Failure to Diagnose Meningitis

By dtaw on August 01, 2019

A gavel next to a stethoscopeMeningitis refers to inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Swelling is most often the result of a viral or bacterial infection of the fluids within the spinal cord and those surrounding the brain. Meningitis can have devastating consequences, especially if it is not diagnosed and treated appropriately.

Meningitis symptoms often mimic those of the flu, so, unfortunately, it is a condition that is regularly misdiagnosed. Patients whose symptoms worsen, or those who suffer more serious injuries due to a failure to diagnose meningitis, can look into filing a medical malpractice suit to seek compensation for damages. The medical malpractice attorneys at the Oklahoma City, OK, law firm, the Tawwater Law Firm, will work to hold negligent medical providers accountable.

Diagnosing Meningitis

After exposure to viral or bacterial meningitis, it can take up to a month or longer for symptoms to develop. Possible symptoms of meningitis vary widely, but many are the same types of symptoms a person would experience from the flu. Meningitis symptoms that are flu-like include fever, chills, headaches, and nausea.

There are some additional symptoms that a person is likely to develop from meningitis that aren’t as common for the flu. These include blurred vision, neck stiffness, loss of balance, and slurred speech. A competent doctor with proper diagnostic skills should be able to identify possible meningitis symptoms and order appropriate diagnostic testing. In most cases, meningitis is diagnosed through a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap.

With prompt and aggressive treatment, meningitis can usually be cured through the use of powerful antibiotics. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can have serious consequences.

Risks of Misdiagnosis

If a doctor fails to order the proper diagnostic testing, meningitis can be dismissed as the flu. Unfortunately, meningitis will continue to worsen, and is nearly always fatal, without treatment. Even if a person survives after a doctor fails to diagnose meningitis, it is highly likely that the condition will result in catastrophic, and often permanent, injuries, which may include:

  • Brain damage
  • Hearing loss
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Seeking Compensation

If a doctor or medical professional fails to diagnose meningitis, and the patient suffers injuries and other damages as a result, there is likely grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Medical malpractice holds medical professionals accountable when they fail to provide care that meets the expected standard.

In terms of diagnosis, the expected medical standard of care means that if another similarly trained doctor would have diagnosed meningitis when presented with the patient’s symptoms, then the doctor who failed to diagnose the condition was negligent.

Our attorneys can help medical malpractice victims in the Oklahoma City area collect the financial compensation they are due for damages. When filing a medical malpractice suit, our attorneys will consider all avenues of loss. We may seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In the tragic event that a patient dies as a result of failure to diagnose meningitis, their family has a right to take legal action.

Learn More

If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to hold the medical professionals accountable. If you’d like to discuss the details of your case with the legal team at our Oklahoma City practice, the Tawwater Law Firm. Contact us at your earliest convenience or call (405) 607-1400 to schedule a consultation.

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