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Posted on 6th November 2017

Teacher Left Unable To Work Following Operation

A teacher in Cirencester is looking to claim compensation after she was left with Cauda Equina following a botched operation.

In 2012, the woman went to hospital for surgery for a condition called spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the space in the spine in which the nerves run. Two years after the initial surgery, her symptoms returned so she had further surgery for a spinal decompression.

Following the surgery the teacher experienced numbness and severe pain so had to have emergency surgery later that same day. It was found that the patient had a large haematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood). The haematoma was removed.

A few days after the emergency surgery was performed the woman complained of reduced sensation in her feet and legs and when she stood up she said the feeling was like cotton wool.

Three days after the emergency operation the woman was transferred to Gloucester Royal Hospital for an urgent MRI scan. The scan showed a very large haematoma. The woman was then transferred to Southmead Hospital in Bristol for the haematoma to be removed.

The compensation claim centres on the first hospital failing to remove a webbing designed to promote blood clotting and failure to refer her for an urgent same day MRI scan.

Her claim gives the opinion that if she had a detailed neurological examination, she would have been urgently referred for a same day MRI scan following which emergency surgery would have been performed.

Cauda equina is a medical condition which affects the nerves at the bottom of a spine. The nerves look like a horse’s tail hence the Latin name cauda equina. These nerves control the function of legs, feet and pelvic organs such as the bladder and bowel.

The causes of cauda equina include a ruptured disk in the lower spine, spinal stenosis, a tumour or lesion and an infection in the spine.


Cauda equina syndrome is a rare but life changing medical condition and if left untreated will cause significant complications and the patient may become wheelchair bound and incontinent.

Medical staff are familiar with the condition because of the problems it can cause but surprisingly it is commonly misdiagnosed.

If you have suffered complications following a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of cauda equina, you may be able to make a compensation claim. Contact us on 0330 355 9210 or for a free claim assessment.