Spinal Cord Injury Compensation

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Spinal Cord Claims

The effects of cauda equina or other spinal injury can be catastrophic for an individual, leading to motor and sensory paralysis which may affect bladder and bowel control, and also sexual function. Sometimes this is the result of trauma or disease. However, sometimes spinal injury may have been caused by medical negligence.

Cases that we deal with include:

  • Failure to diagnose cauda equina syndrome
  • Failure to diagnose fractures of the back and neck
  • Surgical errors
  • Facet joint injection errors
  • Epidural anaesthesia errors

What is cauda equina syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome is a medical condition in which the nerves at the bottom of the back suddenly become compressed. This causes symptoms including;

  • Back pain.
  • Numbness around the back passage and genital area.
  • Pins and needles down the leg or legs.
  • The inability to pass water (or loss of feeling of the need to urinate) which leads to urinary incontinence as the bladder fills and isn’t emptied.
  • Bowel incontinence.

Cauda equina syndrome is rare but very serious. Once cauda equina is suspected by a doctor, it requires emergency admission to hospital and emergency surgery to decompress the nerves in the spine.

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. However, if there is a delay in diagnosis or a delay in treatment, the outcome from surgery can be devastating. Patients may subsequently suffer from permanent bladder and bowel incontinence and paralysis. The greater the delay in diagnosis and treatment, the worse the outcome is likely to be.

Do you have a potential medical negligence claim?

If you believe you have suffered as a result of delayed or missed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, or any other spinal cord injury, you may have a medical negligence claim.

Due to the complex medical and legal issues involved it is essential that you talk to a specialist clinical negligence solicitor. A specialist will understands all of the implications of a spinal 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 also have a dual-qualified doctor/solicitor on our clinical negligence team. We are happy to offer free, confidential, and professional advice on potential clinical negligence claims.

Case studies:

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

Cauda Equina Claim – £500,000+ in Compensation:

Failed Diagnosis:
  • Our client brought a clinical negligence claim against a hospital regarding a failure to diagnose cauda equina syndrome.
  • Prior to developing cauda equina syndrome, our client had a history of back pain. However, they were largely independent except with very heavy housework. She used a walking stick but did not require a wheelchair.
  • In the early hours one morning she experienced new back pain. This radiated down her left leg with numbness and pins and needles in the leg. As these were new symptoms, our client attended A & E where they explained the symptoms to the doctor.
  • The doctor asked our client whether they could hold their bladder and bowels, which they could (i.e. they had not be incontinent). However, the doctor did not enquire when our client had last urinated. They then did not make any further enquiries in relation to bladder or bowel symptoms.
  • In fact, our client had not passed water since the night before. This was not normal for them as they would normally urinate when they woke up.
  • Despite the new symptom of pins and needles, our client was discharged home with a diagnosis of flare up of back pain.
  • At home, our client continued to suffer from pins and needles in their left leg all day and found that they could only pass small amounts of urine.
Worsening Symptoms:
  • The next day, our client tried to walk to the toilet but could not get out of bed or put any weight on their leg. Their left leg was completely numb. The bed was wet but our client had not felt themselves pass water. Our client had no sensation in their genitals.
  • A GP attended our client’s home and diagnosed possible cauda equina syndrome and called an ambulance which took our client to hospital.
  • At the hospital, our client underwent an MRI scan which demonstrated central disc lesion compressing the lower lumbar theca at L5/S1.
  • Our client underwent surgery the next day to decompress her spine.
  • Unfortunately, the surgery happened too late and our client was left with disabling symptoms. These symptoms included urinary incontinence, some faecal incontinence, and ongoing numbness in the left leg with foot drop – such that our client required a wheelchair even within their own home.
How We Helped:
  • It was alleged that the A & E doctor failed to diagnose possible cauda equina syndrome. Specifically, they failed to take note of the fact that, although our client had a long history of back pain, they had new back pain radiating down their leg with new symptoms of pins and needles. Furthermore, the doctor failed to adequately explore our client’s bladder symptoms. The doctor asked whether our client was incontinent of urine but didn’t ask when they had last passed urine, which it turned out was quite a considerable time before the attendance.
  • It was alleged that if the A & E doctor had considered a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome this would have been confirmed earlier by way of examination by a Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon and MRI scan and our client would have undergone surgery earlier.
  • It was alleged that with earlier surgery, our client would not have been left disabled, avoiding her bladder and bowel symptoms, the numbness in their left leg and foot drop. Our client would have avoided the need to use a wheelchair except over long distances and would have been independent.
  • 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 their claim.
Compensation Achieved:
  • Our client recovered over half a million pounds by way of compensation for their clinical negligence claim.
  • This compensation has allowed our client to obtain more suitable accommodation that would meet their wheelchair needs and the care and assistance they need for the rest of their life.
  • We are currently also investigating several more claims regarding delayed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome

Contact us regarding a potential claim:

Please contact us for advice if you feel you have suffered any form of negligent medical/dental treatment. We have a specialist team of solicitors who are always happy to help.

If you would like advice on whether you have a potential clinical negligence claim or assistance with drafting a letter of complaint, please contact us on 01244 354688. Please note that there are legal time limits in place for starting a claim for compensation. However, our specialist clinical negligence solicitors will be able to advise you specifically on the facts of your own case.

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

Linda Schermer

Associate Director & Solicitor

Kerry Goulden

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Liz Fry

Medical Negligence Solicitor

Jyoati Chada

Medical Negligence Solicitor

Emma Woodrow

Clinical Negligence Fee Earner

Chloe Rheade

Litigation Executive

Martyn Elliott

Solicitor

Samantha Smith

Solicitor