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Case Study: Incorrect Diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome
JMW has secured £640,000 for a man who was left with life-changing disabilities that could have been prevented if doctors had correctly diagnosed cauda equina syndrome.
Jim was a 40 years old lorry driver. He had an attack of sciatica while lifting boxes at work. He went to his local casualty Department where he was examined and advised to rest and take pain killers as needed until the pain wore off.
Jim rested up but the pain got worse rather than better and he requested a home visit from his GP. As well as the worsening back pain the GP also noted numbness across his waist and scrotum, a loss of sensation to pass urine, no bowel movement for 4 days and an inability to walk without collapsing.
As these symptoms were highly suggestive of cauda equina syndrome (CES) the GP sent Jim to hospital by ambulance with a letter for the hospital staff listing her findings and suggesting a possible diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome.
Jim was examined at the hospital fracture clinic but the doctor did not perform a full neurological examination. Jim was catheterised and sent for an immediate MRI scan.
Unfortunately, Jim could not tolerate the MRI scanner as he was in such intense pain when lying on his back and felt claustrophobic inside the machine so the scan was aborted and he was told that a CT scan would be performed instead.
Jim was then admitted to the ward where he was seen by the registrar who performed only a limited neurological examination.
Jim remained in hospital and was wrongly told to walk around This may have made his condition worse.
A few days later Jim awoke to find that he had been incontinent of urine.
Later that day Jim had numbness in both feet and was dribbling urine. There was also reduced anal tone and some faecal incontinence. A diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome was made and Jim was persuaded to undergo an MRI scan, which was performed the same day. This showed a giant disc prolapse at L4/L5 level. Emergency, difficult and lengthy decompression surgery was undertaken, 3 1/2 days after the initial diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome had been made by the GP.
Jim was left with persistent pain in his left leg, worse at night, and numbness in both feet; something he finds very unpleasant particularly when it is accompanied by shooting electric shock-like pains. He is not fully continent of urine and his sexual function has also been affected. He is chronically constipated and was not able to return to work.
On Jim’s behalf, we argued that the hospital was negligent in not fully recognising and appreciating all the ‘red flag’ signs of cauda equina syndrome he was displaying when admitted to hospital and delaying in arranging a scan which meant his operation was delayed
Time is of the essence in treating someone with suspected cauda equina syndrome and we argued that Jim would have made a good recovery and his problems he now suffers from would have been less severe and disabling.
JMW were able to win £640,000 in compensation for Jim.
Get in Touch
If you would like to find out more about any of the topics discussed above, or how we can help you make a cauda equina claim for your particular situation, simply get in touch with our expert and friendly team.
Other Case Studies
Failure to properly investigate and treat suspected Cauda Equina Syndrome has resulted in a woman receiving £4.37 million compensation.
Spinal injury specialists at JMW obtained £2.75 million in compensation for Jean after appalling errors led to her suffering permanent cauda equina syndrome. This case study tells Jean's story.
Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW, secured £2.6 million for a woman whose life was devastated by negligent cauda equina syndrome care.
Melissa Gardner, a partner specialising in spinal injuries in the JMW clinical negligence department, secured £2.1 million in compensation to help a woman cope with the devastating impact of permanent cauda equina syndrome after a poor consultation from a doctor caused a delay in diagnosis and treatment
JMW partner Melissa Gardner secured £2 million for 'Tracy' after her life was devastated by errors in the treatment of her cauda equina syndrome. This case study explains what went wrong and how Melissa helped Tracy.
Sam lost her business and marriage after appalling errors allowed her red flag signs of cauda equina syndrome to go untreated. Sam was left permanently disabled but Eddie Jones as JMW obtained her £925,000 in compensation to help her to cope.
Jim had an attack of sciatica at work, it didn't get better with rest and his GP suspected cauda equina syndrome and sent him to a hospital for investigation. His condition wasn't initially properly diagnosed and got worse and has led to long term suffering.
Peter was left with permanent bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction, as well as disability and constant pain after delayed treatment of his cauda equina syndrome. As a result he lost his job and struggles with day-to-day tasks such as caring for his children.
Tina had a history of lower back pain and had consulted her GP on a number of occasions. One day she had a particularly severe episode of back pain that was unresponsive to pain relief.
Donna attended her GP with lower back pain and sciatica in her left leg worsening over the previous 2 weeks. She was referred to an orthopaedic consultant at her local hospital.
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.
'John' now relies on a wheelchair for getting about outdoors after appalling delays to surgery he needed urgently to treat cauda equina syndrome. Steven Brown, a senior associate in JMW's specialist medical negligence team secured John £280,000 in compensation to help him cope with his permanent disabilities.
Joanne was left with permanent bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction after delays in recognising her cauda equina syndrome. Her case was taken on by JMW Solicitors and she was awarded £250,000 in compensation.
Find out how we helped Tricia to claim £250,000 after medical professionals failed to recognise the risks of cauda equina syndrome.
Aaron was awarded £225,000 in compensation after JMW challenged the poor care that he faced when his Cauda Equina Syndrome was missed by medical professionals. This case study tells his story.
Tony had a long history of lower back pain and sciatica.However, when he was 48 years old he suffered a recurrence of his symptoms. After a month his condition became much more severe and so visited his GP, who prescribed pain relief. JMW claimed £150,000 for the claimant due to clinical negligence.
Gerard had a long history of lower back pain and had attended an osteopath as well as his GP on a number of occasions. He had become depressed since the recent death of his partner.
Collette, 39, had her life devastated by appalling delays to urgently needed spinal surgery. Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW helped her to win her battle for justice, paving the way for compensation to be secured.
'Michael' suffered negligent diagnosis of cauda equina and received £425,000 in compensation with the help of JMW's Steven Brown.
Delayed MRI scan and poor surgery cause permanent disabilities from cauda equina syndrome - £600,000
Eddie Jones, a cauda equina syndrome specialist solicitor at JMW, obtained £600,000 for a women whose life was devastated by negligent treatment of CES at a local hospital and a specialist spinal unit. Although nothing could ever fully compensate 'Denise' for her ordeal, the money has enabled her to cope with the financial consequences.
Paul, 38, was left with bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction after surgery to treat cauda equina syndrome was delayed to enable a non-emergency patient to be operated on. His case was taken on by Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW and a leading cauda equina solicitor, who secured £220,000, enabling him to manage his condition.