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The Red Flag Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is when the cauda equina nerves at the bottom of the spine become compressed. This will lead to a number of red flag symptoms that should prompt doctors into taking urgent action.

Warning signs of cauda equina syndrome

When the cauda equina nerves are compressed, they will become injured and start to lose function. The affected individual will soon notice this loss of function because certain physical complaints will arise. These are known as the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, so-called because together they give an early indication of spinal nerve compression.

The red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are:-

Failure to refer for urgent investigations

When a patient presents to their GP or A&E department with these symptoms, medical professionals should immediately recognise them as the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. The condition is a medical emergency, meaning it must be diagnosed and treated without delay if serious complications are to be avoided. Therefore doctors must waste no time in carrying out further tests to confirm whether or not the cauda equina nerves are being compressed.

If a patient has attended their GP surgery, an urgent referral should be made to the nearest hospital. The GP should telephone the hospital to notify the hospital that a patient is being urgently referred, and that he or she may have cauda equina syndrome. If a patient is already in hospital, medical professionals should immediately proceed with a physical examination and an MRI scan, as this will confirm if the nerves are being compressed.

Unfortunately, however, not all medical professionals recognise the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. Consequently a patient is not referred for further tests and an accurate diagnosis is significantly delayed. This will be devastating for the patient concerned as there is only a small window of opportunity in which treatment will prove effective. After that the nerves will become irreparably damaged and long-term complications will arise.

Cauda equina solicitors

A competent medical professional should be able to recognise the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and carry out further investigations. A failure to do so may amount to medical negligence. If this has happened to you, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to find out more.

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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