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NHS 111 and Cauda Equina Syndrome

NHS 111 and Cauda Equina SyndromeReceiving the correct advice if you are suffering with cauda equina syndrome is absolutely vital as this shocking condition is a medical emergency.

Cauda equina syndrome

If you are developing cauda equina syndrome, you are likely to need emergency surgery so it is imperative that your symptoms are recognised and acted on immediately.

A delay in diagnosis or surgery could leave you with a lifetime of severe bowel and bladder dysfunction as well as problems with sexual function and difficulties with mobility. You may even end up needing crutches or a wheelchair.

NHS 111 Services

NHS 111 is the telephone support service offered by the NHS for people who are aware that they have a medical problem which is of considerable concern to them but who do not feel that they are an emergency. However, they may not have easy access to their local GP services either.

The NHS 111 service is provided by trained call-handlers backed by paramedics and nurses. They should be sufficiently trained so as to be able to identify symptoms which might indicate that the caller is, in fact, a medical emergency and should attend A&E immediately.

Of course, a physical examination would not be possible in the course of a telephone conversation, so the call-handler would not be able to undertake the tests which a GP might use to establish the possibility of the patient having signs of cauda equina compression.

That makes it all the more important that they are thorough in their questioning as to the patient’s symptoms and err on the side of caution if there is a possibility that the caller is exhibiting signs of cauda equina syndrome.

Cauda equina syndrome red flag symptoms

The combination of certain symptoms should suggest that the caller needs an immediate referral to A&E for an MRI scan.
The caller may be ringing to describe their lower back and leg pain but if they are also experiencing any of the following symptoms, the NHS 111 call-handler should advise them to attend A&E immediately:

Failure to advise

If the patient is clear about these symptoms and yet they are not advised to attend A&E as a matter of emergency, they may have been offered a substandard level of care.

If the patient is not yet experiencing these symptoms but is not advised to look out for them and subsequently develops cauda equina syndrome, the NHS service may be considered to have acted negligently.

Medical Negligence

If you have received poor advice regarding your symptoms and have subsequently developed cauda equina syndrome which may otherwise have been avoided, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Contact us to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

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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