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Cauda Equina Syndrome: A Medical Emergency

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a medical emergency. This means that it must be treated immediately if a patient is to avoid serious complications. If there is a delay – perhaps because doctors take a long making a diagnosis or do not appreciate the need for urgent treatment – there could be case of medical negligence.

Why must Cauda Equina Syndrome be treated as an emergency?

Cauda Equina Syndrome is when the nerves at the bottom of the spine (called the ‘cauda equina’) become compressed. Often this is because of a slipped disc, although a spinal tumour, infection, inflammatory disease or traumatic incident can also be the cause.

When the nerves are compressed, they will suffer damage, leading to symptoms of a neurological nature. These include pain in the back and legs, altered urinary habits and poor rectal tone. A patient is then said to have Cauda Equina Syndrome.

A medical professional who is confronted with these symptoms should consider whether a patient could be suffering spinal nerve compression. It is true that the symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome are very similar to other more minor conditions, but nerve compression should certainly be on their list of differential diagnoses, as it is vital to at least rule out Cauda Equina Syndrome.

This is because if Cauda Equina Syndrome is present, urgent treatment will be required. Otherwise the nerves will become increasingly damaged, leading to long-term complications. The only way to avoid this is to make an early diagnosis and provide immediate treatment. Therefore if there is any suspicion whatsoever that a patient could have nerve compression diagnostic tests should be carried out to ensure an accurate diagnosis is obtained.

What happens if there is a delay?

However, medical professionals do not always treat Cauda Equina Syndrome as a medical emergency. Often this is because:-

If there is a delay for any of the aforementioned reasons, the prolonged compression of the nerves will actually cause the nerve cells to die. They will not be able to regenerate after this, meaning a patient will be left with permanent complications of a life-altering nature.

Cauda equina syndrome claims

If your Cauda Equina Syndrome was not treated as a medical emergency, get in touch with us at the Cauda Equina Solicitors to discuss claiming compensation for the pain and suffering you have been caused.

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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