Undiagnosed meningitis claims

If you or a family member has suffered due to undiagnosed meningitis, you may be entitled to medical negligence compensation as part of an undiagnosed meningitis claim.

Meningitis can affect anybody, but is more common amongst babies, young children, teenagers and young adults. As such, the lasting damage that can occur as a result of undiagnosed meningitis can burden victims for much of their life, having a profound effect on their academic and personal achievements, and on the relationships they forge. If you have suffered as a result of undiagnosed meningitis, it may be possible for you to make a compensation claim to help address the resulting damage.

Making a Claim for Undiagnosed Meningitis

Whenever the actions of a medical professional responsible for your care result in a delayed diagnosis of meningitis, and your condition and / or prognosis can be shown to have worsened as a result, it may be possible for you make a compensation claim. This is most often the case in the following circumstances:

  • Where you present to your GP or doctor with symptoms which may be indicative of meningitis, but he or she fails to make the necessary inquiries or perform the necessary tests to determine whether or not this is the case
  • Where your doctor performs the necessary tests, but still fails to observe indications of meningitis where it is in fact present
  • Where doctors do not listen well enough to your health complaints, or proceed to administer an unsuitable / ineffective course of treatment when other options are clearly more viable
  • Where any of the aforementioned failures are observed, they are likely to be compounded by long-term adverse health and / or developmental problems that occur as a result of misdiagnosed meningitis – this will have a bearing on any prospective claim you make

The aforementioned circumstances do not represent a comprehensive list of scenarios where it may be appropriate to claim compensation for undiagnosed meningitis. If you’re unsure as to whether your situation qualifies, you should seek expert legal advice from a trained clinical negligence solicitor to determine if you could and should consider making a claim.

 

Get expert legal advice

Call today and speak to Jason Brady, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500

At Blackwater Law we can offer some of the finest legal advice and support available in the South East, as certified by the Legal 500. Our expert clinical negligence solicitors draw on a wealth of undiagnosed meningitis claims experience to secure you the maximum possible compensation award, listening to your personal circumstances and building a unique, solid case based upon them. So if you’re thinking about making a claim for undiagnosed meningitis, we’re here for you every step of the way.

 No Win, No fee Compensation Claims for Undiagnosed Meningitis

We understand that delayed diagnosis of meningitis can have a devastating effect on your family life, and on your finances. Whilst you might be in real need of the help compensation can provide, you may struggle to gather the necessary funding to initiate your own compensation claim – so we work to ensure that you don’t have to.

All of the clinical negligence compensation claims undertaken by our solicitors – including those for undiagnosed meningitis – are conducted on a no win, no fee basis. That means we won’t ask you for a penny until we win your case[A1] . What’s more, when we do our fees are capped according to government regulations, whilst the amount you could potentially receive is subject to no upper limit.

This ensures you get a fair deal, and that none of your own money is ever at risk.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Meningitis

Doctors are trained to recognise the symptoms of meningitis, and as such instances of delayed diagnosis should seldom occur. That being said, it’s important for you to recognise tell-tale signs of the disease as well.

  • Many infected with meningitis will run a high temperature or fever, peaking at around 37.5 °C (99.5 °F)
  • You may also experience prolonged headache and / or vomiting
  • A stiff neck and aversion to bright light is also common
  • You / the victim may feel generally drowsy or be unresponsive to normal audio-visual stimuli
  • Fits and seizures are sometimes also observed, as are cold or clammy hands / feet
  • Some experience a blotchy rash which does not fade when a glass is rolled over it

Should you or a family member develop the aforementioned rash, you may be able to perform what is known as the glass test, which can help speedily identify / diagnose meningitis in the affected person and help you make the right decision as regards calling for medical assistance. To do this, simply observe the following steps:

  1. Find an ordinary, translucent glass or plastic beaker.
  2. Place the glass or beaker on the skin next to the rash, and roll it over the spots applying consistent, firm pressure.
  3. At this point the skin should turn white, as the pressure forces blood away from surface blood vessels; if it does then a meningitis diagnosis is unlikely.
  4. If the spots do not fade under pressure a meningitis diagnosis is likely; this constitutes a medical emergency and immediate medical attention should be sought.

It is advisable to follow your instincts in relation to the steps outlined here – if you have any doubts it is better to be safe than sorry. It is the job of medical professionals to accurately assess symptoms and to determine an accurate, timely meningitis diagnosis, and your job to protect your health, or that of a loved one / child.

Once you arrive at a hospital, tests will be conducted to determine for sure whether or not you have the disease, and whether it is viral or bacterial. This diagnosis will determine the course of any treatment.

 

Types of Meningitis

There are two main types of Meningitis; namely viral and bacterial. Both work to inflame the meninges, which are the collective name for the protective membranes that protect the key components of your nervous system – including your brain and your spinal cord. A number of additional organisms such as fungi and parasites have also been known to induce the disease.

Even when the disease is promptly diagnosed and treated, it has the potential to inflict significant harm on the nervous system, leading to problems with mental / cognitive functions, mobility and even lead to amputations or death.

Bacterial meningitis is significantly rarer, but also more serious than viral meningitis. Non-infectious strains of meningitis-inducing bacteria and viruses have been discovered.

Risk Factors and Causes of Meningitis

As previously explained, meningitis can affect anybody, but the risk factor is significantly higher amongst children and younger adults. The disease is most commonly contracted from people who carry the bacteria, viruses or fungi / parasites responsible for inducing the disease in their throat or nose, but who are not themselves ill.

A number of factors are thought to contribute to a higher risk of contracting meningitis:

  • Very young or premature babies have an elevated risks as their immune system may not yet be fully developed and up to the task of fending off meningitis-inducing bacteria, viruses or organisms
  • Remaining in close proximity to someone carrying the disease as they sneeze or cough frequently can elevate your risk
  • Sharing utensils with people carrying the relevant viruses or bacteria, or exchanging bodily fluids directly with them
  • Meningitis can also take hold following an ear or sinus infection, as well as in the wake of a skull fracture or post-surgery
  • If you have a weak immune system, or an anatomical defect which adversely impacts your body’s defences, you have a higher risks factor for recurring bacterial meningitis

Treatment of Meningitis

The course of your treatment will vary according to whether you are suffering from bacterial or viral meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis patients are usually kept under hospital observation for at least a week. Treatment will likely involve antibiotics and fluids being administered directly into a vein, and oxygen being delivered directly via a face mask.

Viral meningitis can be treated at home with a course of painkillers and anti-sickness medication, coupled with a great deal of rest. Within about 7-10 days the body will usually overcome the disease by itself.

Whilst the prospects for a full recovery are good for both bacterial and viral meningitis patients, the former can expect a greater risk of long term afflictions or impairment / complications, and face around a 10% mortality risk. As such, it is highly important to avoid late diagnosis of meningitis in order to ensure the correct treatment is administered, and these risks are minimised.

Get expert legal advice

Call and speak to Jason Brady, specialist medical negligence solicitor, today. Find out if you can claim compensation.

CALL 0800 083 5500

Blackwater Law medical negligence solicitors acted for Mr L in a medical negligence claim in the High Court after he was misdiagnosed. The misdiagnosis meant he went on to suffer a serious stroke causing life-limiting disability.