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Cauda Equina Syndrome Hospital Delays

Cauda Equina Syndrome Hospital DelaysWhen we attend hospital, we hope for a timely diagnosis and resolution of our problems. When this doesn’t happen, some patients can be left with lifelong disability as a result.

Timing in cauda equina syndrome

If a patient’s symptoms are deteriorating, cauda equina syndrome can be a medical emergency. It is vital that the patient undergoes the appropriate investigations and, if necessary, receives emergency treatment before the chance of a recovery is lost.

Diagnosis in A&E

The initial assessment of the patient’s symptoms is key in the diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome. If the patient is exhibiting symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, an emergency referral for an MRI is necessary in order to confirm the cause of their problems. Where this does not take place, the patient may deteriorate before a diagnosis is confirmed.

A failure to recognise early symptoms can be regarded as a failure to provide an acceptable standard of medical care.

Confirming the diagnosis

An MRI scan needs to be carried out as soon as possible if a patient is showing signs of cauda equina syndrome.

If the hospital does not have suitable equipment, an emergency transfer to a suitably-equipped facility should be arranged to enable a confirmed diagnosis to be achieved.

A failure to do so, resulting in the patient’s deterioration may be seen as a failure of care.

A timely reporting of the MRI results is also a vital part of the process as a delay at this point can also delay the diagnosis and any subsequent treatment.

Timely surgery

It is widely recognised that, where a patient has a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome but still retains some control of their bladder, decompression surgery of the cauda equina nerves is required as a matter of emergency. This should indicate surgery within hours rather than days. Research has shown that a delay in excess of 24 hours can mean a poorer outcome for the patient.

Essentially, if a patient with some bladder control does not receive surgery before they lose control of the bladder and experience painless retention of urine, the hospital in question may be regarded as having acted negligently.

Legal Advice

The long-term symptoms of complete cauda equina syndrome can be life-changing. They can include double incontinence and a loss of mobility and sexual function. The accompanying psychological problems can be devastating.

If you or a loved one are suffering these appalling symptoms, contact us to discuss your experience.

As a specialist medical negligence legal practice, we have supported numerous claims for cauda equina syndrome negligence and would be happy to advise you.

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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