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Is An Urgent Referral Needed for Cauda Equina Syndrome?

If a patient is displaying the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, he/she must be referred to hospital as a matter of urgency.

In this article we look at when a patient should be urgently referred, and when it might be appropriate for medical practitioners to take a different course of action.

Recognising the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is a rare neurological condition. It happens when the cauda equina nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord are compressed and damaged. Compression can occur in a number of ways, with a slipped disc being the most common cause.

When the cauda equina nerves are compressed, the first symptom to arise will be chronic lower back pain. This may turn into sciatica, whereby the pain radiates down through the buttocks and leg(s).

Chronic lower back pain and/or sciatica will not be enough to prompt medical professionals to urgently refer a patient. However, if a patient is also displaying other symptoms associated with cauda equina syndrome, medical practitioners should immediately suspect nerve compression and order further tests.

Symptoms that should prompt an urgent referral include:-

Referring a patient with lower back pain

Medical professionals should therefore consider the following guidelines when deciding whether or not to refer a patient with lower back pain:-

If a medical practitioner fails to urgently refer a patient who is displaying the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, the standard of care will be considered unacceptable. If this causes a patient further injury, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim.

To find out more about claiming compensation for cauda equina syndrome, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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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