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CES – Recognising the Deterioration of a Patient’s Symptoms

Cauda equina syndrome can develop gradually over the course of a few weeks or months. In such cases it is vital that a GP carefully records the progression of a patient’s symptoms, as this will ensure that a diagnosis is not missed.

If your GP or another healthcare professional failed to realise that you were suffering from cauda equina syndrome, causing you long-term injuries, you could be entitled to compensation.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our cauda equina solicitors today.

Recording a patient’s symptoms

Cauda equina syndrome can develop very slowly. This is known as ‘gradual onset cauda equina syndrome’. Patients who have this condition will normally visit their GP on a number of occasions over the course of a few weeks or months. Ordinarily their symptoms will become increasingly worse, and new symptoms may also arise.

During this period, it is essential that the GP closely monitors the patient’s condition, taking a thorough note on each occasion. Only with scrupulous note-keeping will it be possible to appreciate the progression of the patient’s symptoms. This will allow the GP to consider a patient’s symptoms in their entirety.

The onset of urinary sphincter dysfunction and/or altered saddle area sensation denotes possible cauda equina syndrome and mandates admission. When these symptoms arise, the patient’s medical records will help the GP to realise that their problems are all connected.

Indeed, the GP should understand that the patient’s history of increasingly severe back pain and recent onset of urinary dysfunction are all indicative of cauda equina syndrome. At this point no time should be wasted in admitting a patient to hospital.

GP failed to spot cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is uncommon and GPs will see this problem very rarely. Nevertheless, they are all aware of it from their medical school days. All doctors know that cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency.

Unfortunately a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome is often delayed. Commonly these delays occur at the GP surgery where the treating clinician fails to comprehend the progression of a patient’s symptoms.

Sometimes each admission is interpreted as an isolated incident, rather than all their symptoms being considered as a whole. This results in the patient returning time and time again for medical help, only to be discharged without any warning about cauda equina syndrome.

My GP failed to diagnose cauda equina syndrome

If your GP failed to realise that you were suffering from cauda equina syndrome, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us to find out more.

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