call

Medical Negligence

Medical Negligence claims for Cauda Equina Syndrome

By LHD Lawyers

It is vital that a person with Cauda Equina Syndrome receives immediate surgical treatment to relieve the pressure on their affected nerves. This gives them the best chances of both recovery and prevention of permanent damage such as paralysis of the legs, loss of bladder and bowel control, loss of sexual function or other problems.

This treatment should occur within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, though this will vary depending on the cause of the pressure and the severity of the symptoms. And depending on the cause, high doses of corticosteroids may be needed to reduce swelling, antibiotics may be needed to treat an infection, and radiation or chemotherapy may be needed after surgery to treat a tumour.

What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Cauda Equina Syndrome, or CES, is a potentially devastating condition caused by the compression of the nerves at the base of the spinal cord known as the Cauda Equina.

If treated negligently, for example, due to a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, Cauda Equina Syndrome could ultimately lead to lifelong paralysis and the need for full-time support. This will, in turn, have serious consequences in terms of mental health, relationships, financial hardship and overall quality of life.

In these circumstances, the law seeks to award compensation to help with the sufferer’s ongoing challenges and maximise the potential rehabilitation and quality of a sufferer’s life. While no sum of money can make up for the difficulties someone with CES has to face, compensation for medical negligence is available to help.

What are the common ‘red flag’ symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

The symptoms, indications and signs that healthcare professionals look for when diagnosing CES include:

  • Bilateral sciatica – occurs in both legs together. This type of sciatica is rare and may occur due to degenerative changes in the vertebrae and or the disc at several spinal levels or from Cauda equina syndrome
  • Severe or progressive abnormal function of the legs, such as major motor weakness with knee extension, ankle and or foot movement
  • Difficulty passing of urine and incontinence
  • Loss of rectal sensation, which if untreated can lead to irreversible incontinence
  • Loss of feeling, tingling or numbness
  • Weakness and or numbness in the anal sphincter

Some patients with persistent back problems, neurological symptoms or concerns that something has gone wrong with their treatment often don’t realise they are suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome. Therefore, it is important to seek urgent medical advice if you have any of the warning signs.

What are the common causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

CES can develop because of a substandard surgical procedure or as the result of a negligent delay in treatment due to the following causes:

  • A severely ruptured disk in the base of the spine
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal
  • A spinal lesion or tumour
  • A spinal infection, inflammation, haemorrhage or fracture
  • A complication from a severe lumbar spinal injury from (e.g.) a car crash or fall
  • A congenital disability

What are the risks if Cauda Equina Syndrome is misdiagnosed or diagnosis is delayed?

A delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis of symptoms can be devastating because they can allow CES to progress to irreversible states. And the permanent, long-term damage can have a life-changing impact on both the patients and their families.

If someone has Cauda Equina Syndrome, can they make a claim?

Quick diagnosis and intervention are crucial in minimising the adverse effects of CES. If you have reason to believe your diagnosis and/or treatment of CES were wrongly delayed, then you may have a claim for medical negligence. However, every case has its own unique circumstances and not every case can be attributed to medical error.

At LHD, each case is reviewed by our expert medical negligence lawyers to help you determine the most likely causes of CES and to establish if you have a claim for compensation.

How much compensation can someone receive for a successful Cauda Equina Syndrome claim?

The aim of compensation is to provide financial support that can both maximising the potential for rehabilitation and ensure an appropriate and equitable quality of life. Our specialist team has successfully pursued many cases on behalf of clients who have suffered CES and obtained suitable compensation amounts to fund the support needed for the client’s and their family’s futures.

Make a medical negligence claim today

LHD Lawyers help everyday Australians receive the benefits they are entitled to for medical negligence claims. We are so sure of our abilities to win your case that we stand firmly by our No Win No Fee Policy: if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Call 1800 455 725 for a no-obligation consultation about your case.

LHD Lawyers | Feature Callout

Check if you’re eligible or get free claim advice now

or call us on  1800 455 725