Anyone who starts to suffer back pain after injuring their spine needs to be aware of the dangers posed by cauda equina. If left untreated this condition can have devastating, life-changing consequences. Cauda Equina UK is campaigning to have this little known syndrome more widely publicised so that people who start to experience symptoms may recognise what it is and obtain urgent medical attention.
Swift diagnosis and treatment is crucial and our medical accident team are called in when errors are made by healthcare professionals which result in the condition being misdiagnosed or mistreated. So if you have been affected by this issue and require guidance on making a cauda equina compensation claim then we are here to help.
Fortunately cauda equina syndrome is relatively rare. It occurs when the nerve groups in the cauda equina (situated below your waist line on your “saddle patch”) become compressed. Nerve groups within the cauda equina are responsible for the supply of nerves to your bowel, bladder, lower limbs and the sensation of the skin around your bottom and back passage.
If the nerves within the cauda equina become compressed, you may start to experience red flag signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, which include:
- Saddle anaesthesia;
- Bladder and bowel disturbance;
- Weakness of your lower limbs;
- Nerve root pain; and
- Sexual function problems.
Although the cauda equina is protected by your vertebrae, it is still vulnerable to damage, which may be caused by trauma to the spine, tumours on the cauda equina secondary to medical procedures, a slipped or compressed disk, vascular problems and infections.
The recent legal case of Kerry Ann Shaw v Dr Drew Stead emphasised how the delay in diagnosis and treatment of cauda equina syndrome can cause devastating effects and lifelong problems for an individual.
Ms Shaw suffered trauma to her spine and began to suffer with back pain, numbness in her legs, tingling sensations, feeling dizzy and she was not able to go to the toilet. Two days later, Ms Shaw was seen by Dr Stead who diagnosed her with sciatica, despite her history of trauma. Due to her further deterioration, Ms Shaw sought further medical attention two days later, at which time she was unable to move her lower legs. She was immediately referred to an Accident and Emergency Department and an MRI scan was performed which revealed a large central disc prolapse. She was then diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome and treated accordingly, however, the delay in diagnosis had already caused irreversible disability. As a result Ms Shaw made a cauda equina compensation claim against the doctor.
The case highlights the need for GPs and treating medical practitioners to be alive to the syndrome and its symptoms. Dr Stead failed to recognise and act upon Ms Shaw’s red flag symptoms and the Court concluded that his care fell below the “reasonable standard” to be expected.
If you have suffered disibilty from cauda equina syndrome that you feel was due to a delay in your diagnosis or inappropriate medical treatment then we can assist you in making a cauda equina compensation claim. We offer a free legal case assessment and can deal with claims on a No Win, No Fee basis.
If you feel you may have a claim, do not delay, as in order to bring a clinical negligence claim, you must do so within three years of the date of injury or three years from your date of knowledge.
Our clinical negligence team is dedicated to helping those who have suffered as a result of errors made by medical professionals which have resulted in lifelong problems. For further information about making a cauda equina compensation claim please contact our specialist clinical negligence team on 0800 975 8091 to discuss your potential claim. Alternatively, email us at [email protected]