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Potential Pitfalls In The Management Of CES

Cauda equina syndrome holds a disproportionate position in medical negligence practice. This is because medical professionals in the UK face a number of pitfalls when managing cauda equina syndrome. If these pitfalls are not avoided, the impact upon the patient will be devastating.

Pitfalls in the management of cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is an uncommon condition in which the nerves at the bottom of the spine become compressed. This leads to a constellation of symptoms which together are known as the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome.

1. Recognising the symptoms

Recognising the symptoms is the first potential pitfall of managing CES. Medical professionals may not have ever seen a case of cauda equina compression during the course of their careers, and so will not immediately consider the condition. Furthermore, even if a medical practitioner is aware of CES, the symptoms are very similar to other more minor conditions. A doctor may therefore diagnose a different condition without even carrying out a neurological examination to exclude the possibility of cauda equina syndrome.

2. Delays in referring a patient

Even if a patient is correctly suspected of having CES and referred for tests, there may be a number of delays along the way. For example, a patient may have to be referred from their GP, to hospital, to a radiology unit for an MRI scan, to a specialist orthopaedic/neurosurgery unit and finally on to the surgical team. Delays can happen at any stage of this process, postponing the emergency treatment that a patient so desperately needs.

3. Outcome of surgical decompression

If there is a delay in diagnosis and delays when referring a patient, there will also be a delay in treatment. This is very problematic as there is a small window of opportunity to treat cauda equina syndrome. If a patient’s condition progresses to the complete stage, decompression surgery will be ineffective.

Claiming for cauda equina syndrome

Medical professionals therefore face various pitfalls when managing cauda equina syndrome. However, this is not an excuse for a delay in diagnosis and treatment.

If the standard of care falls below what is considered acceptable by a reasonable body of medical men, doctors will have breached their duty of care towards a patient. If this causes a patient wrongful injury – such as long-term neurological complications – there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim.

To find out if you can claim for cauda equina syndrome, please 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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