Lower back pain is a commonly presenting symptom. Millions of Americans suffer from some degree of pain in this area, and treatment and diagnosis of these conditions is a common medical specialty, but it can take months for a patient to get into the right doctor. Diagnostic protocol requires a variety of imaging tests to be performed to determine the cause of the pain so that it can be addressed.
In some cases, the patient simply cannot wait that long for treatment. Serious lower back pain might require a trip to the Emergency Room instead of waiting to see a specialist. ER doctors must act quickly, as not all causes of lower back pain are created equal.
Cauda Equina Syndrome is a relatively rarely occurring disease where swelling of spinal malfunction places significant pressure on the Cauda Equina nerves. These nerves are important for a variety of functions, including bladder control and mobility. Nerve damage in this area can leave a person with permanent incontinence or inability to walk.
Cauda Equina Syndrome can have a slow or rapid onset, in some cases progressing from no symptoms to nerve damage in less than 24 hours. Emergency surgery is the only treatment available in these cases, and prompt diagnosis is key to performing the surgery in time. The window of opportunity can be very small. Usually, a prompt MRI is necessary for a prompt diagnosis.
Sadly, doctors leave patients waiting for proper diagnostic tests all too often. In some cases, there are few long-term ramifications to these waits, but in others, such as a failure to diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome, the patient may be left unable to walk or perform other daily living skills. Doctors should err on the side of caution when dealing with lower back pain, and be particularly aware of other symptoms, such as loss of bladder control.
If you or someone you love suffered because a doctor failed to promptly diagnose a serious disease such as Cauda Equina Syndrome, your life is irrevocably changed. Figuring out how to afford the necessary treatments to maintain your best quality of life can be overwhelming. Please, retain an experienced attorney who can help you make your case.