Failure to Diagnose Meningitis
Thousands of people in our country contract meningitis each year. Those who are young have a higher change of contracting meningitis. Other groups with a greater chance of contracting meningitis are refugees, traveling military personnel, and people who provide care in the home. One out of every 5 people who survives meningitis experiences long-term effects like brain damage, hearing loss, loss of limbs, or kidney disease. If you or your child have been harmed by a failure to diagnose meningitis, a knowledgeable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.What is Meningitis?
Meningitis involves an inflammation of tissues known as the meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord. Around fifty different kinds of bacteria can trigger meningitis. However, meningitis can also be caused by a virus.
Most often meningitis is caused by meningococcal bacteria. Bacterial meningitis can result in the bacterial infection spreading into the blood, resulting in sepsis. The chemicals produced by the body create inflammation, and then different physical changes eventually lead to organs becoming damaged and failing.Failure to Diagnose Meningitis
In most cases, spinal meningitis is less serious than meningitis caused by bacteria, and it's often resolved without a particular treatment. In contrast, bacterial meningitis can be extremely serious if left undiagnosed, and can result in debilitating brain damage, learning disabilities, hearing loss, and even death.
Sometimes meningitis surfaces a month or more after exposure to the bacteria or virus. Symptoms can include flu-like signs, blurred vision, hallucinations, chills, confusion, lack of balance, slurred speech, nausea, intense headaches, and sensitivity to lights. When this condition is not treated, it is likely to be fatal. It sometimes looks like flu, making it even more important to see a competent doctor who can refer a patient to a lumbar puncture as necessary. When it goes untreated, bacterial meningitis can result in brain damage, hearing loss, coma, paralysis, seizures and death.
Most bacterial meningitis comes from meningococcus bacteria, hemophilus influenza Type B bacteria, Group B strep bacteria, and pneumococcus bacteria. It can be aggressively treated with antibiotics and be cured. Delays or failure to diagnose can result in serious injuries or even death. If your doctor failed to diagnose you or your child with meningitis, they can be held financially accountable for the injuries or deaths caused to the patient.Medical Malpractice
You can hold your doctor accountable for a failure to diagnose meningitis if you can prove: (1) a doctor-patient relationship, (2) breach of the professional duty of care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. You will need to retain an expert health care provider on the issues of what the professional duty of care was under the specific circumstances, whether there was a breach, and whether that breach of the professional duty of care caused your injuries and damages. An experienced medical negligence lawyer can assess whether the fact of your case may fulfill these elements.
Sometimes defendant doctors argue that the failure to diagnose was not the cause of harm, but rather the cause of the harm was the natural progression of the illness. This is an issue you'll need to pay attention to — whether you suffered an injury such as hearing loss because of the defendant's failure to diagnose at a particular time, or whether you would have suffered that claimed injury even if the doctor had diagnosed you upon examination.
Damages you may be able to recover due to failure to diagnose meningitis depend on what specific injuries you faced as a result of the failure. For example, if you experienced hearing loss, your damages might include medical bills, medical equipment, wage loss, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. If your loved one died due to a failure to diagnose meningitis, you might be able to recover wrongful death damages.Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse
DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents those injured by a failure to diagnose meningitis in Syracuse and Rochester. Our seasoned lawyers also sue negligent health care providers in Elmira, Auburn, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oswego, Binghamton, Norwich, Delhi, Cortland, Oneida, Herkimer, Lowville, Utica, Watertown, Wampsville, Canandaigua, and Lyons. Please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.