Cauda equina syndrome is a severe condition that requires immediate surgical intervention. Timely diagnosing cauda equina syndrome is crucial. Failure to get a patient into surgery could lead to permanent damage, such as paralysis and incontinence.
If your doctor misdiagnosed you and that resulted in further injury, you could have the right to bring a claim for damages.
Speak with a New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer at Poulos & Coates, LLP to learn more about pursuing a lawsuit.
What Is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
The term cauda equina refers to the collection of nerves at the base of your spine. When those nerves become compressed, it can result in cauda equina syndrome.
Compression often occurs due to trauma, stenosis, a slipped disc, inflammation, disease, etc. Cauda equina can also be caused as a result of surgical error.
Symptoms often include:
- Impaired bladder or bowel control;
- Severe pain in your back, feet, buttocks, and pelvic area; and
- Weakness or numbness in your legs, buttocks, or pelvic area.
Doctors undergo training to diagnose conditions like cauda equina properly. When quickly diagnosed, treatment can relieve the nerve compression. But a failure to timely diagnose can result in irreversible damage.
How Misdiagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome Happens
When a medical professional fails to take the proper steps for diagnosing cauda equina syndrome, they can be held negligent. When a patient presents in the emergency room or a doctor’s office with symptoms of spinal cord compression or neurological impairment, the doctor could be held liable for malpractice if they do not properly diagnose it.
Some actions or inactions that can lead to a malpractice case include:
- Not taking a patient’s entire history;
- Not ordering the appropriate studies;
- Misreading a patient’s test results;
- Not asking pointed questions about whether you have bladder control issues, numbness, or other lower extremity issues; and
- Not initiating quick surgical intervention to relieve the compression.
If you sustained injuries or permanent damage due to a doctor’s action or inaction, you need to speak with a New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer right away.
Proving a Medical Malpractice Claim for Misdiagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome
Before collecting compensation for a medical malpractice claim, you must prove the doctor or other medical professional was negligent. Proving negligence starts with showing the doctor owed you a duty of care.
Doctors owe their patients a duty to use the same standard of care as other similarly situated physicians.
Next, you need to show that the doctor breached their duty of care. Failing to diagnose or misdiagnose is one way medical professionals’ actions can fall below the accepted standard of care.
If a reasonable doctor in the same circumstances would have properly diagnosed the condition, then your doctor may have breached their duty.
You need to show causation once you have proven duty and breach of duty. Causation refers to establishing that the doctor’s action or inaction led to your injuries. Misdiagnosis is not enough; you must show that you suffered injuries as a result.
The final element in a medical malpractice claim is damages. You must present proof of losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, disability, etc. Without any verifiable damages, you would still not have a valid case.
Contact a New Mexico Malpractice Lawyer
If you believe your physician failed to timely diagnose cauda equina syndrome, you need to speak with an experienced New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. At Poulos & Coates, LLP, we have over 70 years of combined experience handling personal injury matters, including misdiagnosing cauda equina syndrome.
We are the only firm in New Mexico that focuses exclusively on medical malpractice issues and will fight for the compensation owed to you.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you.