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Delay in carrying out MRI scan of man with Cauda Equina Syndrome

Posted in News on Friday, May 17th, 2019

Karen Kearney of the Medical Negligence Department in Cantillons Solicitors settled a case for substantial damages for a man who was left with significant physical injuries as a result of medical negligence.


Our client had previously suffered from degenerative disc disease in his back which had been treated successfully, conservatively (without surgery).   He then began to develop low back pain which became excruciating over a 2 day period, where he ended up having difficulty urinating and numbness to his penis and rectum. 


He attended at the Accident & Emergency Department of a HSE run major teaching hospital.  He attended in the early hours on a Monday when there was no access to MRI scanning at that time. One of the doctors who examined our client at that time, noted that he was not currently suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome.  In fact, it transpires that he was and an MRI scan would have revealed that to be the case and, indeed, it did so when the MRI scan was eventually carried out some 11 hours later.   


Cauda Equina Syndrome is a medical emergency that calls for immediate surgical intervention.   If patients with Cauda Equina Syndrome do not receive treatment quickly, adverse results can include paralysis, impaired bladder and/or bowel control difficulty walking and/or other neurological and physical problems.   Unfortunately, this is what occurred in our client’s case.


Indeed, unbelievably, even after the MRI was carried out, which revealed the Cauda Equina Syndrome, it took a further 7 hours for the appropriate surgery to be carried out.  


When our client instructed Cantillons to investigate this matter for him, we instructed the appropriate experts who confirmed that there was negligence in the care afforded to him and that this negligence caused him injury. 


Causation in Cauda Equina Syndrome cases can be notoriously difficult to prove.


Initially, the Solicitors for the hospital filed a full Defence, denying liability and causation. We subsequently extracted some admissions relating to liability out of them.


The case settled out of court for substantial damages. Our client commented at the time that whilst he would have far preferred for the adverse event not to have occurred in the first instance, he was delighted with the settlement Cantillons achieved for him.

Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or if you would like more information.

* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.

Related Solicitors

Ernest J. Cantillon

Managing Partner

Karen Kearney


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