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What is cauda equina and can I claim for it in Belfast & Northern Ireland?

4 minute read

What is cauda equina and can I claim for it in Belfast & Northern Ireland

Cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency that can damage the spine

Cauda equina syndrome is a severe type of spinal stenosis. It causes the nerves in the lower back to become severely compressed and it can lead to permanent paralysis and incontinence. It is a rare condition, but when it occurs it requires emergency hospital admission and may require emergency surgery.

The longer cauda equina syndrome goes untreated, the greater the chance of life-changing consequences. 

What are symptoms of cauda equina syndrome?

According to the NHS, there are several key symptoms that can be looked out for.

They include:

  • Sciatica on both sides
  • Progressively worsening weakness or numbness in both legs
  • Numbness around or under the genitals or anus
  • Difficulty with beginning to urinate, an inability to urinate or urinary incontinence
  • Loss of ability to notice when there is a need to defecate or fecal incontinence  

What causes cauda equina syndrome?

Several things can cause cauda equina syndrome.

The most common causes include:

  • Herniated disc
  • Tumor
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Fracture
  • Impact injury
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal

This is not an exhaustive list.

Cauda equina claims and compensation 

The consequences of a mismanaged or delayed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome can, in the worst cases, leave a person with permanent paralysis and incontinence. Those with life-changing injuries face many challenges and may require a lifetime of care and support.

Doctors have a duty of care to their patient and when they fail to recognise well established symptoms of a serious life-changing condition, they have failed that patient.   

If not diagnosed quickly, cauda equina syndrome can leave a person with life-changing injuries and they might be able to pursue compensation. They must begin their claim within three years of learning of the breach of duty. This type of case can be complex and take years to conclude, so it is recommended that they avoid delaying the claims process. This is particularly important as a successful claim will ensure a more comfortable quality of life.  

What support is available in Northern Ireland for those left injured by Cauda Equina Syndrome?

There are several organisations ready to help those left injured by Cauda Equina Syndrome in Northern Ireland. We published a blog post outlining what they do and how to contact them. You can read it here: Spinal injury charities & support.

There is also a popular Facebook Group that is in place for cauda equina syndrome sufferers to help motivate and inspire each other. Visit Keeping Fit With Cauda Equina Syndrome on Facebook.

We are cauda equina claims solicitors

Our team of clinical negligence solicitors are experts in misdiagnosis claims. If you presented to your GP or hospital with symptoms of cauda equina and diagnosis was incorrect or delayed, leading to further harm, then you might be entitled to compensation.

You can learn more about our services at Misdiagnosis Claims or Contact Us for a free initial consultation with a medical negligence solicitor.


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