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£1 Million Plus For Multiple Missed Opportunities in Cauda Equina Diagnosis

£1 Million Plus For Multiple Missed Opportunities in Cauda Equina DiagnosisAlthough Judith’s symptoms warranted an emergency response, it was fourteen days before she underwent the necessary MRI scan and emergency surgery.

Previous back problems had meant that Judith had needed surgery to resolve pain caused by a bulging disc.

When she again began to experience lower back pain, radiating down the right buttock and leg, she sought an appointment at her GP practice. She was given pain killers and told to return if her symptoms deteriorated.

The medication had little effect on Judith’s pain and so, a week later, with pain now in both buttocks, she rang the practice again and spoke to another GP. The GP prescribed additional pain relief and advised Judith to visit the surgery if her symptoms deteriorated. There seemed to be no urgency to examine Judith or to advise her that she should attend A&E immediately should she start to experience loss of sensation in the saddle region or any signs of incontinence.

Over the next couple of days, Judith realised that her symptoms were deteriorating with increasing loss of sensation in the saddle area, constipation and difficulty walking due to loss of power in the right leg. She managed to get an appointment with her GP for the following day but her request for a referral to hospital was refused.

Extraordinarily, although Judith told the GP about her new symptoms and, despite the fact that the GP examined Judith, noting urinary leakage and reduced ankle flexion, no red flag warning was given and no referral was made for an MRI scan. A patient exhibiting Judith’s symptoms, which are indicative of developing cauda equina syndrome, requires an emergency MRI scan to confirm the causes of these neurological problems.

Sadly, a further opportunity to respond urgently to Judith’s symptoms was missed yet again a few days later when she had a routine appointment with another GP. Judith described again all the symptoms that she was now experiencing. The GP undertook an examination of Judith which should have prompted an emergency referral to hospital but only a routine referral was made.

The following day, unable to bear the increasing pain, Judith attended her GP surgery again but, although she was given more pain relief, there was no attempt to expedite her ‘routine’ referral.

Judith’s appalling symptoms continued to cause her extreme distress over the following days whilst she waited for, and chased, her hospital referral.

Judith finally received notification that her referral appointment was through – for 11 days after she had been told the referral had been made.

Not surprisingly, when Judith attended the hospital, the severity of her symptoms was finally recognised. Within six hours of her arrival at the hospital, she had been examined, undergone an emergency MRI scan and was in surgery for decompression of her cauda equina nerves.

In the weeks and months following her surgery, Judith realised that her delayed diagnosis has meant that she now suffers with a wide range of debilitating and highly-distressing symptoms. She cannot walk without the use of a stick due to foot drop on both sides. She also suffers with urinary and bowel problems and continues to experience pain.

The impact of this catalogue of errors on Judith’s life has been considerable, affecting not only herself but her husband and children. She has been unable to return to work and is restricted in the extent to which she can carry out household chores and care for her children.

Had Judith’s red flag symptoms been recognised and acted upon when she first described them to her GP, fourteen days prior to her eventual surgery, the outcome is likely to have been dramatically better for her. She is likely to have recovered much, if not all, of her bladder, bowel and mobility function.

Judith asked Glynns Solicitors to help her in her claim for compensation. We appointed experts to investigate Judith’s level of care, as a result of which she was awarded in excess of £1,000,000 in compensation.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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    I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for taking on J’s case, for the comprehensive advice and also for keeping us regularly updated with regard to the progress. I would not hesitate to recommend you or the firm to anyone in the future.

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    Julie and everyone at Glynns is amazing, they have been more like friends than solicitors and have helped me no end throughout my ordeal. I have had lots of medical advice from specialists which I am eternally grateful for which was all thanks to Glynns. I have to say I will actually miss my contact with Glynns when my case is over and would not hesitate to recommend them to other people who have been through a similar thing to me.

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    I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for taking on J’s case, for the comprehensive advice and also for keeping us regularly updated with regard to the progress. I would not hesitate to recommend you or the firm to anyone in the future.

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