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Man left with bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction after delayed cauda equina syndrome treatment - £1.6 million
‘William’ was left with permanent cauda equina syndrome due to negligent care has been awarded £1.6 million compensation after a successful case by JMW.
William has been left with permanent symptoms, including difficulties with his bowel and bladder, sexual dysfunction, pain and numbness in one leg and foot and a major depressive illness.
JMW’s Steven Brown, a partner specialising in cauda equina syndrome cases, took on William’s claim and achieved a compensation settlement totalling £1.6 million to help him with the financial consequences of the poor care.
How it started
William had been suffering with severe back pain in the two weeks leading to his hospital admission. When he started to experience pain in both legs as well, and his GP was only recommending pain relief medication, William decided to pay for an MRI scan of his back at a private clinic.
The MRI scan showed that a disc in William’s back was pressing on his spinal cord causing the cauda equina nerves at the base of his spine to be compressed (cauda equina syndrome) and he was told he needed to go straight to A&E. By this stage, the pain was so severe that William felt he was on the point of passing out.
Later that day, William was taken by ambulance to A&E. He was examined and was then discharged home to be seen at a specialist spinal clinic within two weeks.
The day after being seen in A&E, William was at home when his symptoms suddenly worsened significantly. The pain in his back and legs worsened and he also had numbness in his buttocks, genitals and down both legs. An ambulance was called and this time he was taken directly to the specialist spinal clinic.
It was very clear that William’s condition had now progressed and that he was suffering clear red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, meaning that he needed to be assessed and treated as a matter of urgency. Instead, when he arrived at hospital, a review by the neurosurgical team, an MRI scan and emergency surgery were all delayed.
William should have been seen by a specialist as soon as he arrived at hospital and should have had surgery within a matter of hours. Instead, he did not have surgery the following morning, by which time his spinal cord had been compressed for such a long time that his symptoms worsened and could not be reversed.
As a result of the delays in William having surgery, he has been left with permanent symptoms. These include bowel and bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, difficulties mobilising and severe depression.
William had concerns about the treatment he had received and contacted JMW for advice. His case was taken on by Steven Brown, a partner in the specialist spinal injury team in the clinical negligence department.
A comprehensive investigation was carried out by Steven and the team at JMW. This included gathering evidence from leading medical experts, who agreed that William’s care had fallen below a reasonable standard and that he had not been treated within a reasonable time. The experts also concluded that earlier treatment would have resulted in a much better outcome for William, with many of his symptoms being avoided or much less severe.
JMW’s experience in such cases meant that a strong case could be put to the hospital trust, which resulted in an admission of negligence by the hospital and responsibility for William’s permanent disabilities. Negotiations between the parties took place a settlement of £1.6 million was secured.
Steven Brown, William’s specialist solicitor, commented: “I regularly act for clients who present at hospital with clear symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and, sadly, I see the devastating impact delayed treatment has. I am pleased that we have been able to secure a settlement for William, who has been left with permanent symptoms which affect him in a really significant way. I also hope some lessons have been learned by the trust to ensure that these delays do not happen again.”
Steven Brown, William’s specialist solicitor, commented:
I regularly act for clients who present at hospital with clear symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and, sadly, I see the devastating impact delayed treatment has. I am pleased that we have been able to secure a settlement for William, who has been left with permanent symptoms which affect him in a really significant way. I also hope some lessons have been learned by the trust to ensure that these delays do not happen again..
Get in touch
JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading lawyer, Eddie Jones.