22 December 2017

Kate Rushton, Solicitor in the clinical negligence and serious injury department recently settled a case for a client whose life has been changed irrevocably by failures of A+E staff to spot a potentially emergency condition and provide appropriate warning advice.

The matter involves a delay in treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome. The client experienced a sharp onset of severe back pain, an ambulance was called and he was taken to the Defendant hospital.

The client was examined by a doctor who considered Cauda Equina as a potential diagnosis but dismissed it. The doctor failed to enquire about the client’s urinary function and failed to provide the client with ‘red flag’ advice to return if he developed certain symptoms. Had this been provided the client would have informed the doctor that he was already experiencing some urinary dysfunction and he would have been admitted to hospital for further investigation.

As it was the client was discharged home whilst still in an excruciating level of pain. The client remained at home for the next 9 days where he was unable to move from lying face down across his bed. He needed to be assisted to the toilet by his wife and could only manage to eat soup through a straw due to the positioning he needed to keep across the bed to ease his pain. His symptoms persisted and worsened until he developed full faecal and urinary incontinence and he returned to A+E on 29/12/2011.

On this attendance the client was diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome and referred to the local Neurosurgical Unit. An MRI scan was taken on 29/12/2011 and spinal decompression surgery was undertaken for Cauda Equina syndrome on 30/12/2011.

As a result of the Defendant’s delay in treatment of Cauda Equina syndrome the Claimant has been left with severe and permanent symptoms. The Claimant experiences constant, severe pain, has reduced mobility, is incontinent of both faeces and urine and has lost all sexual function.

Not only has the client been left with disabilities he will have to manage for the rest of his life, the Defendant Trust also refused to admit liability initially and have dragged the process on for almost 7 years, settling just before trial.

Thankfully the client has now finally been compensated for his injuries and is able to begin moving forward with his life.

The Medical and Serious Injury Team at Curtis Law are committed to promoting Patient Safety. The team only acts for Claimants and is dedicated to providing a client care centred high level of service, providing the best possible advice and maximising damages. The department acts on a large number of fatal (including representation at Inquests) and high value cases. The department regularly advises on cases with valuation exceeding £1,000,000.00. We can be contacted on 01254 297130 or MedNeg@curtislaw.co.uk.