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Cauda Equina Syndrome Caused By Trauma

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) can be caused by a number of things, including a traumatic episode. In this article we explore cauda equina syndrome caused by trauma in more detail.

CES and trauma

In medical terms, ‘trauma’ refers to a physical injury that is caused by an external source, such as a knife or a fall.

Cauda equina syndrome is when the cauda equina nerves located at the bottom of the spinal cord are compressed. This damages the nerves, causing them to lose function. Back pain, weakness in the legs, bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction and bowel problems will then ensue.

Cauda equina syndrome can be caused by a traumatic event that causes the nerves to become compressed. Common traumatic events that can lead to CES include falls, road traffic accidents, weight-lifting and going to a chiropractor.

Diagnosing CES

When a patient presents with the red flag symptoms of nerve compression, doctors should investigate a number of possible diagnoses, one of which should be cauda equina syndrome.

As part of these investigations, a medical professional must ask a patient whether they have a recent history of physical trauma. For example, this might be as obvious as a recent car crash, or something less significant, like a twinge in their back while lifting something heavy.

If there has been a recent history of trauma and a patient is displaying the characteristic symptoms of spinal nerve compression, suspicions should be raised. Around 62% of patients with cauda equina syndrome report a recent history of trauma. It is therefore a particularly common cause of spinal nerve compression and a reasonably competent medical professional should be able to make an accurate diagnosis.

Failure to diagnose

If there is a failure to diagnose in a timely fashion, there may be a case of medical negligence. This is because doctors within the UK should be aware of cauda equina syndrome and be able to recognise the symptoms. If there is any indication that CES is present, further tests should be ordered as a matter of urgency to either confirm or rule out the diagnosis.

If there is a delay in diagnosis because medical professionals have not spotted the typical symptoms of CES, the consequences can be devastating. This is because if left compressed for too long, the nerves will become irreparably damaged. Even if treatment is provided thereafter, it will not prove to be effective. This means a patient will be left with long-term neurological harm.

Claiming for cauda equina syndrome

If medical professionals lets you down by failing to diagnose cauda equina syndrome caused by trauma, contact us today to discuss making a claim for 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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