Our Michigan medical malpractice lawyers represent clients who have suffered spinal cord injuries or nerve injuries. One less common type of spinal cord injury is cauda equina syndrome.
Cauda equina syndrome is a nerve injury that arises in the lower end of the spinal cord. "Cauda equina" is Latin for "horse's tail" and is named because the cluster of nerves at the end of the spinal cord resembles a horse's tail. The nerves roots at the end of the spinal cord provide motor and sensory function to the legs, bladder, and bowels. Most simply, cauda equina syndrome is damage to these nerve roots, which is often, but not always, associated with herniated lower lumbar discs and other lower back injuries.
Cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency. By the time symptoms develop to the point someone starts to complain, nerve damage has already occurred. Surgery is nearly always needed virtually immediately to avoid greater damage. Many times, people who suffer cauda equina have surgery and recover completely, albeit after a rehabilitation period. However, the consequences can be very severe when there is a misdiagnosis that results in this surgery being delayed. Quite often, the patient is paralyzed from the waist down.
Common symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include:
- Severe pain in lower back, buttocks, pelvic area, thighs, and legs
- Weakness in leg(s)
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Loss of sexual function
If there is any chance a person may be experiencing cauda equina syndrome, that person should seek medical attention immediately. Because the risk of paralysis is significant, it is important that the patient disclose all symptoms and complaints to the doctor.
Sometimes, however, even when a patient fully discloses all symptoms, doctors and hospitals fail to diagnose cauda equina or they fail to order necessary tests. Because a delay in the treatment of this condition can cause permanent and irreversible damage, a patient with this condtion may have a medical malpractice case for the failure to timely diagnose and terat the condition.
If you would like more information about your rights in a medical malpractice case, you can order our FREE book "The Ultimate Michigan Medical Malpractice Handbook" by clicking on the book title. We will send it out immediately along with other important information.
Do I have a Michigan cauda equina case?