JMW supporting CES Festival and Awareness Day 2021

28th September 2021 Clinical Negligence

As the country grapples with fuel shortages at service stations caused by panic buying, thoughts are turning to key workers such as NHS staff and teachers and how the country will be affected if they are unable to get to work.

That’s a very worrying issue and I hope that a solution can be found before we get to that stage.

However as a solicitor who specialises in working on behalf of severely injured and disabled patients I am equally concerned about how they will fare.

One group of clients who are particularly front of mind for me this week are those I represent in medical negligence cases who are living with the debilitating spinal injury cauda equina syndrome (CES). The CES Festival is taking place this week and culminates with a national awareness day on Friday.

CES causes permanent spinal cord damage if not treated quickly leaving sufferers with bowel and bladder incontinence, with permanent severe pain, weakness and loss of sexual function. Lasting damage is largely preventable with good medical care but this doesn’t happen nearly enough and patients are left unable to work, with a poor quality of life and unable to maintain their personal relationships.

All week the Cauda Equina Champions Charity has been hosting the festival online and has brought together speakers who are leading experts in cauda equina syndrome, as well as several patients who have shared their experiences.

Presentations have covered all aspects of this debilitating condition from managing continence issues and physical disabilities to employment rights, claiming benefits and pregnancy. We are very pleased to be supporting the festival with a screening on Wednesday of a short film we have produced in partnership with psychosexual therapist Michelle Donald looking at how intimacy and relationships are affected and providing advice on how to cope.

I am sure the festival sessions have brought great comfort to CES patients in a week where their anxiety about coping with the many difficulties they face has been heightened. Concerns about reaching medical appointments and obtaining vital supplies and equipment are very real and can take a huge toll on people who are understandably in a fragile state of mind anyway.

On Friday’s CES Awareness Day I hope everyone can put aside their fuel concerns for a few minutes to familiarise themselves with the red flags of CES and help more people get diagnosed and treated in time.


Cauda equina syndrome red flags:

  • Changes in bladder and bowel function, not necessarily incontinence to begin with and usually starts with altered flow, sensation or feeling the need to go.
  • Numbness in saddle area, genitals or legs.
  • Sexual problems such as loss of sensation, inability to achieve an erection.
  • Pain in the back or legs
  • Leg weakness






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

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