Meningitis Misdiagnosis

What Is Meningitis?

Meningitis is a rare infectious disease that affects the delicate membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called the meninges. While meningitis attacks adults, children, and newborns all the same, newborns face greater risks of serious and life-threatening complications. There are three types of meningitis.

  1. Viral meningitis – This type of strain tends to be the least severe and most healthy people can recover without extensive therapy or procedures.
  2. Fungal meningitis – Fungal meningitis prefers individuals with weakened immune systems, such as people suffering from an autoimmune disease or new born babies.
  3. Bacterial meningitis – This strain can be deadly and is contagious among people in close contact, such as in hospitals, doctors offices, college dorms, etc.

What are the Symptoms of Meningitis?

Meningitis can show a wide variety of symptoms. It can progress slowly over days and weeks or it can manifest in a matter of hours. However, in the case of small children and newborns, it is more likely to progress quickly, making it all the more dangerous. Some of the most common meningitis symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Hardening or bulging of soft spot in newborns
  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

How Do Doctors Misdiagnose Meningitis?

This is a contagious disease, meaning the spread of the diseases occurs from one individual to another. Doctors often misdiagnose meningitis as a flu, cold, or low grade fever, especially in newborns. However, without a blood test and/or spinal tap, meningitis can go undiagnosed and have serious consequences for the patient.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 to 30% of pregnant women can be carriers for Group B Strep, which can lead to neonatal meningitis. Because of this, testing pregnant women for Group B Strep prenatally prevents the spread of the disease to the baby.

For patients with bacterial meningitis, getting treatment quickly is crucial. This includes a speedy administration of specific, high-powered antibiotics often given intravenously. Fungal and viral meningitis should also be treated as soon as possible. When meningitis is missed, it can lead to brain damage, coma, and even death.

Experienced Meningitis Misdiagnosis Lawyers

If a doctor in Pennsylvania failed to diagnose meningitis or if there was a delay in the diagnosis, you may be able to file a claim. The experienced meningitis misdiagnosis lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP can analyze your situation and help you understand your legal options. Call us today for a free consultation.


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