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Surgery Delay Cauda Equina Syndrome

Surgery Delay Cauda Equina SyndromeThe timing of surgery is crucial in cauda equina syndrome. Therefore, the speed of diagnosis is equally a matter of emergency. A failure in either aspect can prompt a claim for compensation.

The importance of decompression surgery

In a patient who is developing cauda equina syndrome, surgical decompression is a matter of emergency in order to avoid a possible long-term outcome of physical disability – sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder incontinence and mobility problems.

Where a patient is already experiencing painless retention of urine and might be considered to have already deteriorated to complete cauda equina syndrome, the timing is regarded as a less significant issue, but where the patient has not lost all urinary control and sensation, the timing of surgery can be crucial.

A delay in organising and undertaking decompression surgery for a patient with incomplete cauda equina syndrome may constitute a breach of duty on the part of medical professionals. This is especially significant where the patient develops long-term debilitating symptoms.

The timing of surgery

The timing of surgery in cauda equina syndrome has been a matter for debate but, where there is hope of recovery of function, it is increasingly believed that surgery as soon as possible after confirmation of diagnosis but particularly within 24 hours is vital.

Any delay beyond that timing places the patient at risk of further deterioration and a lesser recovery of function.

It may also place the relevant medical professional at risk of a claim for compensation.

When surgery is delayed beyond 48 hours, there is some evidence that the chances of function recovery may be halved in comparison to surgery within 24 hours.

MRI Diagnosis

In order for surgery to be carried out, there needs to be a confirmed diagnosis of the cause of the patient’s symptoms. This is generally achieved with an MRI scan of the patient.

It is important, therefore, that, when presented with a patient who appears to be developing cauda equina syndrome, any medical professional makes an emergency referral for an MRI scan in order to confirm a diagnosis.

Medical negligence

A delay in surgery where a patient is exhibiting the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome may be considered as a failure of medical care. Whether the delay is due to a failure to organise surgery or due to a delay in confirming diagnosis through an MRI scan, the medical professional may be guilty of medical negligence.

If you or a loved one are suffering the appalling long-term effects of cauda equina syndrome due to delayed surgery, contact us to discuss your situation. We have supported numerous cauda equina syndrome claims and would be happy to advise you.

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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