Hospital Missed Key Symptoms Leading to Life Changing Injury

Cauda Equina Syndrome

This claim settled by Laura Weir arises from the delay in diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome. According to the NHS Website, Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare and severe type of spinal column narrowing where all of the nerves in the lower back suddenly become severely compressed.

Symptoms include: 

  • sciatica on both sides
  • weakness or numbness in both legs that is severe or getting worse
  • numbness around or under your genitals, or around your anus
  • finding it hard to start peeing, can't pee or can't control when you pee – and this isn't normal for you
  • you don't notice when you need to poo or can't control when you poo – and this isn't normal for you

Cauda Equina Syndrome requires emergency hospital admission and may require emergency surgery, because the longer it goes untreated, there is an increased chance it will lead to permanent paralysis and incontinence.

Case study

On the morning of 5 January 2019, LC called an Out of Hours service. She had excruciating back and bilateral leg pain and reduced sensation on wiping after urinating. After an examination, the Out of Hours Doctor suspected she had Cauda Equina Syndrome and said she should attend Hereford County Hospital urgently. She followed his advice and despite an examination at around midday revealing saddle numbness, reduced sensation on rectal exam and there being a post-void bladder scan of 161mls (suggesting she was in urinary retention), the decision was made to MRI the following morning. 

The MRI took place at 9am on 6 January 2019 this revealed spinal cord compression which required emergency surgery. Despite this, LC was not transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham until approximately 8pm. Surgery is there performed at 1am on 7 January 2019. 

Following Pre-Action correspondence from Laura Weir, Wye Valley NHS Trust admitted that LC should have had an MRI and decompression surgery on 5 January 2019 and this would have provided an improved outcome. 

LC was left with a permanent neurological injury which continues to impact her daily. Her claim settled for a six figure sum which will be used to aid rehabilitation and help her continue to do the job she loves. 

Client reference

“My experience of Lanyon Bowdler has been extremely favourable. Laura Weir is professional, discreet, friendly and explained everything. She handled my claim with the upmost professionalism and respect and worked hard to gain the best result possible.”