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Cauda Equina Syndrome And Emergency On-Call Services

Many cauda equina syndrome patients will call or visit an emergency medical practitioner during the early stages of their condition. Unfortunately, however, problems with a diagnosis can occur.

Diagnosing cauda equina syndrome

During the onset of cauda equina syndrome, it is possible that a patient will visit a number of different medical practitioners.

For example, a patient may first attend their GP complaining of lower back pain and other symptoms. If cauda equina syndrome is not suspected at this stage, a patient will be sent home, only for their condition to deteriorate. Subsequently a patient may go straight to A&E, make another GP appointment, or contact an out-of-hours service.

There may be a failure to diagnose at each stage, but problems are particularly prevalent with emergency on-call services. This is because consultations are often conducted over the phone, meaning a medical practitioner cannot perform a neurological examination – something which is vital if cauda equina syndrome is to be accurately diagnosed.

Even a patient does have a face-to-face appointment, the medical practitioner will not be aware of a patient’s history. If this knowledge were available, it would reveal a progression of symptoms commonly associated with cauda equina syndrome.

Furthermore, there may be a lack of experience amongst those doctors/nurses attending a patient. Indeed, cauda equina syndrome is a relatively rare condition and even the average GP will only see one case of CES during the course of the careers.

As a result of these factors, it is very possible that an emergency on-call service will fail to refer a patient to hospital for an urgent MRI scan.

Delay in diagnosis

If there is a delay in diagnosing cauda equina syndrome, the patient will be left with irreparable nerve damage. This will mean a life-time of neurological complications, including total or partial paralysis, urinary dysfunction and sexual dysfunction.

Evidently such complications will be devastating for the individual concerned, and will be all the more tragic if earlier medical intervention could have prevented problems arising. Sadly this is often the case with cauda equina sufferers, as doctors regularly fail to recognise the signs and symptoms that point towards spinal nerve compression. The condition therefore remains undiagnosed until the later stages, by which point it is too late.

Making a cauda equina claim

If you have been affected by a delayed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today. If you have suffered harm because of medical error, you will be entitled to compensation.

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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