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Cauda Equina Syndrome: Red Flag Symptoms

Cauda Equina Syndrome is characterised by certain ‘red flag’ symptoms that should alert medical professionals to the possibility of spinal nerve compression. In this article we take a closer look at these red flag symptoms, explaining what it might mean for you if they are not recognised, and what action you should take next if you have been affected by a delay in diagnosis.

What are the red flag symptoms of CES?

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare condition in which the nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord (known as the cauda equina) are compressed. Amongst other things, this may occur because of traumatic accident, a slipped disc or a spinal tumour.

Whatever the underlying cause, compression of the cauda equina nerves will soon lead to a number of symptoms typically associated with Cauda Equina Syndrome. These include:-

Anyone who presents to their GP or A&E department will be suffering the ‘red flag’ symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome. They are so-called red flag symptoms because collectively they indicate the presence of nerve compression. A patient who presents with these health complaints should therefore induce a quick reaction out of medical professionals, who should have the knowledge and expertise to recognise the tell-tale signs of Cauda Equina Syndrome.

What if the red flag symptoms are not recognised?

However, there are unfortunately occasions in which medical professionals fail to recognise the red flag symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome. Instead they believe a patient to be suffering from a more minor condition (such as a urinary tract infection) and neglect to carry out further investigative tests. The result of this misdiagnosis is that a patient is discharged without receiving the emergency treatment they so desperately need.

Indeed, Cauda Equina Syndrome must be treated by way of urgent decompression surgery, preferably within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. If there is a delay, the nerves will continue to be compressed, causing more and more damage. After a short space of time, the damage will be so extensive that it will in fact be irreparable. This means that even if surgery is carried out at a later date, the injury to the nerves cannot be rectified. This will leave the patient with permanent neurological complications.

Have you suffered because of a delay in diagnosis?

If you presented to your GP or local hospital with the red flag symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome but they were not recognised in a timely fashion, you could have experienced a substandard level of medical care. If you consequently suffered an injury because of this delay, you will be considered the victim of medical negligence and you will be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

To find out more about making a Cauda Equina claim, contact us today at the Cauda Equina Solicitors.

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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