Butch Borden, 51, underwent lower back surgery by neurosurgeon Dr. Tom Staner. While Borden was recuperating, he developed weakness and sensory deficits in his legs. Dr. Staner instructed Borden to go to Brookwood Medical Center, where testing there revealed a small hematoma in the lower back. A hematoma is where a pool of blood gathers in an area of the body for different reasons. Borden was then admitted to the hospital.
While overnight in that hospital, Borden developed urinary incontinence and lost the use of both legs. This development was not communicated to any of Borden’s treating physicians, including Dr. Staner.
The next morning, however, Dr. Staner examined Borden and ordered an urgent CT scan and myelogram, which showed a large hematoma, another pool of collecting blood, compressing Borden’s cauda equina. The cauda equina, which is Latin for horse’s tail, is a bundle of spinal nerves and spinal nerve roots that run through the second to fifth lumbar nerves in the back. The compression of the cauda equina is a serious neurological condition and can cause loss of function. The cauda equina syndrome is caused by the compression of nerves at the end of the spinal cord.