The Cauda Equina is a bundle of nerves at the base of the spine. These nerves are responsible for lower limb functions, including both walking and functions of the bowel and bladder.
Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare condition where these nerves suddenly become severely compressed. There may be a number of causes for this, and often there will be a disc herniation in the lumbar spine due to aging or injuries. This causes pressure on the nerve roots and, if it is not picked up early, prolonged pressure can lead to serious complications. This can include paralysis, loss of bowel or bladder function and chronic pain.
Failure to diagnose or delay in diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome
For some patients, Cauda Equina syndrome can develop very rapidly. For others, it may occur gradually over time. However, there are a number of well known symptoms that are referred to as ‘red flags’. These include:
Weakness or numbness in your legs
Pain in your legs
Lower back pain
Bladder or bowel incontinence
Altered sensation in the ‘saddle region’ (the region of the body that would be in contact with a saddle)
If you present such symptoms to your GP or at a hospital, doctors would be expected to investigate Cauda Equina Syndrome as one of the potential causes. If your doctor fails to test for this or takes an unreasonably long time to either test or refer you to an appropriate specialist, it may lead to you suffering catastrophic and life changing injuries. In this kind of scenario, your doctor may potentially be in breach of their duty to you and liable for medical negligence.
At the end of your medical negligence compensation claim should it be successful, you may prefer a lump sum in order to avoid continued communication with the Defendant or the Court. We can instruct experts to determine the costs of your future care needs, which may include:
Extensive remodelling to your home to accommodate your injuries.
Hiring a professional who can provide 24 hour care.
Costs of future treatment.
For some Claimants however, security is the preference. This means the Court will make what is known as a Periodical Payment Order, whereby the Claimant receives regular payments for the rest of their lives.
At Medical Negligence Solutions, we have experience in dealing with cases involving a delay in diagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome. We have backgrounds as legally qualified healthcare professionals, as well as negligence lawyers, so we have the clinical and legal knowledge to understand when a doctor has acted negligently.
Frequently asked questions
How will I cover legal costs; especially if I lose my case?
In the vast majority of our cases, we deal on a no win no fee basis. This is also known as a conditional fee agreement (CFA). A no win no fee arrangement means that if you do not win, you do not have to pay any fees. If you do win, we will take a percentage of your damages as our success fee. This will usually be between 15% and 25% depending on the merits and value of your claim.
Is there a time limit for bringing a compensation claim?
Yes, there is. In general, the time limit is 3 years from the date of the negligent treatment. If you were initially unaware that there was negligence at play, the 3 year time limit will apply from the date you first became aware that you suffered a significant injury and that injury was due to the defendant’s negligence. In practice, this means a claim form must be issued at Court to commence proceedings within 3 years of the negligent act or knowledge of the negligence.