Failure to Diagnose Meningitis
Doctors, nurses, and medical facilities have a duty to follow the proper standard of care when diagnosing and treating patients. If a doctor’s error during diagnosis leads to incorrect or delayed treatment, or even to no treatment at all, a medical malpractice case may arise involving a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose claim. A common failure to diagnose claim is the failure to diagnose meningitis. Meningitis is the infection and inflammation of the meninges, or the tissues surrounding the spinal cord and brain, and it is commonly misdiagnosed because it features many of the same symptoms as the flu. The infection can affect all ages.
The Severity of Meningitis
Meningitis can be bacterial or viral, with bacterial usually being more severe. The Center for Disease Control indicates that one out of every 10 cases of bacterial meningitis is fatal. There are also significant complications that may occur such as kidney disease, brain damage, paralysis, and loss of hearing. A meningitis patient may end up in the Intensive Care Unit for several days and oftentimes experiences immense pain and suffering as they fight the infection. Early detection is vital. The earlier meningitis is detected, the less likely the patient is to develop severe complications and/or death.
In order to diagnose meningitis, a doctor will most likely perform a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap. Other ways to detect meningitis include CT scans, cerebrospinal fluid examination of cell count, and chest X-ray.
The Risks of a Missed Meningitis Diagnosis
Meningitis presents similar symptoms as the flu, so a patient may seek medical attention for fever, stiffness, dizziness, and nausea. Medical professionals may not perform a spinal tap because they assume the patient’s condition to be the flu. Meningitis may need urgent antibiotic treatment. If a patient is sent home with a missed meningitis diagnosis, they will not receive the proper treatment, and their condition will be worsened.
A failure to diagnose meningitis increases the patient’s chances of developing severe complications. Someone with a missed meningitis diagnosis may experience short-term memory loss, speech deficits, seizures, paralysis, sepsis, or even death. A patient who manages to survive meningitis still may not enjoy life to the same extent that they did before the infection.
GoldenbergLaw Can Help
At GoldenbergLaw, we only take medical malpractice cases that involve serious or catastrophic injury. Medical malpractice cases are some of the most expensive and difficult cases to bring to trial. Trust our years of experience and success to take your medical malpractice failure to diagnose meningitis case. Call us for a free consultation at 612 – 436 – 5026.