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Neurological Damage Due to Cauda Equina Syndrome

The devastating symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are caused by neurological damage. What does this mean and how does it affect the victim?

The function of the nervous system

Animals, including human beings, are able to respond to their environment because of their nervous system. We react to light and sound and temperature and touch and a range of other stimuli because our sensory receptors – eyes, skin etc. – can sense our environment. Messages from our environment are sent to our brain for assessment. We also respond to sensations within our own internal environment such as feeling the need to urinate.

Our nervous system also sends messages from the brain to our muscles to perform actions. This is what enables us to stand, sit, walk, speak etc.

When our nervous system is damaged in some way, it is likely that our ability to sense or respond to our environment may be affected. This is neurological damage and the symptoms, such as ‘foot drop’ are neurological symptoms – that is, symptoms caused by a failure of the nerves to do their job properly rather than a physical problem with the relevant muscles.

The cauda equina

The cauda equina is a collection of nerve roots at the base of the spinal cord. These nerves send messages to and from the pelvic region and the body’s lower limbs.

Therefore, if the nerves become damaged, they are unable to fulfil their function effectively and the person may experience difficulties with receiving sensation in the lower body as well as problems performing actions with the lower body.

Key symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

The neurological symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are as follows:

Is recovery possible?

It seems to be widely accepted that recovery of sensory and motor function is most likely when the patient undergoes surgical decompression of the cauda equina nerves before all function has been lost. Some continuing urinary sensation or function is often taken as a key indicator of this.

On the other hand, it would seem that surgery on a patient where all function has already been loss is less likely to lead to a positive outcome.

Therefore, the timing of surgery can be seen to be a vital factor in the patient’s recovery. If diagnosis or treatment of a patient with some remaining nerve function is delayed to the point where the patient has lost that function, the relevant medical practitioner may be guilty of negligence.

Medical Negligence

Cauda equina syndrome is fairly rare and diagnosis and, therefore, treatment, are sometimes delayed.

If you are suffering from the appalling effects of cauda equina syndrome which could have been diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns Solicitors, a specialist medical negligence practice, to discuss your experience. We have supported numerous claims for cauda equina syndrome and would be happy to advise you as to the best way forward.

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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