Failure to investigate symptoms

We were instructed by our client Ms H to investigate a claim against her GP practice for failing to recognise/act upon symptoms that were thought to be red flags of cauda equina.

Following spinal surgery, Ms H, was left with a foot drop and a degree of urinary incontinence. After extensive investigation, we put forward a claim that the GP should have made a same day referral to orthopaedics when Ms H presented with bilateral neurological leg symptoms and symptoms of bladder dysfunction.

The neurosurgeon’s evidence was that same day referral would have led to an MRI and surgery being performed several days before it was actually performed, and before the foot drop started. On the clients own evidence, the urinary problems had started some days before she reported symptoms and the expert was not able to say that the delay had made any difference to those problems.

The only injury that could be linked to the delay was the foot drop, however, the expert on the case was clear that most of the client’s pain and suffering and ongoing difficulties were unrelated to the negligence.

Ms H was awarded financial damages following settlement negotiations.