Geldards Successful in Recovering Damages in Cauda Equina case

Our Geldards Head of Clinical Negligence, Spencer Collier and Associate Amy-Beth Probert recently concluded a multi-track clinical negligence claim on behalf of DJ against Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in the sum of £350,000 plus costs. The case related to lumbar spinal surgery at the L4/L5 junction in July 2016.

The Claimant had been admitted for surgery for a micro-discectomy. The indication for the surgery was to attempt to correct her multiple disc protrusions and alleviate her back and left leg pain. At the time of surgery, despite pain in her lumbar spine and legs, she had full control over bowel and bladder and sexual function.

The operation appeared initially to go well. However, post-operatively, she complained to the surgeons about a feeling of loss of sensation between her legs and vagina and on the evening of 4 July 2016. This continued into the following day. It was alleged that there was a delay in responding to these significant red flag symptoms. The symptoms were the onset of a developing cauda equina syndrome, a condition where the nerves that control important bowel bladder and sexual function in that region were being compressed. The condition is a neurosurgical emergency and decompression surgery needs to be undertaken without delay.

She did not actually undergo the surgery until 7 July 2016. Unfortunately, by that time she was left with persistent residual bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction, leg numbness and foot drop which on the Claimant’s case would probably have been avoided with earlier intervention.

Following the issue of proceedings and service of the defence, the Defendant accepted a breach of duty in failing to decompress the lumbar spine when the signs and symptoms of an emerging cauda equina syndrome were apparent. They disputed however, the extent of the ongoing problems arguing that some may indeed have been suffered in any event but did partially admit to some aspects of causation to indicate that there would have been some degree of improvement with an earlier decompressive surgery.

The parties worked through numerous Court ordered directions and the matter was listed for Trial in January 2023. Following service of an updated Schedule of Loss and the Defendants Counter-Schedule, the parties convened a round table settlement meeting in early September 2022. Following lengthy negotiations and discussions, the claim was successfully concluded in the sum of £350,000 plus costs.

Our client was delighted with the settlement and said:

“I just wanted to thank you for all your help and advice, and I really appreciate the work that has gone into my claim. You were always there for me when I was panicking or concerned and most importantly you have helped my life to be substantially better. I sincerely thank you”.

Geldards are experts in claims for the delayed diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome and have concluded many successful cases in this area, recovering millions of pounds in damages in the process.

If you have been affected by these issues, please contact Linda Williams on 02920 391773 or

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