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Can I Sue My GP For Cauda Equina Syndrome?

If your GP failed to refer you to hospital for suspected cauda equina syndrome, you may have grounds for a medical negligence claim. To find out if you can sue your GP, please get in touch with us today.

GP failure to diagnose cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is associated with symptoms such as lower back pain, sciatica, perineal numbness and urinary dysfunction. Sometimes these symptoms will prompt a patient to head straight to an Accident and Emergency unit, while others will choose to attend their GP.

Unfortunately this can be problematic as general practitioners are not always familiar with cauda equina syndrome. Indeed, it is estimated that a GP will only deal with one case of cauda equina syndrome during the course of their career. Due to this lack of knowledge, it is possible that a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome will not even be considered.

A failure to diagnose is particularly prevalent amongst those patients who have previously attended A&E, only to be discharged with the wrong diagnosis. In such instances, the GP may rely upon the opinion of the hospital doctors, rather than investigating other potential causes.

There can also be a failure amongst GPs to note the progression of a disease. Cauda equina syndrome is a condition in which the symptoms will deteriorate, either gradually or very suddenly. Realising that a patient’s condition is declining is absolutely vital when diagnosing cauda equina syndrome, as the ‘red flag symptoms’ which indicate nerve compression may not be apparent at first, but may instead appear further down the line.

Cauda equina syndrome and GP negligence

When a GP fails to suspect a patient has cauda equina syndrome, the consequences will be very troubling. This is because a patient needs an emergency MRI scan to confirm a cauda equina syndrome, followed by emergency decompression surgery.

Only with this treatment will the condition be successfully cured. Any delay could mean the nerves become irreparably damaged, after which the patient will be left with permanent neurological complications.

If this is something to have affected you or your loved one, there may be action you can take. This is because a GP who fails to make a provisional diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, and therefore fails to refer a patient to hospital, will have provided a substandard level of care. If this causes a patient harm, there will be grounds for a compensation claim.

Suing your GP

To talk to a solicitor about suing your GP for cauda equina syndrome, please contact us today.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300, from a mobile click to call 01275 334030 or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a no cost, no obligation opinion.

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