JMW hosts Cauda Equina Syndrome Association support meeting

6th June 2013 Clinical Negligence

Tomorrow the JMW offices will host the first meeting of a support organisation set up to help sufferers of a serious spinal condition.

The Cauda Equina Syndrome Association (CESA) was set up by Claire Kellett to raise awareness of the condition, promote the need for good care, and support people who are living with this devastating injury.

Claire has bravely decided that although she suffers from CES herself there is much she can do to address some of the issues with the quality of care other patients receive. Tomorrow's event will give CES sufferers from across the country the chance to find out more about what CESA can do for them and the standard of CES care. The meeting will also feature guest speaker Alan Wibberley from Wyvern Architects, who will discuss disabled facilities grants.

CES represents a surgical emergency and when it first strikes victims need to undergo surgery in 24-28 hours. The red flag signs of CES are episodes of bladder or bowel incontinence, numbness in the saddle area and problems with sexual function. If surgery is delayed then all these symptoms can become permanent. CES can strike at any age and the specialist solicitors at JMW are currently representing several people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have been left with permanent disabilities, incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

We also continue to be contacted by patients who have suffered appalling errors such as failure to act on the red flag signs, failure to refer them for scans and the failure to carry out surgery during the critical initial period. Worryingly some of these patients have had to wait up to two weeks for the surgery that could have given them the chance to return to a normal life.

What we and Claire have come to realise is that the red flag signs are not widely known and many doctors, nurses and therapists are completely oblivious to their significance. Claire is determined to change that and hopefully tomorrow's inaugural meeting will signal the start of a journey to improved CES awareness across the board.


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Eddie Jones is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Clinical Negligence department

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