Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a serious medical condition that occurs when the nerves that make up the cauda equina become compressed as a result of a disease or injury. This compression can damage the nerves, leading to nerve dysfunction. A failure to diagnose CES, or a delayed diagnosis of the condition that causes a delay in treatment, can have devastating impact on the patient. If not treated in a timely manner, Cauda Equina Syndrome can leave a patient with permanent numbness and tingling in the lower extremities, incontinence, sexual dysfunction and even paralysis.
The Stages of Cauda Equina Syndrome
CES progresses from a “partial” or “incomplete” stage to an “established” or “complete” stage. For the best outcome, the condition needs to be correctly diagnosed in its early partial stage so treatment can begin without delay. The earlier a patient receives treatment, the more likely they are to have a complete recovery.
When the nerves of the cauda equina first become compressed, the patient is considered to be in the partial, or incomplete, stages of cauda equina syndrome. It’s during this stage that the patient first begins to exhibit the warning symptoms of CES.
Symptoms of Partial Cauda Equina Syndrome
Changes in bladder control are one of the early warning signs of CES. While a patient may be aware of the need to pass urine or be able to decide when they void, they may also be experiencing symptoms that include difficulty or straining while voiding or urinating, increased frequency, passing small amounts of urine, retaining urine in the bladder or reduced sensation in the urethra.
In addition to bladder dysfunction, there are other symptoms associated with partial or incomplete CES:
- Sciatica – lower back pain that extends through the buttock and down the legs
- Numbness in the “saddle” area
- Reduced anal tone
- Weakness in the legs
- Foot drop
Cauda Equina Syndrome Is a Medical Emergency
If CES is diagnosed and treated during it partial stage, it’s often possible for a patient to experience a complete recovery. However, when a doctor fails to diagnose CES during its incomplete stages, the condition may progress to the complete stage. By this stage, the nerve damage may be too severe to respond to treatment and the patient may be left with permanent nerve damage.
It’s important for doctors to recognize the red flag symptoms for CES and perform the necessary tests and exams to confirm or deny a diagnosis of CES before it progresses to the complete stage. CES is an emergency medical condition that requires immediate treatment — usually surgery to relieve the pressure on the cauda equina nerves. If treatment is delayed by even 24 hours, the patient could be left with complete CES.
Get Help from a leading Fort Lauderdale Cauda Equina Syndrome Attorney
There are few attorneys who possess medical malpractice attorney Lisa Levine’s experience in pursuing claims for misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome. If your life has been negatively impacted due to a failure to diagnose CES or a delay in diagnosis that allowed the condition to advance to complete CES, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Prevailing in a medical malpractice action for Cauda Equina Syndrome can be a challenge. Defendants must first prove that a patient/doctor relationship existed, then show that an error in diagnosis or treatment occurred, that this error was responsible for your injuries, and that you experienced real damages as a result.
If you have been injured due to a medical error, contact the law offices of Lisa Levine LLC without delay to schedule a free consultation. While our offices are based in Florida, we handle Cauda Equina Syndrome malpractice cases throughout the United States.