Case Study: Delay in Diagnosis and Treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Compensation: £225,000

Aaron, 35

Read case studies on claims to the value of £4.3 Million, £2.6 Million or £2.5 Million, or read on for Aaron's story.

A man has been awarded £225,000 in compensation after nurses failed to ensure a prompt diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome which has led to numerous ongoing complications.

Aaron was left with bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction after a nurse failed to ensure he received a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment of cauda equina syndrome. Aaron’s condition has caused problems with his job and in his personal life. After contacting the specialist solicitors at JMW for advice Aaron’s case was taken on by one of our cauda equina syndrome experts and he was later awarded £225,000 in compensation.

Red flag signs

Aaron’s problems began with lower back pain that started one month and got progressively worse with shooting pains in his legs that pain relief failed to address. When Aaron began to experience pins and needles in both of his feet he took himself to an NHS walk-in centre to get checked out.

Aaron was asked to provide a urine sample and found that he struggled to do so. At the same time he also noticed he had reduced sensation in his scrotum. He was seen by a nurse and described his symptoms and was told that he needed to see a doctor.

About an hour later Aaron was seen by another medical professional who he presumed to be a doctor after the comment by the nurse. However in actual fact this was a nurse practioner, who found it necessary to look up his symptoms on the internet to try to provide a diagnosis. The nurse gave Aaron diazepam as she believed his problem to be muscular and discharged him with advice to see GP and to return if his condition got worse or failed to improve.

Condition deteriorated

The following day Aaron was very concerned to find that his pain and abnormal sensation was even worse and he and his wife went straight to A&E at the local hospital. Aaron had lost sensation in his body from the waist down, had no urge to pass urine and could not feel anything when he did so. He was unable to open his bowels and the shooting pains were continuing in his legs.

An A&E doctor examined Aaron and correctly suspected that he was potentially suffering from cauda equina syndrome and referred him to specialist orthopaedic doctors. The specialist doctors agreed with this opinion and organised an urgent MRI scan which revealed that a large disc at the bottom of Aaron’s spine had slipped out of place and was putting pressure on the cauda equina nerves that control sensation and bowel, bladder and sexual function.

Permanent damage

The next day Aaron underwent surgery to relieve the pressure however by now it was too late to save him from permanent neurological damage. If the nurse who had seen him at the walk-in centre had recognised the red flag signs of cauda equina syndrome and referred him urgently to hospital, Aaron would have undergone surgery much sooner and his cauda equina syndrome would have been successfully treated. The nurse should also have ensured Aaron was seen by a doctor as he had clear neurological symptoms that may have been beyond her level of expertise to diagnose.

Successful claim

Feeling something had gone badly wrong with his care Aaron contacted the experts at JMW for advice. His case was taken on by JMW, who successfully challenged his delayed treatment and secured £225,000 in compensation to help Aaron to cope with his permanent disabilities.

Have you also suffered from delayed diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

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