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A scoping review: Investigating the extent and legal process of cauda equina syndrome claims for UK physiotherapists.

Leech, Rachel L and Selfe, James and Ball, Suzanne and Greenhalgh, Susan and Hogan, Gareth and Holway, Janene and Willis, Emma and Yeowell, Gillian (2021) A scoping review: Investigating the extent and legal process of cauda equina syndrome claims for UK physiotherapists. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 56. p. 102458. ISSN 2468-8630

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Abstract

Introduction: Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a condition where early identification and treatment is crucial to avoid potentially life changing devastating effects. This paper reviews the extent and process of CES litigation amongst UK physiotherapists. Methods: A well-established framework by Arksey and O’Malley was followed when completing the current scoping review. Records were identified via a comprehensive search of three databases as well as website and grey literature searching. Data was extracted and a descriptive analysis and thematic summary were formed. Results and discussion: A total of N = 1639 records were identified, following removal of duplicates and screening of titles and abstracts N = 211 full text records were screened and N = 39 were included for full analysis. Conclusions: This study is the first to investigate the extent and process of CES litigation for physiotherapists in the UK. Our data suggest that between 2009 and 2021 there were 15 CES claims recorded against physiotherapists which is 0.7% of all CES claims recorded in the UK. In terms of the legal process for CES claims, there is currently limited information for physiotherapists and what steps they would need to take once they receive notification they are being sued.

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