by a doctor. At this time our client had not passed urine since the night before, which was unusual for her. However, the doctor did not ask about this. Despite the new symptom of pins and needles, our client was discharged home with a diagnosis of flare up of back pain.
  • Our client’s symptoms continued and worsened and, by the next morning, she was unable to mobilise. She had also been incontinent of urine and had no sensation in her genitals.
  • The GP suspected cauda equina syndrome and an ambulance conveyed our client to hospital where an MRI scan demonstrated compression at the L5/S1.
  • Our client thereafter underwent decompression surgery but was left with disabling symptoms including urinary incontinence, some faecal incontinence, ongoing numbness in the left leg and left foot drop – such that she required a wheelchair.
How we helped:
  • Our client brought a claim for a delay in diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, including a failure to appreciate the new radiating back pain and pins and needles and a failure to explore our client’s bladder symptoms. It was alleged that, had the doctor done so, this would have led to earlier diagnosis and surgery, and therefore a better outcome (avoiding her bladder and bowel symptoms, ongoing numbness and left foot drop).
  • Initially, the defendant strongly denied liability but with the help of expert evidence from eminent doctors, including an A&E expert, Neurosurgeon and Urologist, our client was successful in her claim and recovered over half a million pounds in compensation.
  • This compensation has allowed our client to obtain more suitable accommodation that meets her wheelchair needs and has enabled the provision of care and assistance for the rest of her life.

How can we help you?

Our team is headed by a dual-qualified doctor and solicitor, so we benefit from in-house medical knowledge. Our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to help. We can quickly and efficiently assess any areas of potential negligence for a wide range of claims.

We have experience in dealing with cauda equina compensation claims (please see case study above).

We have also developed brilliant working relationships with experts in many different fields (including Neurosurgery, Urology and Care and Occupational Therapy) who we know to be approachable and reliable in assisting us with cauda equina compensation claims which allows us to ensure we get great expert advice for our clients.

Want to have a free and confidential chat in relation to a potential cauda equina claim? Give our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors a call on 01244 354688.

For free advice from our Medical Negligence solicitors, please call us direct on 01244 354688

Linda Schermer-Jones

Head of the Clinical Negligence Department, Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Kerry Goulden

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Liz Fry

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Emma Woodrow

Clinical Negligence Legal Adviser