Failure to Timely Diagnose Cauda Equina
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Helping People Throughout New Mexico
Although back pain is a common ailment, not all causes of back pain are innocuous, and if a doctor fails to fully assess the potential causes of a patient’s symptoms, it can have disastrous consequences. For example, what an ordinary person may believe is merely a muscle strain or sprain may be a serious issue, such as cauda equina syndrome. If a doctor disregards a patient’s symptoms and subsequently fails to diagnose a patient with cauda equina syndrome, it can cause severe and permanent damage. If you sustained harm due to a doctor’s failure to timely diagnose cauda equina syndrome, you may be able to recover compensation from the doctor. The New Mexico medical malpractice lawyers at the Branch Law Firm are well-versed in what it takes to prove liability for a delayed diagnosis in a medical malpractice case.
Harm Caused by a Failure to Timely Diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda equina, which means “horse’s tail” in Latin, is the term used for a bundle of nerves located at the base of the spine. Cauda equina syndrome occurs when the nerves become compressed, which usually happens due to inflammation, trauma, disease, stenosis, or a slipped disc. Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include impaired bowel or bladder control, numbness or weakness in the legs, pelvic area, or buttocks, and severe pain in the back, buttocks, pelvic area, and feet. If cauda equina syndrome is diagnosed promptly, treatment is often effective. If cauda equina syndrome progresses without an accurate diagnosis, however, it can cause permanent issues, such as bladder or bowel incontinence, numbness in the legs or feet, sexual dysfunction, and paralysis.
Liability for Failing to Timely Diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome
Doctors undergo extensive training that should allow them to recognize symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and enable them to provide an accurate diagnosis as early as possible. Doctors do not always provide treatment commensurate with their training, however, and patients often suffer harm as a result. Thus, if a patient sustains harm due to a doctor’s failure to timely diagnose the patient with cauda equina syndrome, it may constitute medical malpractice, and the doctor may be held liable in a civil lawsuit.
To prove liability for failing to provide a timely diagnosis, a plaintiff must show that the doctor owed the plaintiff a duty to provide medical services that met or exceeded the applicable standard of care, which is the care that a doctor practicing in the same specialty and community would provide in the same situation. The plaintiff must also show that the defendant breached the duty by failing to meet the standard of care and that the breach caused the plaintiff’s harm. For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose a plaintiff with cauda equina syndrome in a timely manner, and the plaintiff suffered paralysis as a result of the delay, the plaintiff’s attorney must show that a competent doctor would have assessed the plaintiff’s symptoms differently than the defendant doctor and provided a prompt and accurate diagnosis, thus preventing the plaintiff from suffering harm.
Contact a Knowledgeable New Mexico Attorney
Many people harmed by a doctor’s failure to provide a proper diagnosis can recover compensation from the doctor via a civil lawsuit. If you were harmed by a doctor’s failure to timely diagnose cauda equina, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to discuss which claims you may be able to pursue. The seasoned medical malpractice lawyers at the Branch Law Firm take pride in helping New Mexico residents harmed by inadequate medical care seek redress for their injuries, and we will zealously advocate in your favor. We have offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and we represent people in lawsuits throughout New Mexico, including in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Roswell, Clovis, Hobbs, Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, Alamogordo, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Carlsbad, Taos, Farmington, and Los Lunas. You can contact us at (800) 828-4529 or via our online form to schedule a confidential and free meeting.