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Is Cauda Equina Syndrome a Medical Emergency?

In some circumstances, it is imperative that your medical practitioner refers you for an emergency MRI for cauda equina syndrome.

Diagnosing cauda equina syndrome

Diagnosing cauda equina syndrome is a complex affair. The condition, caused by compression of the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine, can develop either gradually over time or suddenly.

If a patient is only experiencing the early possible symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, it would be appropriate for their GP to advise them of further symptoms to look out for, and to advise them to attend A&E in those circumstances, but not to refer them for an MRI as a matter of emergency at that point.

However, if a patient is exhibiting more severe symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, an emergency referral for an MRI scan may be the correct course of action.

Not to do so may constitute an act of medical negligence and could be a cause of a claim for compensation.

When is cauda equina syndrome a medical emergency?

If a patient attends their GP or A&E provision with the following symptoms, they should expect to be referred immediately for further investigation:

All the above symptoms suggest that the patient may be developing cauda equina syndrome and a failure to refer for an MRI at this point may allow a deterioration in symptoms before surgery can be undertaken to relieve the condition.

Timing in the execution of surgery for cauda equina syndrome is highly significant and it is widely believed that surgery at the point where a patient is experiencing an alteration in neurological function in the lower body but has not yet lost all function is crucial to achieving a positive outcome.

A delay in diagnosis

If a patient does not attend their medical practitioner until they have already lost all bladder sensation and function, their condition may be considered as less of an emergency but should require an urgent MRI nonetheless.

Surgery will still be required promptly to try to prevent further deterioration of their symptoms but there may be less chance of any recovery.

Medical Negligence

If you continue to suffer with long-term symptoms of cauda equina syndrome due to a delay in referral and diagnosis, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Glynns Solicitors specialise in cauda equina syndrome compensation claims and will be happy to advise you as to the best way forward.

Contact us to speak with an experienced solicitor.

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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