Case Study: Negligent Treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Compensation: £150,000

Tony, 48 years old, Warwick

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A man has been awarded £150,000 compensation after negligent treatment of cauda equina syndrome by medical professionals led to numerous, preventable complications for him.

Sent home by GP and hospital

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. The next day an emergency care practitioner advised taking Paracetamol, in addition to the pain relief already prescribed.

Tony’s pain worsened a couple of days later and he started to lose feeling in his right calf and thigh. After going to the hospital, he was examined by orthopaedics and told, once again, to take pain relief medication, before being discharged.

He was required to wait in the hospital until the drugs started to take effect. However, while waiting, Tony suddenly lost the sensation in his groin, back passage and inner thighs and he was seen again by the same senior house doctor who examined him earlier. After a brief re-examination, he was once again told he could leave.

Eventual cauda equina diagnosis

The next day he was taken back to the hospital after waking to find he still had no feeling in his lower body. An MRI scan showed he had suffered a large slipped disc and he then went into surgery to decompress the spinal cord. He had suffered from cauda equina compression for almost 24 hours.

Long term effects

Following surgery he suffered from bladder and bowel dysfunction, a chronic ulcer in the right lower leg, loss of all genital sensation and sexual function. He also became depressed and suffered from fatigue and loss of concentration.

The claim

JMW Solicitors alleged that the standard of care provided by the doctor in orthopaedics was negligent in both examinations, failing to consider the seriousness of his symptoms. He also claimed the doctor failed to carry out an adequate neurological examination and take advice from a more senior colleague.


Following the exchange of expert medical evidence Tony was eventually offered £150,000 compensation in settlement of his claim.

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