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Meningitis misdiagnosis claims

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord that can lead to serious brain injury and even death if not treated promptly.

The symptoms of meningitis, most typically a high fever and red rash that does not fade when pressed, can often be confused with other ailments. In addition, a rash is not always present. Sadly hospitals are inundated with patients with these non-specific symptoms that meningitis causes symptoms every day, which is why misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of meningitis is not entirely uncommon.

Where hospital staff should have suspected meningitis and failed to give the proper and prompt treatment leading to brain injury, this can amount to clinical negligence.

Misdiagnosed meningitis and brain injury

Although meningitis if caught early enough can be treated easily in hospital with antibiotics; where the symptoms are mistakenly assumed to be related to a less serious condition like influenza and treatment is delayed, the damage caused to the brain and spinal cord can be irreversible.

The resulting brain injury can cause problems with co-ordination and balance, memory and concentration issues, learning difficulties, epilepsy, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, speech problems and loss of vision; all of which will have a significant impact on the patient’s future life.

Misdiagnosed meningitis and clinical negligence

Experienced clinical negligence solicitors can help those who have suffered from a negligent misdiagnosis in this way. Leigh Day has acted for a number of people and their families who have suffered injuries due to a delay in diagnosis of meningitis. By way of example we helped in one case involving a baby with meningitis aged just 4 months old who was admitted to hospital but discharged and misdiagnosed with a viral upper respiratory tract infection.

The young child suffered brain injury and profound hearing loss as a result of the delay in effective treatment.  Acting for the child’s family, we were able to show through expert evidence that the nurse and doctors should have suspected meningitis and that if the baby had received the proper treatment he needed then he would have escaped his injuries.

The NHS eventually settled the claim for a sum equivalent to approximately £1.5 million.  The compensation was to give the child and his family the help and assistance they needed for him to live a normal life and so that he could live as independently as possible in the future.

Getting help to deal with misdiagnosed meningitis

If you or a member of your family has suffered from misdiagnosed meningitis it can be painful and traumatic to adjust to your changed circumstances. It is important that you receive the right help, support and, and if the treatment was negligent, compensation you need to cope with the issues that arise from suffering brain injuries. 

Call us today on 020 7650 1200 or email seriousinjury@leighday.co.uk and speak to one of our specialist brain injury lawyers.

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