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Cauda Equina Syndrome Missed by Tameside Hospital

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When a client turned to us following delays and misdiagnosis at Tameside Hospital we secured a £150,000 settlement after her symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome were missed.

Our client was an active and independent lady in her mid 50s who had previously been diagnosed with very mild multiple sclerosis but continued her job as a taxi driver.

However, over time she developed worsening lower back pain and restricted movement. She complained of a ‘nagging’ pain down her left side and into her leg. On two occasions she consulted her GP who recommended exercises and prescribed tramadol and diazepam. Diazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders and/or muscle spasms.

Unable to tolerate her pain any further she went to Tameside Hospital A&E and was admitted to the trauma unit where after a series of tests the plan was bed rest, analgesia and muscle relaxants. She was discharged and told to await an MRI scan.

After suffering increasing pain she returned to Tameside A&E department with bilateral leg weakness, decreased movement and tenderness in the midline of the lumbar spine. She was admitted and, during her hospital stay, collapsed reporting a painful ‘saddle’ area and no control of her legs.

An MRI scan was refused as it was out of hours, and it was a further three days until an MRI was performed, this was only after a further fall, loss of bladder control and decreased sensations to the saddle area. The radiological conclusion was disc extrusion and nerve root compression, but it was only when she was transferred to the neurosurgical department at Hope Hospital that a correct diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome was made and she was correctly treated.

Following her operation, she was told that complete recovery was unlikely and she continues to suffer poor balance, continued numbness and with accompanying low moods her marriage has suffered. She has had to have adaptations to her house to enable her to manage.

Jacqueline White, acting on behalf of the client said had an earlier MRI scan been ordered she could have avoided sphincter disturbance, saddle anaesthesia and the progression to complete Cauda Equina Syndrome

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts admitted a breach of duty of care and made an out of court settlement of £150,000.

Had it not been for a delay in diagnosis and treatment my client would have had a much better prognosis and would have avoided ongoing problems.

If Cauda Equina Syndrome is ignored or misdiagnosed the neurological effects of this condition can be devastating – it is important patients are referred for neurosurgical/spinal reviews and urgent decompression surgery undertaken to relieve the pressure on the spine and avoid life-changing consequences,” added Miss White.

“Although not widely known, the condition did get some press last year, when Blue band member and Hollyoaks actor, Duncan James, went public with his Cauda Equina Syndrome case. When handled correctly recovery can be quite good, sadly for my client, this was not the case and the compensation afforded her the lifestyle changes she needed to make.”

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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