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Case Study: Cauda Equina Syndrome Red Flags Ignored
Tina, 39 years old, Worcester
JMW helped Tina to claim £375,000 in compensation after red flag signs of cauda equina syndrome were ignored for 4 days, leading to ongoing problems made worse by the delay in operating.
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. She contacted her GP by telephone and an appointment was made for her to attend the surgery after 4 days if the symptoms had not improved.
The pain continued and two days later suddenly worsened. Tina felt the urge to pass urine but was unable to stand and get to the toilet. She was seen at home by her GP who arranged for her to be taken immediately to A&E. Perineal and peri-anal sensations were noted to be intact. She was admitted for further investigations.
That evening the nurses recorded that Tina had "some altered sensation in the saddle area". Following a ward round the next day it was noted that although there were no bowel or urinary symptoms perineal sensation was reduced. The impression was of a L5/S1 disc prolapse creating pressure on the descending nerve root. The plan was for an MRI scan.
On the second day of her admission the nurses twice recorded that Tina was complaining of numbness of the thighs and perineal area and a lack of sensation to pass urine. The MRI scan taken that day showed a very large disc fragment that was close to becoming sequestrated (separated).
The following day Tina was reviewed again and it was noted that she was complaining of numbness in the lower back and thighs and that perineal sensation was also reduced. Initially she seemed to be passing urine fairly normally but later had to be catheterised for retention.
At midnight she was reviewed again as she could not pass urine. Peri-anal sensation was noted to be markedly reduced. On the ward round the following day a possible diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) was made and she was listed her for urgent lumbar spine decompression the following morning. Decompression of L5/S1 was undertaken 5 days after it was first noted that there was a degree of loss of perineal sensation.
Tina experienced a number of problems following the surgery and 3 years later she had a spinal fusion because of continuing pain. She has also had a number of facet joint injections as a means of pain relief.
She has limited mobility and uses crutches or a wheelchair or a scooter when outside the house, although she spends most of her time at home. She has little bowel or bladder control and has to self catheterise. She has no sexual feeling at all and, understandably, this has affected her relationship with her husband. She is depressed and continues to experience considerable back pain. It is unlikely that she will ever work again.
JMW Solicitors claimed that the significance of the red flag signs of severe back pain associated with perineal numbness and bladder involvement went unrecognised for 4 days.The hospital admitted that it was negligent to fail to operate before 4 days in hospital and agreed that this delay had increased the severity of symptoms experienced by Tina.
Following exchange of medical evidence, Tina was offered £375,000 compensation for her claim which she accepted.
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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.