Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, or the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The condition can take two forms: it can be caused by a viral infection or by a bacterial infection. The bacterial form is more serious and required immediate attention and antibiotics in a hospital environment. If there is a delay in diagnosis, complications such as brain damage or blood poisoning can occur. The viral form is more common and can be spread via coughing and sneezing. As it shares symptoms with flu, it can be misdiagnosed in the early stages.
Although meningitis can be found in adults, young children and babies are an at-risk group so diagnosis is imperative to avoid the complications of the condition. Symptoms may include fever, vomiting, drowsiness, muscle pain, headaches and a stiff neck. A blotchy rash is one of the later symptoms. If a glass is placed firmly onto the rash and the redness does not disappear, this is a sign that the infection has travelled through the blood stream and should be treated as a medical emergency. Failure to diagnose meningitis can have serious consequences for the patient, particularly if it is the bacterial form.
Treatment for bacterial meningitis
Doctors who suspect bacterial meningitis will usually begin treatment immediately before conducting tests as these can take a long period of time to conduct causing the symptoms to progress. Any patient with suspected symptoms of the infection should be sent for treatment straight away with antibiotics. A failure to diagnose meningitis or a failure to consider the infection when symptoms are manifesting can cause the condition to progress. There may be some hearing loss or other complications if diagnosis is delayed for a short time but mortality can occur in rare cases. If you have spent time suffering because of a delay in treatment for meningitis, you can claim for compensation where there is evidence of negligence.
When there is evidence of negligence
Medical negligence can be a failure to diagnose a condition like meningitis or it can be a delay in diagnosis or treatment. This can cause complications for the sufferer and a progression of the illness. Where there is evidence a medical professional was negligent at any stage of your illness, you can call Accident Advice Helpline free on our 24-hour phone line – 0800 689 0500. We offer no-obligation advice regarding a compensation claim from the party at fault for your suffering. Our no win, no fee policy means you won’t be out of pocket if you do decide to go ahead and pursue compensation for your pain and suffering.