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Delays in treating Cauda Equina Syndrome

If the treatment of your Cauda Equina Syndrome was delayed, and medical professionals are responsible for the hold-up, you could be entitled to compensation.

Why is there often a delay in treating Cauda Equina Syndrome?

The Medical Protection Society (MPS) have identified four main reasons why the diagnosis and treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) might be delayed. These are:-

1. Patients, often previously asymptomatic, who delay seeking advice

Some patients delay in seeking advice from their GP or local Accident and Emergency department. This is especially prevalent amongst people suffering the symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome, many of whom feel embarrassed about the nature of their problems (which include sexual dysfunction, urinary problems and reduced genital sensation).

2. GPs not recognising the urgency of “red flag” symptoms

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare condition, and many of the early symptoms are easily mistaken with more minor complaints. Even so, GPs should be aware of the red-flag symptoms of cauda equina compression, so-called because the occurrence of they should trigger an immediate reaction from a medical professional. A GP should be able to recognise the characteristic signs of Cauda Equina Syndrome and subsequently organise an emergency referral to hospital.

3. Junior A&E staff missing the diagnosis and not calling a senior

Junior A&E staff may not have attended a patient with Cauda Equina Syndrome, and may therefore be uncertain as to what, exactly, a patient with nerve compression is suffering from. But if a junior doctor has any uncertainty, he or she should contact a senior doctor.

4. Hospital delays in admission to a surgical unit and arranging MRI and surgery at an appropriate time by a suitably experienced surgical team

If Cauda Equina Syndrome is suspected, no time should be wasted in organising an MRI scan. If this confirms nerve compression, emergency decompression surgery should be performed by an experienced surgical team. Sadly medical professionals do not always appreciate the need for urgency when diagnosing and treating Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Claiming for the injuries a delay has caused

There is only a small window of opportunity in which Cauda Equina Syndrome can be successfully treated. Therefore it is absolutely imperative that immediate action is taken, as this is the only way to prevent permanent injuries from happening.

But unfortunately this window of opportunity is sometimes missed, meaning a patient is left with long-term neurological complications. Of course, if this happens because a patient did not seek medical attention in time, then there is little that medical professionals could have done. However, if a patient’s injuries occur because medical professionals caused unnecessary delay, there may be a case of medical negligence.

If you have suffered because of a delay, contact a solicitor today to discuss making a cauda equina compensation claim.

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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