When doctors make a mistake, it is only right that those who suffer as a result should be fully compensated.
Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 show that the NHS has paid out more than £43 million in compensation in respect of treatment of one serious spinal condition over a six-year period.
Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) – so named from the Latin for 'horse's tail', on account of the shape of the nerves located at the lower end of the spinal cord – is a relatively common condition that usually results from a slipped disc putting pressure on a nerve at the base of the spine. Long-term symptoms can generally be averted by emergency surgery but any delay can cause permanent disabilities, including loss of bladder and bowel control. It can also compromise sexual function and sensation in the 'saddle area'.
There is a well-known risk of doctors failing to appreciate the urgency of the situation and 'missing the window' for effective surgical intervention for CES. The statistics revealed that, between 2010 and 2015, the NHS paid a total of £43,461,267 in damages to 129 victims of the condition following alleged negligent treatment.