Serious Complications From Cauda Equina Syndrome
Medical malpractice is always a difficult situation where negligence can cause serious issues for those affected but medical malpractice when cauda equina syndrome is involved, can lead to drastic life altering complications. These complications can proceed to significantly reduce a victim’s quality of life. One can expect extensive medical bills, long-term treatments and therapy, as well as the general pain and suffering that comes with a debilitating condition.
If you have experienced complications of cauda equina syndrome, then you should contact Dolman Law Group about receiving a consultation on what kind of legal options you may have to seek compensation for your injuries.
What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda equina syndrome is a rare condition where the bundle of nerves near the base of the spine called the cauda equina or “horse’s tail” that transmit information from everything waist down to the brain, become compressed. This condition typically requires emergency treatment to correct before irreparable nerve damage leads to incontinence or total paralysis of the legs.
Causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome
The most typical causes of cauda equina syndrome are some kind of injury or surgery. More specifically, the causes of cauda equina syndrome can include:
- Herniation of the lumbar intervertebral discs
- Growths like tumors or cancer near the lower spinal cord
- Spinal anesthesia
- Localized bleeding and hematomas
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Violent injuries to the lower back (gunshots, falls, auto accidents)
- Birth abnormalities
- Spinal arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
- Localized infection and inflammation near the spinal cord
- Spinal hemorrhages (subarachnoid, subdural, epidural)
- Postoperative lumbar spine surgery complications
Essentially anything that puts enough damaging pressure on the lower spine to injure the nerves at the base of the spine that make up the cauda equina. In addition, many of these causes are treated with surgery and other techniques that can result in complications caused by negligent medical malpractice.
Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome symptoms can often be mistaken for other similar conditions that affect the legs and abdomen like peripheral nerve disorder, conus medullaris syndrome, spinal cord compression, and lumbosacral plexopathy. Symptoms can also have a slow onset that may not seem immediately concerning at first which can lead to those at risk to forego examination, diagnosis, and treatment. Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome can include the following.
- Severe low back pain
- Motor weakness, sensory loss, or pain in one, or more commonly both legs
- Saddle anesthesia (unable to feel anything in the body areas that sit on a saddle)
- Recent onset of bladder dysfunction (such as urinary retention or incontinence)
- Recent onset of bowel incontinence
- Sensory abnormalities in the bladder or rectum
- Recent onset of sexual dysfunction
- A loss of reflexes in the extremities
Diagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome
In order to diagnose cauda equina syndrome, your doctor will have to check through your medical history to determine whether any past health issues or treatments could have contributed to a case of cauda equina syndrome. Then your doctor will have to perform the usual physical examination that evaluates whether your reflexes, sensation, and strength may be affected by something like cauda equina syndrome.
One of the most important parts of diagnosing cauda equina syndrome is having extensive imaging done of the lower spine.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI scans – This type of scan uses magnetic fields and computers to produce three-dimensional images of your spine.
- Myelograms – contrast material is injected into the spinal canal and then x-rayed to pinpoint pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
- CT scans – several x-rays are taken from different perspectives to be built into a 3D map of the lower spine on a computer.
Treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome will typically require immediate emergency treatment. Failure to receive treatment or delayed treatment can result in life altering complications such as incontinency, nerve damage, and even permanent paralysis in the legs. Treatment of cauda equina syndrome consists of emergency surgery to alleviate the pressure being placed on the nerve bundle at the base of the spine and then remove or repair whatever is causing the pressure.
Living With Cauda Equina Syndrome
As one would expect, living with the complications caused by cauda equina syndrome can be incredibly difficult. Someone that has suffered complications that have caused nerve damage, incontinence, and paralysis to various extents of intensity, can expect to require recurring treatment and therapy.
Proving a Cauda Equina Syndrome Claim
Cauda equina syndrome can be diagnosed and treated efficiently and in a timely fashion if a medical professional does their job the way they are supposed to. Yet, there are still new cases of people suffering from this condition’s complications because a doctor was negligent in their duties to a patient.
Your situation can be considered a case of medical malpractice if your doctor did not provide the expected standard of care by failing to perform the expected tests and examinations that would typically catch a condition like this. An MRI or similar test has been shown to clearly show a problem with the cauda equina and in combination with the aforementioned symptoms should result in a conclusive diagnosis.
Sometimes cauda equina syndrome can be the result of surgical malpractice where a healthcare provider does not take the proper precautions or follow the correct procedure, leading to complications that can lead to this condition and its debilitating symptoms.
Seek an Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you or a loved one have had cauda equina syndrome and believe negligence on a healthcare provider’s part contributed to its development, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group about receiving a free consultation on your claim.
We serve all of Florida with emphasis on locations such as : Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, Sarasota, Miami, Doral, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton. No matter where, our lawyers will sit down with you to discuss your options for getting you the compensation that you deserve.
Contact us at Dolman Law Group’s offices. Please call us at 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765