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Cauda equina syndrome is a neurological emergency that usually presents with acute low back pain, sciatica in one or both legs, and may suddenly or progressively cause numbness or paresthesia in the perianal area. The patient will often experience a loss of bowel and/or bladder function, weakness in one or both legs, and, perhaps, other motor or sensory deficits. If a patient experiences these symptoms, he or she should present immediately to a hospital emergency department.
If you or someone you love suffered cauda equina syndrome, and you believe medical malpractice may have played a role, reach out to The Haynes Firm to discuss your potential case with one of our experienced Johnson City medical malpractice lawyers. We offer free initial consultations, and there are no fees unless/until we recover compensation on your behalf.
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Diagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome
Differentiating between routine back pain and back pain with associated neurological complications is critical because cauda equina must be surgically treated within a short window of opportunity before permanent deficits are likely to occur. The syndrome known as cauda equina is caused by a disc herniation, blood, or other lesion that compresses the nerves that serve the lower extremities, bowel, and bladder.
Cauda equina is usually diagnosed using MRI imaging. Medical professionals must be keenly aware of the signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome so that MRI imaging can be ordered, the diagnosis made, and possible emergency decompression surgery performed. If the compression on the nerves is not released, permanent deficits are likely to occur.
These deficits can include but are not limited to:
- Permanent nerve damage in the legs
- Foot drop
- Permanent bowel and/or bladder dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
- Chronic pain
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Physician offices and especially hospital emergency departments must be staffed with persons trained to understand the significance of cauda equina symptoms. Failure to treat cauda equina syndrome as a possible emergency may result in the patient being treated for ordinary back pain, given pain medication or a shot, and sent home. The consequences of this negligence can be devastating for the patient and their families.
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The Johnson City cauda equina syndrome attorneys at The Haynes Firm have experience in handling cases involving the failure to timely diagnose cauda equina syndrome. If you believe you or a loved one has been injured as a result of radiological error, contact our attorneys today for a free consultation.
Mr. Haynes, Sr. has been recognized by his peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America® and was selected for inclusion in the Mid-South Super Lawyers® list in the areas of Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury. Additionally, Mr. Haynes, Jr. has been selected for inclusion in the Mid-South Super Lawyers® Rising Stars® list in Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury.