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Cauda Equina Syndrome is relatively rare. There are only about 100 new cases annually in England but it is estimated that at least 10% of these are mismanaged, mainly by the accident and emergency department or the in-patient management team.
Cauda equina syndrome can be described as either being ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’. Complete cauda equina means the nerves to the bladder are so damaged that urine is painlessly retained and overflows. Incomplete cauda equina is characterised by the need to strain to pass urine, possibly needing to use abdominal compression to assist in the process.
Other cauda equina symptoms include low back pain or leg pain. Muscle weakness and loss of foot sensation are also common. Cauda equina syndrome is still not very well known by the medical profession and many clinicians fail to diagnose it or give appropriate warnings to patients.
Anyone who has concerns about this condition can contact the Cauda Equina Syndrome Support Group. This victim-run website aims to increase awareness of cauda equina syndrome among the public and the medical community.
There is a very small window of opportunity in which to be referred to an appropriate hospital, confirm the diagnosis by MRI scan and then proceed to surgery if the debilitating effects of cauda equina syndrome are to be avoided. If negligence by medical staff at any point causes a delay in getting that treatment, you may have a case for a compensation claim.