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Urgent Action for Cauda Equina Syndrome

Medical practitioners must recognise a patient displaying the characteristic signs of cauda equina syndrome and perform a thorough examination. If the clinical symptoms indicate nerve compression, emergency surgery must be carried out.

A failure to achieve this standard of care may be considered a breach of duty. If this has caused a patient to suffer harm, there may be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim. Contact us today to find out more.

Symptoms to look out for

There are very specific symptoms of cauda equina syndrome that should prompt immediate concern amongst medical practitioners. These include:

In cases of acute cauda equina syndrome, these symptoms may appear at the same time, developing very quickly.

In cases of chronic cauda equina syndrome, a patient may suffer one symptom (normally lower back pain or sciatica) before gradually developing the other symptoms associated with cauda equina compression. These symptoms will become progressively worse.

Doctors must look out for these symptoms, taking immediate action if they arise simultaneously

Examination for cauda equina syndrome

Should a patient complain of any bladder difficulties or numbness in her saddle region then it is mandatory for the doctor to undertake and record a detailed sensory examination of the perianal, perineal and saddle region. A digital rectal examination should also be performed. A failure to undertake and record such findings would constitute a breach of duty.

A patient with low back pain, sciatica, bowel disturbance and urinary symptoms warrants review by a senior member of the Neurosurgical Team, and this should be at the very least a Specialist Registrar.

Emergency surgery for cauda equina syndrome

If a patient does have sensory disturbance and/or bladder disturbance in addition to back pain, then following a detailed examination a doctor should organise surgery on an urgent basis. This means within 24 hours of the consultation. This would probably be undertaken by the On-Call Team.

Medical negligence claims

If medical practitioners do not achieve an acceptable standard of care with regards to diagnosing and treating cauda equina syndrome, the consequences will be distressing for the patient. This is because the nerves will be irreparably injured, resulting in a long-term neurological disorder. This will be associated with problems such as weakness in the legs, urinary dysfunction and loss of sensation in the genitals.

If a patient does suffer these complications due to a substandard level of medical care, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim. Please speak to one of our specialist solicitors for more information.

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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