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Cauda equina syndrome compensation claims solicitors
While we always want to trust medical professionals, errors do occasionally occur in treatment that can lead to serious health complications. Cauda equina syndrome is a rare and severe type of spinal stenosis and if left untreated it can lead to permanent paralysis and incontinence. If you have suffered from cauda equina syndrome and your doctor has failed to timely diagnose or treat the condition swiftly then you may be entitled to compensation.
When you contact our expert medical negligence team, we will listen to the details of what happened to you and assess whether you might have a claim. Our specialist solicitors understand the long-term effect this condition can have and can help you secure the compensation you deserve to ensure you receive the care that you need. Our medical negligence claims are handled on a no win, no fee basis. Contact us today on 01616 966 229.
What is cauda equina syndrome?
Cauda equina syndrome is when the nerves in the lower back become severely compressed. This can happen very suddenly.
What are the common signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome?
Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include:
- Weakness or numbness in both legs that is severe or getting worse
- Sciatica on both sides
- Numbness around your genitals or anus
- Finding it difficult to control your bladder and bowel function
How quickly does the cauda equina syndrome develop?
Cauda equina symptoms can develop very rapidly, within the space of hours, or sometimes the symptoms may be more gradual.
How is cauda equina diagnosed?
A doctor, either GP or more likely an accident and emergency specialist, will usually take a detailed medical history including how and when the symptoms started.
In addition to a physical examination, the doctor will usually arrange for an MRI scan to look at the spine. Alternatively, a CT scan or myelogram (a type of x-ray) can be performed.
Can cauda equina syndrome be treated?
With cauda equina syndrome, a timely diagnosis is usually crucial for a better outcome. Delays in diagnosis and subsequent surgery can lead to paralysis and complete loss of bowel, bladder and sexual function.
Surgery is usually undertaken to release the pressure on the nerves. It is essential that surgery is carried out as a matter of urgency if there is rapid onset of symptoms to minimise the permanent damage caused by cauda equina syndrome.
Life after cauda equina syndrome
The aftercare and support you require will depend on the extent of damage which has been caused by the condition and the success of any surgical treatment you have undergone.
You may require adaptations to your home if your mobility has been affected and you are likely to require support and advice from physiotherapists and occupational therapists to help you adjust and adapt.
If your sexual function has been affected, then you are likely to be referred to a sex therapist and you may also need advice from specialist continence advisors too.
Cauda equina syndrome compensation claims
Cauda equina syndrome can progress very quickly and there is often only a short window of opportunity to treat it effectively. GP’s and A&E specialists may diagnose orthopaedic problems such as back pain rather than recognise the symptoms of cauda equina. However, as it is a rare condition, medical professionals can sometimes miss the warning signs.
At Stephensons, we can help you if your GP or A&E doctor failed to recognise the symptoms or misdiagnosed the condition, or if there has been a delay in getting specialist care and tests. We can also help and offer advice if your chiropractor failed to diagnose cauda equina syndrome.
Our medical negligence team will handle your case with care and sensitivity. While we know compensation can’t change all of the difficulties a cauda equina syndrome sufferer may face, it may help to improve your quality of life by covering the cost of current and future care, and changes to accommodation and equipment.
- We acted on a claim arising from a GPs failure to recognise the signs and symptoms of advancing cauda equina syndrome, the settlement was £285,000.
We settled a claim for failure to recognise, diagnose and treat cauda equina syndrome resulting in debilitating mobility and incontinence issues, in the sum of £700,000
Cauda equina syndrome FAQs
Can MRI miss cauda equina?
An MRI is the gold standard method for diagnosing cauda equina syndrome (CES). Such a scan should clearly identify whether the cauda equina nerves are being compressed. It should also reveal the cause of compression.
Can you have cauda equina without knowing?
CES often has a rapid onset with severe symptoms arising unexpectedly and become increasingly worse over a short period of time. However, cauda equina can also develop slowly with symptoms getting progressively worse over weeks, months or years. During that time, symptoms may seem to come and go, and an individual might enjoy periods of improvement
If the onset is gradual, then an individual might very well not know they have CES – especially as early symptoms often mimic other conditions such as lower back pain.
Can cauda equina develop slowly?
Yes. It is very possible for symptoms to develop gradually. Symptoms may seem to come and go and there might be occasions where symptoms do not appear to change over an extended period.
How serious is CES?
CES is a medical emergency which can often be difficult to diagnose.
Left untreated, CES can result in permanent paralysis of the legs, loss of bladder and bowel control and loss of sexual function. Even with treatment a patient may not retrieve full function.
In addition to physical problems, CES can also cause huge emotional distress. Loss of bladder and bowel control can be extremely distressing due to the negative impact it has on social life, work and relationships. Sexual dysfunction can also lead to relationship difficulties and depression.
What nerves are in the cauda equina?
CES affects a bundle of nerve roots called cauda equina (which is Latin for horse's tail). These nerves are located at the lower end of the spinal cord in the lumbosacral spine. They send and receive messages to and from the legs, feet and pelvic organs.
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