Denise, 50

Denise has been left with significant mobility problems, bladder incontinence, permanent pain and loss of sexual function after urgently-needed surgery to treat cauda equina syndrome was delayed. Denise’s disabilities have had a significant impact on her life, leaving her in need of single story accommodation, help with her personal care and with uncertainty about her ability to hold down a job. Nothing could ever make up for the appalling failures in her care and the long-term consequences; however after Denise’s case was taken on by Eddie Jones, a specialist cauda equina syndrome solicitor at JMW, she was awarded £600,000 in compensation. The settlement has enabled Denise to cope with the financial consequences of her condition. 

Delayed MRI scan

Denise had suffered back pain the past but when this took a significant turn for the worse she made an appointment with her GP. Denise explained to the doctor that over the last week she had noticed she had lost some feeling in her perineal area. She had also found that she was not passing urine as normal and that she had no urge to do so for several hours. When she finally did, she would pass a large volume in one go.

The GP correctly suspected that Denise’s back pain coupled with her abnormal urinary function were signs of cauda equina syndrome and referred her to hospital with a letter requesting an urgent MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis.

Denise’s partner drove her straight to hospital, arriving around 6pm. However despite Denise having red flags of cauda equina syndrome the MRI scan was not carried out until nearly 24 hours later. The scan confirmed that a disc in Denise’s spine had slipped out of place and was putting pressure in the cauda equina nerves at the base of her spine controlling her bowel, bladder, sexual function and sensation in the lower part of her body. This pressure was causing Denise’s symptoms and permanent damage would be caused to the nerves if surgery was not carried out within a matter of hours. In the meantime, Denise’s condition was deteriorating and she was now suffering intermittent loss of sensation in both feet.

Poor surgery

More than six hours after the MRI scan revealing the damage being caused to Denise’s cauda equina nerves, she was transferred to a specialist spinal centre for surgery. The following afternoon decompression surgery was carried out.

However, following the operation, far from seeing an improvement to her condition, Denise continued to suffer with pain and problems with her bladder and bowel. A few weeks post-surgery, a further MRI scan was carried out at the spinal centre which showed that the surgery had not been successful and the cauda equina nerves were still being pressurised. Further surgery was carried out the following day however it was now too late to successfully treat the cauda equina syndrome and Denise was left with permanent nerve damage and the associated problems she now suffers from.

Successful medical negligence claim

Denise was devastated that the original surgery had not only been delayed, but had also been carried out to a poor standard. She felt there had been a lack of urgency throughout her care and contacted JMW for advice. Her case was taken on by Eddie Jones, who conducted a thorough investigation, gathering evidence from leading medical experts. The investigation revealed failures on both the part of the local hospital Denise was originally sent to by her GP for delaying the MRI scan despite the presence of cauda equina syndrome red flags and the risks these posed. Eddie’s investigation also confirmed the failures relating to the surgery at the specialist spinal surgery.

Eddie built a strong case against the hospitals, which both made several admissions of negligence. Eddie was then able to negotiate a compensation settlement totalling £600,000 for Denise to enable her to cope with her permanent disabilities.




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