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Home » Latest News » Spinal Surgery Shortcomings in the Spotlight

Spinal Surgery Shortcomings in the Spotlight

Spinal Surgery Shortcomings in the Spotlight

Experts suggest up to 100 new cases of Cauda Equina Syndrome occur each year in the UK, and whilst rare this condition can be completely debilitating.

A recent Times article suggested that "for every £3 spent on spinal surgery in the NHS, the health service pays out £1 on litigation", this does not paint a pleasant picture of the current state of spinal surgery in the UK. One of the main issues reported on is that lessons are not being learnt from previous errors and claims despite medical staff being aware that claims frequently involve interpretation of scans or results leading to unsatisfactory surgical outcomes.

Worryingly almost a quarter of claims relate to one condition, Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a medical emergency and unless prompt treatment is sought it may result in the patient suffering permanent damage. If someone has Cauda Equina Syndrome it is vital that diagnosis and appropriate treatment is provided as swiftly as possible in order to reduce the risk of permanent debilitating injury. Experts suggest up to 100 new cases of Cauda Equina Syndrome occur each year in the UK, and whilst rare this condition can be completely debilitating. At Bridge McFarland we are specialists in this incredibly complicated medical condition and support the only Cauda Equina Syndrome charity in the UK: www.caudaequinauk.org.uk

In a bid to improve, it is suggested that Hospital Trusts are to be made aware of how their litigation costs fare when compared against national averages, the report is also recommending an improvement in the information patients are given prior to surgeries.

Senior Solicitor Nicola Evans states "there is very little information out there to indicate what errors are being made and why, it’s incredibly worrying. The NHS clearly know there is a problem to address and we welcome any proposals they make which may set about a change in the way spinal emergencies are being dealt with”.

“Cauda Equina Syndrome is a condition that, if not treated with urgency, can cause lifelong disability to its sufferers. The costs recovered for those unfortunate people who were let down by medical professionals are generally very high and that is because the condition often requires lifelong provision of care and support. Aside from litigation the cost of NHS errors is in the lifelong medical care that those patients affected then require, through no fault of their own.

At Bridge McFarland we represent many people with Cauda Equina Syndrome in the UK who are seeking answers; the frustration for those clients is that despite everything they have been through it is likely that others will have the same outcome due to a lack of training and awareness within the health service.