£550k for Cauda Equina syndrome from delayed diagnosis

Cauda Equina relates to nerves which a found at the base of the spinal cord. If those nerves become compressed this is known as Cauda Equina Syndrome. Cauda Equina Syndrome can result in different levels of disability.

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Case details

Where the cauda equina nerves are compressed it's important that treatment takes within 48 hours and any delay in that treatment can cause permanent damage.

In this case the claimant was aged 50 and started to suffer with leg pain. There was some numbness in his left calf down through his foot and the claimant was having difficulty urinating. As a result the claimant sought medical attention and was admitted to hospital. Tests were undertaken which failed to properly diagnose the problem and therefore the claimant received no treatment. The symptoms continued with the claimant's condition deteriorating and ultimately surgery was performed to decompress the Cauda Equina nerve but unfortunately the delay in diagnosis was found to have caused permanent damage in the form of Cauda Equina Syndrome.

The cauda equina syndrome affected the claimant in a number of ways from incontinence to reduced sexual function which ultimately left the claimant unable to work.

Inevitably the problems that were suffered by the claimant impacted on his social life with the claimant unwilling to go out socially with friends as a result of the incontinence problems.


The defendants admitted negligence but said that the negligence did not cause the problems experienced by the claimant.

The solicitors acting for the claimant however were able to negotiate an out of Court settlement with the defendant on the basis that liability was not proved. This can often be the case.

The terms of settlement awarded £100,000.00 to the claimant for pain, suffering and loss of amenity with a further £450,000.00 awarded for special damages including loss of wages.

Read more: clinical negligence compensation claims

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher