Thompsons solicitors: leaders in complex claims
The cauda equina is a bundle of nerves at the base of the spinal cord. It is located in the lumbar region of the spine at the L2 to L5 vertebrae. Deriving its name from the fact it resembles a horse's tail, this continuation of nerve roots transports messages to and from the lower limbs and pelvic organs.
Cauda equina syndrome occurs when these delicate nerve endings are compressed and, depending on the degree of compression and the precise nerve roots affected, may cause a number of symptoms, including:
- Severe, low back pain
- Weakness, sensory loss, or pain in one or both legs
- Saddle anaesthesia (unable to feel anything in the body parts that typically rest on a saddle)
- Bladder dysfunction (such as urinary retention or incontinence)
- Bowel incontinence
- Sensory abnormalities in the bladder or rectum
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of reflexes in the extremities
The serious nature of cauda equina syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome (CES) should be treated as a medical emergency. There are a number of so-called "red flag" symptoms – loss of feeling in the lower limbs, numbness in the buttocks /genital area, difficulty passing urine or with bowel movements – and if these are missed or the underlying nerve compression not treated within 48 hours, it can lead to permanent and life-changing neurological damage.
Treatment typically involves the patient undergoing surgery to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord (lumbar decompression surgery), but sadly, even the promptest of intervention does not always alleviate the symptoms fully and CES sufferers may be left with back pain and problems with their lower limbs.
However, when CES is not treated promptly there may be permanent loss of bladder and/or bowel control, loss of sexual function and long-term weakness in the legs which may cause mobility problems – all of which may require significant spinal injury rehabilitation.
Cauda equina syndrome compensation claims
CES can occur following spinal injuries resulting from a fall from height or a road traffic accident. It also may occur as a result of a slipped disc (or herniated, ruptured or prolapsed disc) which may be caused by a manual handling incident.
Following a spinal injury, CES may make up part of your solatium compensation award for pain and suffering.
Due to the time-critical nature when diagnosing cauda equina syndrome, a medical negligence compensation claim may be made against the GP or hospital doctors if symptoms were missed or there was a failure to refer the patient to a specialist so that the appropriate diagnostic scans can be arranged and surgical treatment carried out when necessary. Sometimes a claim can be made if the surgery was not carried out properly.
Talk to Thompsons about your CES claim
The spinal injury solicitors at Thompsons in Scotland can help you secure compensation for pain, suffering, rehabilitation, specialist equipment, lost earnings and more.
Whenever possible, we will seek to secure interim payment from the defender to enable you and your family to get on with your lives without any unnecessary concerns about money.
Cauda equina syndrome claims are complex and when there is a element of medical negligence involved we would not be able to undertake a claim on a No Win No Fee basis. However, we have a number of funding methods available for your claim and we will be happy to discuss these with you at the start of your enquiry.
We understand the many difficulties and challenges faced by CES sufferers and we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible rehabilitation and recovery. Contact us today on 0800 0891 331 or text CLAIM to 78866 for more information about making a spinal injury compensation in Scotland.