Compensation for Negligence in Diagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome
Unfortunately for Laura, medical staff were negligently slow to diagnose her cauda equina syndrome. The result was that she suffered a permanent disability. We gathered medical evidence to support Laura’s claim and approached the Defendant Trust. We gained the cooperation of both parties and we agreed a settlement, without the need to issue court proceedings. Cauda equina occurs when the spinal canal narrows significantly and compresses the nerve roots below the level of the spinal cord. If a patient does not receive appropriate treatment the condition can result in permanent disability.
After Laura suffered cauda equina syndrome, she felt unhappy with the treatment that her NHS trust provided. She decided to instruct Emma Zukowska of Barratts Solicitors to investigate.
Delayed Diagnosis of Cauda Equina
Laura had visited the Defendant hospital on several occasions because she had symptoms associated with cauda equina syndrome. Unfortunately, staff at the hospital failed to identify her condition. This lead to a delay in diagnosing and operating on Laura and she now suffers from significant on-going disabilities.
During Laura’s visits to the Defendant hospital she had complained of a number of symptoms. These symptoms included back pain, numbness and lack of sensation to the saddle area, difficulty in passing urine and pain in her leg. The medical staff should have spotted straightaway that Laura had ‘red flag’ signs of cauda equina. The signs include saddle paraesthesia, bladder dysfunction, faecal incontinence and/or severe or progressive neurological deficit in the lower extremities. It is vital to diagnose the condition early to prevent patients suffering from permanent damage.
Sadly, Laura did not get an early diagnosis. Expert medical evidence confirmed that she would have made a significantly better recovery if she had received an earlier diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The delay means Laura has bladder and bowel dysfunction, pain to the leg and reduced sensation affecting the back of the thigh, buttock and saddle area. She has not been able to go back to any form of employment and she needs significant assistance around the home.
Agreeing Compensation for Cauda Equina
The Defendants admitted liability early in the case. They also accepted that Laura would had a better prognosis if she had been diagnosed earlier. We obtained reports from a neurosurgeon, urologist, colorectal surgeon, psychiatrist, occupational therapist and a physiotherapist. Laura was also assessed to see what impact the cauda equina had on her ability to drive. We used these reports to assess how much compensation Laura should claim.
The Defendants made a good offer of settlement which Laura accepted. This meant that we did not need to issue court proceedings, which reduced the costs for everyone involved.
Solicitors acting for Claimants often receive ‘bad press’ when there are high costs from pursuing litigation. At Barratts, we try to keep costs down but still do the best for our clients. When both parties act sensibly and reasonably we can resolve the case in a reasonable time frame and keep costs to a minimum. We are pleased to say in Laura’s case the parties did just that, which meant Laura could receive compensation without delay and move forward in her life.
Laura expressed her thanks to Emma ‘for her absolute care, professional and personal help’.
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