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Delay in Diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome

C had severe back pain radiating to her legs, sensation loss/numbness in the perineum and vaginal area, numbness at the base of her bottom, the inability to pass urine normally with a constant feeling of the need to urinate, a burning sensation on urinating and having to strain to urinate and possible constipation.

With these symptoms she went to see her General Practitioner. She was merely advised that she should continue to take Ibuprofen and mobilise as much as possible.

The GP did not warn C of Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) and that she should act promptly in the event symptoms materialised nor did she convey any sense of urgency. Accordingly, C took no action despite becoming increasingly concerned about her condition as she was reassured by her GP’s words. By the time that she went back to see a different GP at the same practice he immediately recognised the symptoms as those of possible CES and arranged for immediate admission to hospital where following an MRI scan a diagnosis of CES was made and it was necessary for C to undergo a hemi-partial laminectomy.

As a result of the CES, C has urinary problems and has to self catheterise, she has had problems with her bowel as well as having constant leg pain and limited mobility.

The claim was defended throughout by those representing the first GP who C saw. However, the specialist team at Mintons had received supportive evidence from experts who were of the opinion that the first GP was negligent in failing to contact the hospital and there was a failure to refer her to the hospital with expert evidence from a Neurosurgeon confirming that had steps being taken to refer C earlier then the diagnosis would have been made and C would have made a complete recovery of all symptoms and disability.

The claim settled for £145,000.000 just before Trial following intense negotiations between both parties.