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Physiotherapist Missed Cauda Equina Syndrome

Physiotherapist Missed Cauda Equina SyndromeA patient attending their GP with lower back and leg pain may well be referred to a physiotherapist for help. It is vital that the physiotherapist acts promptly on any signs of cauda equina syndrome.

Cauda equina syndrome red flags

Physiotherapists need to be aware of the early possible symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and the need to make an emergency referral to A&E for an MRI scan or to alert the patient to the ‘red flag’ symptoms which should prompt an immediate attendance at A&E.

If a patient attends an appointment with a physiotherapist with symptoms of lower back pain and leg pain, they should be informed about the nature and severity of cauda equina syndrome and the red flag symptoms which might indicate the condition.

MRI scans

If the patient is already exhibiting those symptoms, such as bilateral leg pain and alteration of sensation around the saddle area and in the bladder, an emergency referral to A&E for an MRI scan would be appropriate.

If the physiotherapist fails to refer a patient with such symptoms or returns them to their GP, leading to a delay in referral for an MRI scan, they may be considered to have acted negligently.

Referring a patient for an emergency MRI scan does not mean that they have cauda equina syndrome. They may not have. There may be another explanation for their symptoms. However, some patients will have cauda equina syndrome, and an emergency referral for an MRI scan gives them the best opportunity of a full recovery.

A failure to refer or investigate may allow a deterioration in symptoms prior to surgery, leaving the patient with permanent bowel and bladder incontinence as well as sexual dysfunction and mobility issues.

Decompression surgery

A delay in surgery can have catastrophic outcomes. If surgery does not take place until after the patient has lost bladder sensation, the outcome for the patient may be far worse. Timing is key and any delays (in referrals, scans, or the timing of surgery) can be significant.

Medical negligence

If you or a loved one are suffering with the appalling, long-term symptoms of complete cauda equina syndrome due to a delay in your diagnosis, call us now.

If the delay in diagnosis or treatment is thought to have caused your poor outcome, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

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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