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Cauda Equina Misdiagnosis
Bladder Symptoms Ignored by Medical Practitioners

Bladder Symptoms Ignored by Medical Practitioners

Olivia's bladder and back problems were repeatedly misdiagnosed. By the time she finally underwent surgery, her cauda equina syndrome was fully established.

With pain in her lower back and down her right leg, alongside dribbling bladder problems, Olivia attended the health centre. She was given a diagnosis of a urinary tract infection and sent home with antibiotics.

However, Olivia continued to worry about her symptoms and rang NHS 111 two days later explaining her symptoms again. She was advised to see her GP which she managed to arrange for later that day. Once again, Olivia described her symptoms and, once again, she was given antibiotics for a urinary tract infection and was told that she was suffering from lumbago with sciatica.

With no improvement, Olivia returned to the health centre five days later and described her symptoms to a doctor. A urine test was carried out but no change in diagnosis was made and no referral.

Sadly, Olivia's urinary symptoms continued to deteriorate and, a couple of weeks later, she woke up one morning to find that she had lost sensation in both buttocks, through the saddle area and in the tops of both legs. She rang NHS 111 and the doctor she spoke to rightly arranged for an ambulance to take her to hospital. Surprisingly, despite her new symptoms, Olivia was again diagnosed with sciatica and a urinary tract infection and sent home. There was no mention of needing an MRI scan.

Returning to her GP, Olivia explained that she was now also suffering with bowel problems and had not opened her bowels for four days. Her GP finally arranged an MRI scan but unfortunately this was to be a routine appointment rather than an emergency.

Alteration in bladder and bowel sensation is a red flag symptom of cauda equina syndrome when combined with lower back pain. Olivia may have needed an emergency MRI scan and emergency surgery but this was not suggested.

Olivia returned to Accident and Emergency yet again with her red flag symptoms but was sent home to await her MRI scan.

Three days later, attending a fracture clinic for her MRI scan, Olivia was finally seen by a medical professional who recognised the severity of her symptoms and understood the urgency with which she needed treatment.

Consequently, it was arranged for Olivia to undergo an MRI scan that same day which showed compression in the lower spine. She was admitted to hospital and finally received the surgery she needed the following day.

Unfortunately, the surgery was too late to resolve the symptoms Olivia was suffering. She continues to struggle with urinary incontinence as well as severe bowel problems. She is also restricted in her movement and mobility.

Consequently her ability to work as well as to function independently is limited.

Glynns supported Olivia in pursuing a claim for compensation following her substandard medical care and she was awarded in excess of £150,000.

(Details which might identify our client have been changed.)

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