Spinal Cord Injuries and Cauda Equina

The spinal cord can be damaged in many ways, producing various symptom patterns, depending on the location, or level, of spinal cord damage. The spinal cord can be damaged in an accident, compressed by blood or infection, damaged when its blood supply is cut off, or affected by herniated or bulging discs. Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a term used to describe any injury to the spinal cord that results in a loss of sensation or function in the body. Approximately two million people worldwide and nearly 200,000 in the United States live with a spinal cord injury.

An often misdiagnosed disorder, Cauda Equina Syndrome, is a disorder that occurs when the spinal cord nerve roots are compressed which decreases sensation and movement. CES is a surgical emergency. Nerve roots that control the function of the bladder and bowel are especially vulnerable to damage. If one doesn’t obtain immediate treatment to relieve the pressure, CES may cause permanent paralysis, impaired bladder and/or bowel control, loss of sexual sensation and other problems.

Symptoms of CES vary intensity and may evolve slowly over time. However, one should seek treatment immediately if experiencing the following symptoms:

Bladder and/or bowel dysfunction, causing urinary retention or the inability to move your bowels.

Severe or progressive problems in the lower extremities including loss of or altered sensation between the legs, over the buttocks, inner thighs and back of legs (saddle area), and feet/heels.

Pain, numbness or weakness spreading to one or both legs that may cause stumbling or difficulty in walking.

Often times, emergency surgery is required to decompress the nerves. The surgery can prevent irreversible damage.

The Pittsburgh law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry has represented victims of medical malpractice involving the misdiagnosis of spinal cord injuries and CES. Medical malpractice can occur when a doctor or other medical provider neglects to properly care for a patient during treatment or when they fail to properly diagnose (or delay in diagnosing) a condition.

If you have been a victim of medical practice or someone you love has died because of a medical provider’s error, carelessness, or neglect, it is important that you speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who can evaluate your case for you and file a claim on your behalf. Contact the Pittsburgh, PA medical malpractice law firm of Rosen Louik & Perry today for your FREE consultation.