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£1.1m for client left with cauda equina syndrome

Olive Lewin successfully settles further cauda equina case

Photo: istock

29 June 2011

Clinical negligence specialist and Leigh Day partner Olive Lewin has successfully settled a claim for £1.1 million on behalf of a client who has been left with cauda equina syndrome following an operation for spinal decompression at L5/S1.

What is cauda equina syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) occurs when the nerves in the spinal canal have been damaged. As a result, the nerves supplying the muscles of the legs, bladder, bowel and genitals do not function properly. Patients experience numbness, loss of sensation and pain in the legs, buttocks and pelvic region to varying degrees.  Cauda equina syndrome is considered a surgical emergency because if left untreated it can lead to permanent loss of bowel and bladder control and a reduction in mobility along with permanent pain.

Unfortunately, during surgery, a tear was made to the outer lining of our client’s spinal cord. This was recognised and an attempt was made to repair the tear. On waking, our client found that she could not pass urine, that she had saddle anaesthesia, and numbness in the back of both legs and her feet, particularly the right foot.

Despite complaining of numbness it was another three days before she had an MRI, and this was wrongly interpreted by her surgeon. Two days later our client was transferred to another hospital and review of her MRI there showed that the disc was still compressing the nerve. A further operation was undertaken, and a nerve root was found to be caught up in the stitches from the repair at the first operation. Despite an attempt to rectify the position, our client has been left with cauda equina syndrome, is in chronic pain, and unable to work.

Clinical negligence and medical accident claims specialists

Leigh Day & Co clinical negligence claims lawyers are highly experienced in brining successful claims for compensation relating to medical accidents. The team has been rated as a leader in this field for over a decade by both main legal directories with barristers rating our serious medical injury team as ‘outstanding’, and ‘exceptional’ in the Legal 500 2010

We have extensive experience in handling complex and high-value medical negligence claims and have succeeded in securing millions of pounds in compensation in areas such as child brain injury (including cerebral palsy and Erbs Palsy claims), brain injury claims, spinal injury claims (including cauda equina cases), amputation claims, surgery and cancer cases, infectious diseases, delayed cancer diagnosis, and cases for the loss of sight or hearing.  Our team includes former nurses, doctors and a radiographer, some of whom are now qualified solicitors, as well as forensic accountants.

We have received recognition as being specialists in the field of clinical negligence work with our accreditations from AvMA, CBIT, the Law Society and Headway.

For more information about a possible claim for compensation relating to cauda equina syndrome please contact Olive Lewin on 020 7650 1200.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.


Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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