Case Study: delay in diagnosing cauda equina syndrome - £80,000
Christopher was left with some ongoing pain and impaired bowel, bladder and sexual function after a general hospital failed to recognise and act upon the signs of spinal condition cauda equina syndrome. Although Christopher was not as severely affected as some victims of this kind of medical negligence the specialist solicitors at Hospital Negligence were able to secure him £80,000 for the suffering he endured.
Symptoms missed by a trainee doctor
Christopher had a long history of lower back pain which one day suddenly became so severe that he could not stand it and his normal pain relief was not working. Christopher called an ambulance and was taken to his local general hospital to get checked out.
At 11.30pm Christopher was seen by a trainee doctor who assessed him and found that as he could walk and did not have any numbness that he was suffering from sciatica and sent him home with pain relief and instructions to follow up with his GP. However the junior doctor’s examination was not thorough enough to rule out anything more sinister and he also did not refer Christopher to a specialist spinal doctor for their opinion or order an MRI scan to check what was going on with his spine.
Further negligence on second visit to the hospital
The following day Christopher noticed that his legs felt numb, as did his groin and feet. He also found that he was struggling to pass urine and had an abnormal sensation in his rectum. Christopher went to see his GP about these worrying symptoms and accordingly was referred straight back to hospital.
Christopher attended the same general hospital where he repeated his symptoms of lower back pain, numbness, difficulty passing urine and altered sensation in his rectum, which combined were classic signs of cauda equina syndrome. However the doctor who examined him decided there was nothing that the hospital could do for him and sent him home. Christopher was advised to see his GP, who should refer him to a spinal surgeon if no better.
Two further trips to the GP
Over the next few days Christopher went back to his GP twice for help. He had suffered urinary incontinence, was unable to open his bowels and was still suffering from numbness. The GP once again referred him back to hospital and this time doctors realised his symptoms could be neurological and referred him to specialists at another hospital.
Negligence is discovered
The specialists ordered an MRI scan for Christopher which revealed he had a large prolapsed disc in his spine which was pressing on his nerves and causing his worrying symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. Christopher underwent surgery but it was now too late to prevent permanent damage. Christopher should have had surgery within 24 hours of his altered urinary function and sensation in his legs and rectum.
After contacting the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence for advice Christopher was awarded £80,000 in compensation.
We can help you claim if you have also suffered delay in diagnosing cauda equina syndrome
If you have also suffered a delay in diagnosis of cauda equina, or any other type of medical negligence, contact the expert team at Hospital Negligence today to find out if you can make a claim. Call us on 0800 014 7481, or fill in our contact form.