Spinal Injuries Ireland launches its Cauda Equina Syndrome Red Flag Alert Campaign

Spinal Injuries Ireland (SII) today launches its national red flag alert campaign to increase awareness of Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a spinal cord injury which occurs when the bundle of nerves below the end of the spinal cord known as the cauda equina is damaged. Late diagnosis is life-changing and causes untold distress to patients. However, the devastation of Cauda Equina Syndrome can be avoided.

Unfortunately, late diagnosis is all too common. Those who are living with CES are faced with a great deal of psychological and personal care issues, issues that could be resolved with a better understanding of the Syndrome. CES is essentially a hidden disability and leads, in many cases, to the patient being severely isolated, and emotionally, mentally and financially drained.

SII has recognised that there is a lack of information and understanding about Cauda Equina Syndrome in Ireland, and is now launching a national campaign to increase awareness of this condition, its symptoms and the multiple hidden challenges this condition presents to sufferers. SII wants to underline the importance of understanding the red flags that can assist in effectively identifying CES, both for health care professionals and the public.

Fiona Bolger, CEO of Spinal Injuries Ireland, said, “Currently, over 400 people in Ireland are living with this isolating condition. Lives are irreparably changed following a CES diagnosis but the reality is that early diagnosis can make an enormous difference to sufferers”.

Joanne Stafford, who is living with CES, said “Unfortunately, my CES was diagnosed too late and my whole life has been turned upside down as a result. As a patient and a nurse, it’s important to me that I do what I can to ensure that this does not happen to anyone else. I am very happy to promote awareness of this condition by SII”.

Speaking at the launch of the national awareness campaign Professor Mark Delargy, Clinical Director at the NRH, underlined the need for more information in tackling this condition. “There is a lack of awareness about Cauda Equina Syndrome. Knowing about the red flags helps GPs and Emergency Doctors to check for the signs of a developing syndrome. Early diagnosis helps people access definitive treatment as early as possible. SII has launched a welcome awareness campaign today, a campaign that will increase understanding about the Syndrome and will also improve awareness about the supports that are available through Spinal Injuries Ireland”.

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