Case Study: Delay in Hospital Admission Leads to Cauda Equina Syndrome - £355,000

Paul, 50 years old

Read case studies on settlements to the value of £4.3 Million, £2.6 Million or £2.5 Million, or or click here to go directly to information on how JMW Solicitors can help you to make a cauda equina syndrome claim.

With JMW's help a man has received £350,000 compensation after delays in hospital admission resulted in cauda equina syndrome.


Paul had a long history of lower back pain and, when he was 35 years old, he underwent a laminectomy for removal of a prolapsed intervertebral disc. This was only partially successful and he continued to suffer episodic lower back pain.

Just before he turned 50, Paul went to see his GP with a particularly severe recurrence of the back pain associated with right sided sciatica. The GP referred him for an MRI scan, which was performed a week later. Both the back pain and the sciatica got steadily worse, and a week later Paul consulted his GP by telephone as he felt unable to attend the surgery. He was reassured.

Escalating symptoms

Six days later, Paul noticed a worrying alteration in his symptoms. The sciatica was now also on the left side, associated with a degree of numbness in the leg. He again telephoned the GP, who again reassured him, despite noting that he cannot pass urine sometimes.

Paul's condition continued to deteriorate, and a week following the last telephone consultation he was finding it difficult to control his bladder and to open his bowels. He claims that he contacted his GP on that day and again four days later, and on both occasions informed her of these developments.

Emergency spinal surgery

Two days later, Paul found he could not pass urine at all. He contacted the out of hours service and an ambulance was arranged to take him straight to the local hospital. On admission he was immediately transferred to the regional neurosurgical unit, where cauda equina compression was diagnosed. He underwent spinal surgery the following day, where a large disc was removed.

Following surgery, the back pain improved, but Paul was left with permanent neurological damage. He was unable to pass urine normally and had to regularly self catheterise to empty his bladder. He also had difficulty opening his bowels and had no control over passing flatus. He had very little penile sensation and also complained of numbness in both legs and feet, although his mobility was not impaired.

Our case for medical negligence

JMW alleged that the care Paul received from his GP was negligent in failing to suspect that he was suffering from cauda equina syndrome and arranging an immediate admission to hospital. If Paul had been referred to hospital any time before his final call to his GP, he would have had his prolapsed disc removed before it caused permanent neurological damage.

The case was settled and Paul was awarded of £355,000.

JMW can help you

If you have been diagnosed with cauda equina syndrome and you feel your condition could have been avoided if you had received better medical care, contact our expert team to discuss your situation.

To find out more, call us now on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our contact form and one of our experts will get back to you soon.

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