Diagnosis Errors Of Cauda Equina Syndrome Can Result In Medical Malpractice

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare but serious condition that can permanently damage the spinal cord by causing spinal stenosis. Florida hospitals and doctors are trained to recognize this condition as a medical emergency. The condition places extreme pressure on the nerves at the end of the spinal cord where it exits the lumbar spine.

This can cause serious problems including:

  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Difficulty walking
  • Neurological and physical problems
  • Permanent paralysis

The condition requires immediate testing and surgery to prevent these problems from worsening.

When a doctor or hospital fails to recognize the signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome in the lumbar spine, this can lead to permanent and devastating damage to a patient. Florida courts allow patients damaged by this kind of medical malpractice to recover compensation against a doctor or hospital for these serious injuries.

Cauda Equina Syndrome Causes – How Does This Happen?

Cauda equina is the medical term for the nerves that exit the bottom of the lumbar spine. Cauda equina syndrome happens when these lumbar spine nerves get compressed.  This is known as spinal stenosis, which means narrowing of the space occupied by the spinal cord or nerves. This compression caused by spinal stenosis can occur for many reasons including:

  • Spinal conditions like a herniated disc or lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Inflammatory conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis
  • Infections of the spinal canal, such as a spinal epidural abscess
  • Spinal tumors
  • Spinal injuries that penetrate the lower back
  • Trauma to the lumbar spine

Diagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome – Symptoms Known By Doctors

Cauda Equina Syndrome is first diagnosed based on symptoms, which vary in intensity and can occur gradually or quickly, developing over weeks or years. A doctor may see these symptoms in his office following a surgery, or the doctors and hospital staff may treat a patient who presents with these symptoms in their emergency department.  Typical symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include one or more of the following:

  • Severe or progressive weakness or numbness in the lower extremities.
  • Loss of sensation in inner thighs, buttocks, back of legs, and/or sacral region.
  • Urinary or bowel incontinence.
  • Localized lower back pain.
  • Sharp stabbing pain in the leg.

Cauda Equina Syndrome Treatment – Stopping The Spinal Stenosis

Treatment is very effective but must started immediately, often within 8 hours of the onset of symptoms. Delayed treatment can cause the problem to get worse and even lead to permanent paralysis. Treatment consists of surgical decompression, which reduces or eliminates pressure on the nerves caused by lumbar spinal stenosis. This quick treatment is crucial to preventing further harm and complications. Even with proper treatment, recovery from Cauda Equina Syndrome is variable and patients may still experience pain, discomfort, and loss of body control. Delayed treatment decreases the effectiveness of the surgery and increases the struggles of recovery.

Protecting The Rights Of Cauda Equina Syndrome Patients

Proper and prompt diagnosis and treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome is absolutely essential for the best long-term outcome. Unfortunately, missed and incorrect diagnoses and delayed treatment can and do occur in Florida hospitals and doctor’s offices. When that happens, patients may have legal recourse by filing a malpractice lawsuit with the help of a Cauda Equina Syndrome attorney. An attorney who specializes in spinal malpractice cases can help patients obtain compensation for their injuries and damage, which can be used to cover lost wages, medical bills, long-term care and treatment, and other damages.


Contact Badgley Law Group to speak with a Central Florida lawyer who can investigate the circumstances surrounding your diagnosis and treatment. There are many ways malpractice can occur, which is why investigation by an Orlando lawyer familiar with Cauda Equina Syndrome is necessary.

To learn more about pursuing a Cauda Equina Syndrome medical malpractice case, contact our Orlando lawyer, Jeff Badgley Esq. at Badgley Law Group by calling 407-781-0420 or scheduling a free consultation online.

Call us for a Free Consultation at 407-781-0420

Facebook Twitter Linkedin