Cauda Equina is a rare but very serious spinal condition which, if not treated within a timely manner, can cause a lot of damage.
The consequences of the delay to treat cauda equina include permanent damage to the bowel, bladder, sexual organs, legs and ongoing lower back pain.
Due to the serious damage this condition can cause, doctors need to be constantly on alert and looking out for symptoms as they arise.
Therefore, failure to treat cauda equina within timely manner can be negligent.
Cauda Equina usually develops suddenly, however, quite often to those who are known to suffer from chronic lower back pain.
Nevertheless, this condition can develop in anyone, including young people who have never had any spinal problems.
The symptoms that one should be aware of are as follows:
- Severe and/or increased back pain;
- Sciatica on both sides;
- Weakness or numbness in both legs;
- Numbness around or under the genitals and/or the anus;
- Problems associated with passing or controlling urine;
- Problems associated with passing or controlling stools
The presence of these symptoms may require emergency admissions to hospital and scans undertaken to confirm diagnosis.
Even if you do not have all of the symptoms listed above, it is still important to seek medical help especially if, for instance, you noticed a change in existing symptoms associated with your back and/or leg pain.
If the diagnosis is confirmed, then the operation needs to take place immediately.
If there is a delay longer than 48 hours from when the symptoms have started, there is a high chance that the patient will be left with permanent damage.
The delay may have been created from various levels, whether that be the GP, A&E department or even with the orthopaedic department.
The doctor might be negligent if he/she does not warn you about red flag symptoms and/or arrange a follow up appointment for you.