The cauda equina are a collection of nerves in the back, at the lower end of the spinal cord. The name cauda equina comes from a Latin word which is translated as “horse’s tail”, which these nerve roots resemble.
These nerves function to control the bladder, bowel, sexual function as well as movement of the lower limbs. If for any reason they are compressed, it results in very serious health issues for the sufferer and this is known as Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES).
Anyone can be affected by CES and when it happens, it is considered a medical emergency. To relieve the condition, a surgery must be done within 24 to 48hrs and when there is negligent management of the condition or a delay in treatment, it can become a debilitating permanent condition.
If you or your loved one has suffered from Cauda Equina Syndrome Negligence, you may be entitled to make cauda equina syndrome compensation claims. All you need to do is to reach out to our Cauda Equina Syndrome Solicitors who are expert solicitors in such medical negligence claims for professional legal advice and representation under our no win no fee claims policy.
Cauda Equina “Red Flags”
Cauda equina syndrome ‘red flag’ symptoms are those symptoms which when seen should alert both the person and medical professionals of the possibility of a CES condition which requires urgent action.
In 1991, an independent ‘expert source’ known as the Clinical Standards Advisory Group (CSAG) was set up to advise the Ministry of Health. Among other functions, it also had a duty to give advice on the ‘Clinical Standards’ for patients with back pain (CSAG 1994).
The report described five diagnostic categories for spinal disorders – the red flags (CSAG 1994). These are;
- Simple back ache (accounts for approx. 95% of back pain)
- Nerve root pain (accounts for less than 5% of back pain)
- Red Flags- i.e. potentially serious spinal pathology
- Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Inflammatory disorders
The Red flags (CSAG 1994)
- Age of first onset of severe spinal pain <20 or >55 years of age
- Violent trauma (RTA / fall from height)
- Night pain
- Thoracic pain
- Past Medical History of carcinoma
- Systemic steroid use, Drug abuse, HIV
- Systemically unwell
- Constant, progressive, non-mechanical pain
- Weight loss
- Widespread neurology
- Structural deformity
- Persisting severe restriction of lumbar flexion
There are several cauda equina syndrome symptoms or red flags for cauda equina which could mean urgent medical attention is required.
These cauda equina symptoms which occur when the nerves are compressed include- bowel and bladder dysfunction, altered sensation or numbness in the lower limbs as well as loss of sexual sensation.
The following are cauda equina syndrome red flags;
- Bilateral sciatica (pain and altered sensation in the lower limbs)
- Alteration in bladder function which may include having to strain in order to urinate, an altered flow or altered awareness of the need to urinate which may lead to irreversible urinary retention with overflow urinary incontinence if left untreated
- Laxity of the anal sphincter
- Numbness or tingling in the saddle area between the legs and around the anus (saddle anaesthesia or paraesthesia)
- Alteration of sexual sensation
- Weakness in the legs and ankle reflexes
- Alteration in bowel function such as loss of sensation of rectal fullness which may lead to irreversible faecal incontinence if left untreated
When a patient comes to the A&E unit or visits their GP with these symptoms, an immediate MRI scan is advised. They could be in danger of developing permanent cauda equina syndrome and if the scan confirms this, then an immediate spinal decompression surgery is required within hours. Thereafter, other follow-up tests and investigations may be carried out after surgery.
Consequences Of Leaving Cauda Equina Syndrome Untreated
If this condition is left untreated, there could be permanent nerve damage as well as the following debilitating conditions;
- Permanent Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
- Loss of sexual function
- Permanent paralysis
- Sensory abnormalities
Late stages of sciatica can result in numbness, tingling and weakness of the knees and legs which may become a permanent neurological deficit if diagnosis and treatment is delayed.
Do You Have Cauda Equina Syndrome Claims?
If you have any medical negligence claims including Cauda equina negligence compensation claims as a result of negligent treatment or management of your cauda equina syndrome or that of a loved one, our expert cauda equina solicitors are here for you.
We boast an enviable record of representing and winning NHS negligence claims for our clients over the years and so have the expertise to handle your claims effectively.
Our cauda equina negligence claims will be handled under our no win no fee claims policy which gives you the opportunity to make claims without having to worry about any financial implications whatsoever. You do not have to make upfront payments as legal fees as we will take up your claims starting from a free consultation session through the entire claims process until it is won.
At the end of a successful claim, we will deduct an already agreed percentage of your settlement payout which will not be more than 25% as success fee.
We encourage you to fill out our free online claims assessment form if you have questions or other enquiries you wish to make.
Alternatively, you can call our emergency helplines 0800 644 4240 to speak with one of our expert medical negligence solicitors and have a no obligation chat to discuss your claims.
You will normally have only three years to make your claims except in exceptional cases and so we recommend that you begin your claims process as soon as possible.