Permanent disability caused by delayed cauda equina syndrome surgery - £280,000

'John', 75

John was left with significantly reduced mobility after doctors delayed urgently needed surgery to treat cauda equina syndrome. John contacted the specialist cauda equina solicitors at JMW for help and was awarded £280,000.00 in compensation to help him move to more suitable, single storey accommodation.

First signs

One morning John woke up and experienced a sudden episode of urinary incontinence. As soon as his GP practice opened he contacted the surgery for advice. John was told to go to the surgery immediately and he drove himself there.

The GP who examined John correctly suspected he was suffering from cauda equina syndrome as he found he had lost sensation in his saddle area and had struggled to pass urine. The GP contacted the nearest specialist neurosurgery department so that John could be referred for treatment. The plan was for John to first have an urgent MRI scan at a different local hospital and for the neurosurgeons to advise further once the result of the scan was available. An ambulance was called and John was taken the local hospital.

Appalling delays

When John arrived at the local hospital an orthopaedic doctor examined him and requested an urgent MRI scan. John was taken to the radiology department for the scan but after two attempts was told that the MRI scanning equipment was not working properly and he would be transferred to the hospital where the specialist neurosurgery department was based for the scan.

The scan revealed severe degeneration of the lower part of John’s spine which was causing damage to the cauda equina nerves and the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. John required surgery immediately to prevent permanent damage from being caused.

However it was hours later before John was reviewed by a junior neurosurgeon who discussed his examination findings with a more senior neurosurgeon who said he would review John ‘later’. However it was another three hours before John was assessed by the more senior doctor. Furthermore, surgery was not carried out until early the next evening.

Due to the appalling delays he faced in an emergency situation, John’s condition was left unchanged following the surgery and he was left with severe mobility difficulties.

Successful medical negligence case

John was left with very poor mobility, requiring the use of a wheelchair for outdoors.
After his case was taken on by Steven Brown, a senior associate in the JMW medical negligence team, it was alleged that it was negligent to delay arranging for John to undergo surgery. Steven later negotiated a compensation settlement of £280.000.

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