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“Inadequate or delayed care for individuals with cauda equina syndrome may lead to lifelong suffering and complications, underscoring the importance of seeking assistance for cauda equina claims from specialised solicitors.”
What Is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda Equina Syndrome is a serious spinal injury condition. It occurs when the nerves located at the bottom of the spinal cord known as the Cauda Equina, become compressed causing severe pain and discomfort. The condition is a medical emergency and must be treated between 24-48 hours to avoid permanent damage.
The term Cauda Equina in Latin means “horse tail” and refers to a bundle of nerves found at the base area of the spine just above the waist. These nerves are responsible for sending and receiving messages to and from the lower part of the body including the legs, feet and pelvic organs.
The reason for surgery is to decompress the nerves and relieve the pressure to prevent permanent disabilities. If your healthcare providers failed to diagnose the condition in time or delayed carrying out the surgery causing you to suffer avoidable lifelong disabilities, you can reach out to us to see if you qualify for a free claim assessment. If successful we can put you through to our partnered law firm with cauda equina solicitors to help you start your potential claim.
Types Of Cauda Equina Syndrome
There are majorly two types of cauda equina syndrome. These are complete and Incomplete cauda equina syndrome.
Incomplete Cauda Equina Syndrome: Here, the patient suffers from constipation and urination, they may not know when the bladder is full and may have a weak urinary stream.
Complete Cauda Equina Syndrome: With complete syndrome, there is complete bladder and bowel incontinence from complete sensory defect or numbness of the saddle and genital area. The sufferer has absolutely no control over his urinary system.
Is Cauda Equina Syndrome Common?
Cauda equina syndrome is a rare condition, estimated to impact approximately 6-10 individuals out of every one million. The condition affects males and females equally and causes chronic pain and sensory dysfunction in the lower limbs because of the compressed nerves in the bottom of the spinal cord.
Medical Negligence Cauda Equina Syndrome
If you suffered from cauda equina syndrome because of negligent treatment of your doctor or surgeon, you may be able to pursue a cauda equina compensation claim. Your healthcare provider should be able to diagnose your condition and carry out urgent surgery if required to prevent the long-term effects of cauda equina syndrome. If they fail to do this and mismanage your condition, you may be able to make a claim.
Some of the effects of cauda equina syndrome which the victim may suffer for life include- chronic pains in the lower back, incontinence of the bladder, sexual dysfunction, bowel weakness, inability to move freely, weakness of the lower limbs and sometimes paralysis of the lower limb. With all these problems, sufferers may find it almost impossible to go back to work; hence the need for compensation.
At Medical Negligence Direct, our partnered Cauda Equina Solicitors work to secure deserving settlement payouts. GET IN TOUCH TODAY!
Causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Various health conditions can lead to this condition and should be attended to as a matter of medical emergency. The chances are much higher that an adult will suffer cauda equina syndrome than a child. Most of the child cauda equina syndrome cases are rather congenital than acquired.
Common causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome include;
A slipped disc or disc herniation. This is the most common cause of CES and this can be described as where the soft jellylike nucleus of the disc ruptures and pushes or slips through a crack or tear in the tougher exterior.
Malignant tumour or spinal lesion
A spinal infection or inflammation such as epidural abscess, vertebral osteomyelitis, discitis, etc.
Traumatic injury to the lumbar region of the spine from a fall or car accident>
Surgical mistakes or complications. This may be spinal anaesthesia complications or spinal epidural haematoma
A Congenital abnormality. E.g defect of the spinal canal from birth
Signs and Symptoms Of Cauda Equina Syndrome (Red Flags)
There are red flag symptoms associated with cauda equina syndrome. When these symptoms are presented or a medical professional sees these signs, they should make an appropriate diagnosis and treat the condition, failure to do this can result in devastating debilitating long-term health consequences.
When the nerves at the Cauda equina are compressed, the person begins to have some altered sensation or numbness in the lower limbs, reduced sexual function, bladder and bowel dysfunction among others.
Here are some cauda equina syndrome red flags;
Pain and altered sensation in the lower limbs which leads to difficulty in mobility or lifting the body
Sexual dysfunction or altered sexual sensation
Altered bladder function including incontinence, inability to retain urine, having to force yourself to urinate, altered flow, etc.
Altered sensation or numbness in the saddle area or buttocks, inner thighs, backs of the legs or feet which continues to get worse.
Rectal dysfunction or faecal incontinence (inability to control or hold feces)
Patients who present these symptoms during their visits to see a GP should be referred to carry out an MRI scan urgently which will produce a three-dimensional image of the spine. Permanent cauda equina syndrome will only be stopped if an immediate spinal decompression surgery is carried out following the confirmatory tests.
Other tests which may be done include a CT Scan or a Myelogram, (an X-ray of the spinal canal after the injection of special contrast material). With this, you can identify pressure points on the spinal cord or the nerves.
Forms Of Clinical Negligence Which Can Lead to Cauda Equina Syndrome Claims
There are different forms of negligent treatment which could cause a patient to suffer cauda equina syndrome. If you have suffered any form of substandard care which has resulted in cauda equina syndrome, you may reach out to us to see if we can connect you to our partnered cauda equina solicitors to assist you in potentially making a settlement claim.
Here are some actions or inactions of health professionals which may lead to cauda equina compensation claims;
Misdiagnosis of the condition- Misdiagnosis may either be a missed diagnosis, incorrect diagnosis or late diagnosis of the condition. Diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome has to be done urgently, any delay in making the right diagnosis can be catastrophic.
Delayed Scans- The right diagnosis will be made when scan results are out. Failure to carry our MRI or CT scans urgently will lead to delayed diagnosis and may subsequently lead to lifelong disabilities for the patient.
Failure to read or interpret scan results accurately
Unnecessary surgery delays- A spinal surgery to correct the condition has to be carried out between 24 and 48 hours. If an emergency surgery is not carried out, the problem may result in permanent disability.
Poorly Performed Surgery- The surgery required is a delicate and life saving surgery which must be done correctly and expertly. There is really no margin for error in this surgery. Any error done during the operation will lead to more complications for the patient.
Negligence During Pregnancy or Childbirth- A baby may suffer congenital cauda equina syndrome if the Obstetricians or other health experts failed to properly monitor the mother and baby and carry out the needful medical intervention to ensure that the child is born safe.
Process For Cauda Equina Syndrome Negligence Claims
It is important that you establish liability and causation for your claim to be successful.
Liability: By liability, we mean that you must show proof that your doctor or surgeon had a duty of care to you but failed in that responsibility by treating you negligently.
Causation: By causation, you must establish that it was the medical negligence of your doctor or other medical professional that caused you the harm or injury you suffered.
Essential Documents to Prove Negligence
Some documents are also needed to strengthen your case. They will serve as pieces of evidence to prove your claims. They are:
Comprehensive account of what happened.
Result of CT and MRI scans.
Witness statements from friends or family.
Proof of past and current financial losses.
Pictures or photographs (as may be needed).
Medical report from an independent medical expert called after conducting further examination to confirm presence of injury, severity and if it was caused by medical negligence.
If you qualify for a free claim assessment and that is successful we can pass you on to one of our partnered medical negligence solicitors which are experienced and will aim to get the right compensation amount.
Negotiating Compensation For Cauda Equina Syndrome Claim
After a successful cauda equina syndrome claim (where the defendant has accepted fault), the next step is to negotiate a favourable compensation amount. However, this settlement payout is not fixed or guaranteed and can depend on several factors which will include;
The severity of injury suffered
Prognosis for the future
Out of pocket expenses and estimate future financial losses
Costs of further medical care, therapy and rehabilitation
Costs of any special equipment and mobility aids
Travel expenses for medical appointments
Loss of income, earnings, pension (especially where you lose your job)
Cost of House adaptations to suit your current medical condition or disabilities.
We recommend that you contact us as soon as you suspect you may have been a victim of negligent treatment for a free consultation.
Potential Compensation for Cauda Equina Claims
Here is a range of figures you can expect for compensation:
|Range of Compensation Value||Severity Of Injury||Remarks|
|Up to £160,980*||Severe back injury
|Spinal cord injuries and nerve damage. Severe lower back pains, incomplete paralysis, sexual, bladder and bowel dysfunction.|
|Up to £88,430*||Severe back injury
|Damage to nerve roots leading to loss of sensation, impaired mobility, impaired bladder, bowel and sexual function.|
|Up to £69,7 30*||Severe back injury
(Disc lesions or Disc fracture or other soft tissue injuries)
|Chronic conditions including disabilities such as severe pain and discomfort, impaired mobility, impaired sexual function, arthritis, depression and unemployment.|
|Up to £38,780*||Moderate back injury||This covers a wide variety of injuries, including the risk of osteoarthritis, chronic pain and discomfort, nerve root irritation and impaired mobility. Condition may require spinal fusion.|
|Up to £27,760*||Moderate back injury
(Ligament and Muscle disturbances)
|Lower back pains, injuries to soft tissues, worsening of previous existing back conditions. There may be a need for laminectomy. Actual figure will depend on extent of injury suffered, impact of injury on quality of life and future prognosis.|
|Up to £3,950*||Minor back injuries||Minor soft tissue injuries. Full recovery is expected|
*Compensation values are taken from the 2022 Judicial College Guidelines, concern general damages, and are solely for illustrative purposes.*
How long do claims involving cauda equina take?
Like any other case of clinical negligence, cauda equina claims may take time. This is primarily as a result of time taken in gathering evidence to prove your claim. In some instances, your cauda equina solicitor may also need to consult independent medical experts to establish certain aspects of your claim.
Are there time limits on claiming compensation?
Victims have a three-year window starting from the date of the negligence to initiate a claim. If the claim is not resolved or legal action is not taken within the limitation period, your cauda equina claims cannot be pursued further.
Connect with Cauda Equina Solicitors Near You
We understand what difficult time it must be for you and your family following such a traumatic injury. We offer a completely free, no-obligation consultation call to see if we can connect you to an expert law firm to assist with your potential claim. We are a claims management company and are paid by our partnered law firms for the service that we provide.
You can also give us a call 0800 644 4240 to begin your claims.
Contact A Specialist Solicitor Today For A Free Claim Assessment
Frequently Asked Question about Cauda Equina Syndrome Negligence
Is Cauda Equina Syndrome Classed As A Disability?
Though a rare medical condition, CES can cause permanent disability if misdiagnosed and mismanaged. It requires urgent surgery and so is considered a medical emergency.
Why Is Back Pain At Night A Red Flag?
Back pain at night is considered a red flag for cauda equina syndrome because it could be a sign that the nerves at the base of the spine are compressed. Slipped disc- the most common cause of cauda equina also manifests as lower back pain. These persistent back pains should be investigated to rule out the possibility of cauda equina syndrome.
How Rare Is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
CES is a rare medical condition with an incidence rate between 1 in 33,000 to 1 in 100,000. Cauda Equina Syndrome makes up about 2–6% of lumbar disc operations performed yearly.
What Happens If Cauda Equina Is Not Treated?
If cauda equina syndrome is not treated, it can lead to permanent paralysis, permanent anal and urinary incontinence. Even after a surgery, the patient may not regain total bladder/bowel control.
What Are The First Signs Of Cauda Equina?
The first signs or red flags of cauda equina syndrome include;
Lower back pain, and saddle anesthesia (numbness around the buttocks and genital area). Subsequently, the patient suffers bladder, fecal and sexual dysfunction.
Is Cauda Equina Syndrome Recovery Possible?
The recovery process is a long one and it is easy to predict if a patient will make a full recovery or not. The patient’s condition is monitored for about two years. After two years, it is unlikely that there will be further improvements. While some patients may regain normal nerve function, some suffer irreversible nerve damage.
What Is The Best Treatment For Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda equina syndrome is best treated with decompression surgery of the nerves at the base of the spine by a lumbar laminectomy.
How Do You Rule Out Cauda Equina?
When a patient complains of symptoms such as loss of sensation around the buttocks, impaired urinary, sexual and rectal function, an MRI scan is recommended to confirm if it is a case of cauda equina or not.
Can Cauda Equina Go Away On Its Own?
Cauda Equina syndrome is a medical emergency needing an urgent decompression surgery. It will not go away on its own.
What Kind Of Doctor Treats Cauda Equina?
A Neurosurgeon and Spinal Orthopedist are medical consultants best suited to handle cases of cauda equina syndrome.