Worrying cauda equina syndrome errors - £2.6 million
Fifty-year-old Ann’s life was devastated by a series of appalling errors that were made by medical professionals who treated her cauda equina syndrome. Eddie Jones, one of the specialist solicitors at Hospital Negligence, took on Ann’s fight for justice and obtained a compensation settlement of £2.6 million to enable her to cope with the severe permanent damage that was caused.
Original injury following a car accident
Ann’s nightmare began when she was involved in an accident and sustained a neck injury. She was assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon who ordered an MRI scan. The scan showed that a disc in Ann’s spine had slipped out of place. Although this was not causing Ann any immediate issues, the surgeon advised that she should seek urgent medical attention if she experienced any episodes of incontinence.
Warning signs of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Ann’s lower back problems and early onset cauda equina syndrome (CES) occurred a couple of years later. It began with pain in her back, which spread down to her legs and feet. Ann had other classic signs of CES such as loss of sensation in her buttocks and groin area. However at this point she had not experienced any bladder or bowel dysfunction.
For the next two days, Ann could not get out of bed due to the pain that she was in. Things then took a turn for the worse when she found that she could barely walk and, in addition, noticed that she was not getting any urges to empty her bladder.
The GP was called for a home visit. Ann reported to her doctor the fact that she did not feel any urge to pass urine and the altered sensation in her saddle area. Worryingly a pin prick test the doctor carried out on Ann’s buttocks revealed she had no feeling and the evidence overwhelmingly suggested that Ann was suffering from incomplete cauda equina syndrome. Ann was told she needed to have an MRI scan urgently and that she would make arrangements for this as soon as possible.
Delay in booking an MRI scan
Two days later Ann had still heard nothing about the MRI and attempted to chase up the doctor. She was told by the surgery that she was not available and she should try again tomorrow. Ann was concerned by this response as the GP had told her the MRI was urgent so called the hospital herself. Ann was informed that the GP has sent a fax about the MRI, but that did not mean Ann could be booked in and she would need to see a consultant. An appointment was to be sent to her by post.
MRI shows cauda equina damage one month later
However, two more weeks passed before the appointment took place despite the urgency of Ann’s situation. Furthermore, it was another two weeks before the MRI was done and a month after this when the follow-up appointment with the consultant took place. Unsurprisingly the MRI showed that the slipped disc was damaging the cauda equina nerves at the bottom of Ann’s spine.
Unacceptable delay in scheduling the required surgery
She was told she would need urgent surgery but quite appallingly given the seriousness of Ann’s situation the surgery was arranged for almost eight weeks later.
Devastating Permanent damage
Events took a turn for the worse while Ann was awaiting surgery. She completely lost control of her bowel and bladder, was violently sick and was taken to hospital by ambulance. A doctor correctly diagnosed CES and surgery was carried out. However by this point it was too late to prevent permanent damage to her cauda equina nerves.
Ann was severely affected and not only has permanent bowel and bladder incontinence but also paralysis in her feet, loss of all sexual sensation and chronic pain. She has been completely debilitated and is unlikely to ever work again, while also having significant care requirements to cope with due to the appalling delays that she suffered.
Ann was represented by specialist cauda equina solicitor Eddie Jones in her claim who was successful in obtaining her £2.6 million in compensation.
We can help you claim if you or a loved one has also suffered cauda equina negligence
If you have suffered cauda equina syndrome negligence yourself, contact Hospital Negligence today to find out if you can make a claim. Call us on 0800 014 7481, or fill in our contact form. Alternatively, read more about how we can help you.