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Posted on 22nd May 2017

Cauda Equina Misdiagnosed at St Mary’s Hospital

A 39 year old man had seen his GP and been to hospital on several occasions with early signs of Cauda Equina. In absolute agony he later visited the A&E department of St Mary’s Hospital in the Isle of Wight.

Two doctors at the hospital discussed the symptoms that the man presented with and decided that they would not perform an MRI scan, instead they sent him home. The MRI scan would certainly have shown the condition Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Cauda Equina Syndrome occurs when the nerves at the base of the spine become damaged because of a prolapse disc. These nerves control the signals to and from your legs, feet and pelvic organs. The nerves at the base of a spine resemble a horse’s tail which is why they have the name Cauda Equina (Latin for horse’s tail).

Three days after his visit to A&E, the man went back to St Mary’s Hospital after losing feeling in his legs. He underwent an urgent MRI scan following which he was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital to undergo emergency surgery.

The surgery to deal with a prolapsed disc in his lower spine that was causing significant nerve damage was performed too late. The man now has permanent severe back pain, numbness in his groin and lower legs, bladder and bowel dysfunction, foot drop on both sides and muscle spasms.

The man was a carer for his wife who had fibromyalgia but now she has to be the carer for him.

Mr Eddie Jones, a solicitor from the Manchester law firm JMW who is representing the man in his claim for compensation said “it was a catastrophic error and he and his family will have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.”


Cauda Equina Syndrome must be diagnosed early enough to avoid any long term catastrophic complications. It is a condition that can be stopped with early medical intervention.

Cauda Equina Syndrome is quite a rare condition but in compensation claims, accounts for a large number of claims. Because of the severity of the complications arising from the condition, the value of a Cauda Equina Syndrome compensation claims can be quite high.

If you think that you have had a condition misdiagnosed which has gone on to cause you further injury, contact us on 0330 355 9210 or for a free claim assessment.