What is a misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor or other health care professional advises that a patient has an illness or condition but it later transpires such diagnosis was incorrect. Therefore a misdiagnosis may also describe a situation whereby there has been a lack or delay of a diagnosis leading to no treatment, incorrect treatment or delayed treatment.
Cauda equina syndrome is rare which unfortunately means there is a general lack of awareness and understanding of the condition and the red flag signs and symptoms. When cauda equina syndrome is misdiagnosed, it can result in very severe and far reaching physical, mental and financial consequences for a patient.
Cauda equina syndrome can be misdiagnosed by a range of health care professionals including GPs, doctors and/or nurses at walk-in or out-of-hours centers and even doctors in A&E or hospital.
How can cauda equina syndrome be misdiagnosed?
The red flag signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include saddle anesthesia, bladder disturbance, bowel disturbance, sexual problems and nerve root pain. Healthcare professionals should be aware that such red flag signs and symptoms are suggestive of a potential diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome which warrants further investigation. However, sometimes a healthcare professional can miss or fail to recognise the signs and symptoms which can then lead to a misdiagnosis.
A doctor should conduct certain physical tests and examinations if a patient presents with any of the above red flag signs and symptoms. This should include a MRI scan of the spine.
A misdiagnosis can also occur when a medical professional has failed to take a detailed medical history from a patient including details of when symptoms began and how they have progressed since their initial onset. This would include discussing things such as any changes in function and the development of new or unusual symptoms.
Common misdiagnoses of cauda equina syndrome include:
Can I make a medical negligence claim if I have been misdiagnosed?
If you have attended upon a health care professional displaying symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and was misdiagnosed, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim for financial compensation.
Our specialist team can offer advice on a no-obligation basis. After having an initial consultation with you, our team will assess whether you may have a potential medical negligence claim.
If you then decide that you would like to proceed with a claim we have a range of funding options available including a No-Win, No-Fee Agreement supported, if appropriate, by legal expenses insurance.
Do not delay – contact us now to see if you have a potential medical negligence claim.
Lauren Hebdon is a specialist medical negligence solicitor at Bridge McFarland LLP, dealing with cases relating to the delayed diagnosis or treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome on a daily basis.