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Cauda Equina Syndrome Caused by Medical Malpractice

Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a rare but serious health condition that can result from a failure to diagnose and treat the signs of a cauda equina injury. If you or your loved one has cauda equina syndrome caused by medical malpractice, a liable party may owe you compensation.

Read on to learn more about CES and how a medical malpractice lawyer with our law firm can help you seek compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.

What Is Cauda Equina Syndrome?

The cauda equina is a collection of nerves at the base of your spinal cord. Cauda equina syndrome occurs when this horse-tail-shaped bundle of nerves becomes compressed, cutting off movement and sensation in the pelvic organs and lower limbs. If not treated immediately, CES can cause permanent paralysis, loss of bladder and bowel control, and sexual health problems.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), the most common cause of cauda equina syndrome is a massive herniated disc in the lumbar region of the spine. Other potential causes of CES include the following:

  • Birth abnormalities
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Lumbar spine surgery complications
  • Spinal arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
  • Spinal hemorrhages (subarachnoid, subdural, epidural)
  • Spinal lesions and tumors
  • Spinal infections or inflammation
  • Spinal anesthesia
  • Violent injuries to the lower back

Signs and Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome is vital to obtaining swift medical treatment, which could prevent severe and life-altering side effects. You should seek emergency medical care immediately if you have any of the following “red flag” symptoms, especially if you recently suffered a back injury:

  • Numbness in the “saddle” area (i.e., your butt, legs, hips, and inner thighs)
  • Pain in the legs or back
  • Weakness or paralysis in the lower extremities
  • Urinary retention (inability to release urine)
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence (inability to hold urine or bowel movements)
  • Sexual dysfunction

Most individuals with cauda equina syndrome will need surgery within 24 hours of diagnosis to relieve nerve compression. Failure to receive prompt treatment could result in permanent CES symptoms.

How is Cauda Equina Syndrome Caused by Medical Malpractice?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, cauda equina syndrome affects only one in 65,000 people. Because the condition is rare, it can be easily overlooked or misdiagnosed by doctors, resulting in a failure to treat it.

If you or a loved one suffers from CES, your health problems may be the result of medical malpractice if negligence caused a failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, or misdiagnosis resulting in a lack of treatment. Examples of medical negligence that could cause cauda equina syndrome include the following:

  • Failure to take a complete health history
  • Failure to perform a thorough physical examination
  • Failure to conduct a rectal examination
  • Failure to order CT scans, MRIs, or other diagnostic imaging
  • Failure to recognize signs and symptoms of CES
  • Failure to recognize underlying conditions that can cause CES, such as a herniated disc or recent back injury
  • Failure to communicate test results or a diagnosis to patients
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia errors

Cauda Equina Medical Malpractice Compensation

Cauda equina syndrome can result in permanent paralysis if not treated quickly. Sufferers may experience life-long bowel, bladder, and sexual health problems, and loss of movement and sensation. In addition to physical symptoms, CES can take an incredible mental and emotional toll on those dealing with the effects of the condition.

If your condition resulted from negligent medical treatment or a medical error, you deserve compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. A personal injury lawyer with our firm can help you seek compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses. Medical damages may include ambulance transportation, emergency treatment, diagnostic testing, surgeries, hospital stays, doctor’s fees, medications, physical therapy and rehabilitation, medical equipment, and nursing.
  • Lost income. You can recover back pay, tips, bonuses, and employment benefits lost due to your injury. If paralysis and other CES side effects prevent you from doing your previous job or working in any capacity, you can seek compensation for your lost earning potential.
  • Pain and suffering, along with other emotional damages. These awards compensate for intangible losses. You may qualify for monetary damages for physical pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, mental distress, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment, and reduced quality of life.

Proving Cauda Equina Resulted from a Medical Error

Not all cases of cauda equina syndrome involve malpractice. Sometimes, patients can experience a negative outcome, even when doctors and health care providers do everything right.

To win a medical malpractice claim, you must prove that your physician made a preventable mistake that caused your CES. Doing so requires establishing the following four elements of medical negligence:

  1. Professional duty of care. A professional duty of care exists between doctors and their patients. When treating you, your physician has a legal obligation to act according to the accepted standards of the medical field.
  2. Breach of duty. A health care provider breaches the duty of care when they treat patients in a manner most others in their profession would not find reasonable. A breach of duty can also be a failure to act when necessary.
  3. Causation. You must demonstrate that a health care provider’s breach of duty was a direct cause of your cauda equina syndrome. For example, you may build a case proving that your doctor did not order an MRI when most others would, and this lack of testing led to an undiagnosed massive hernia that caused your CES.
  4. Damages. You must prove that your medical malpractice injury resulted in economic damages and pain and suffering.

Evidence in a Medical Malpractice Case

You must prove your claim with evidence. We can use the following to support your case:

  • Medical records
  • Medical and scientific research
  • Doctor’s treatment notes
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Official incident reports
  • Previous medical malpractice complaints lodged against the health care provider or hospital
  • Testimony from medical experts
  • Receipts, bills, pay stubs, invoices, and other proof of your financial damages
  • Testimony from friends, family, and coworkers regarding your pain and suffering

Liability for Medical Malpractice

Cauda equina syndrome caused by medical malpractice can result from a doctor’s error, but it can also be the fault of another healthcare provider or a medical facility. Potentially liable parties may include the following:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Emergency room personnel
  • Hospitals, surgical centers, emergency clinics, and other healthcare facilities
  • Lab technicians
  • Radiologist
  • Anesthesiologists

In addition, if the underlying cause of your CES was a traumatic injury, you may have grounds for a personal injury case against the person who caused the accident that initially harmed you. Our law firm assists with the following:

How to Pursue a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Florida

Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Florida is complex. It begins by serving the negligent health care provider with a notice of intent to sue. This notice must include an affidavit of merit from a medical expert stating they believe you have a valid claim. Serving notice begins a 90-day presuit process, during which you can attempt to negotiate a settlement outside of court.

Do not wait too long to get started. Generally, you have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, according to Florida Statutes § 95.11 (4)(c). However, the specific limitations period will depend on the facts of your case. If you do not take legal action before the statute of limitations expires, the court will likely refuse your case. Acting quickly also allows you to collect and preserve evidence before it gets lost and interview witnesses before their memories fade.

Should You Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer for your Cauda Equina Injury Case?

Florida’s medical malpractice laws are complicated, and a lot can go wrong in a medical malpractice case. Though not legally required, it greatly benefits you to work with a lawyer with experience in this area.

Our team’s trial-tested malpractice attorneys can do the following to put together your case:

  • Collect medical records, communications, and other evidence
  • Hire and consult with nurses, doctors, and medical experts
  • Establish that your provider breached the duty of care
  • Demonstrate that your injuries and losses resulted from a medical error
  • Identify and calculate your damages
  • Prepare and file insurance and legal paperwork
  • Handle case-related phone calls, emails, and meetings
  • Protect you from bad-faith insurance tactics or pressure to settle for less than you deserve
  • Aggressively negotiate for the maximum compensation possible
  • Prepare your case for civil court and represent you during a trial if necessary

We know how challenging it can be to deal with a medical malpractice case, especially when you are suffering from such a painful and stressful injury. The last thing you need is a law firm that treats you like a paycheck. Our law firm has fought for victims of medical negligence for more than 45 years, and we’re ready to give you the dedicated and compassionate legal care you deserve.

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Together We WILL WIN

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Call Freidin Brown, P.A. for a Free Medical Malpractice Consultation

If you or your loved one suffers from cauda equina syndrome caused by medical malpractice, Freidin Brown, P.A. can fight for the justice you deserve. Our team has more than 100 years of combined legal experience. Our case results include more than 20 verdicts exceeding $1 million.

Contact us today at 888-677-7764 to schedule a risk-free, no-cost consultation with a Florida medical malpractice lawyer near you. We work on contingency, so our services cost nothing upfront or out of pocket. We only get paid if and when we obtain compensation.

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