Washington Meningitis Lawyers
Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. It is sometimes referred to as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Viral meningitis is generally less severe, while bacterial meningitis is often very serious – even deadly. Meningitis can cause many serious injuries, including shock, brain damage and death.
There are over 10,000 cases of meningitis per year, and about 2/3 of those cases are in children. Because of their immature immune systems, babies from birth to two years old have the highest rate of incidence, and sadly some of the worst outcomes. If a doctor’s failure to diagnose meningitis in you or someone you love has led to serious health consequences, contact the Washington failure to diagnose meningitis attorneys of Fuller & Fuller today at 800-570-4878.
Warning Signs of Meningitis
The first signs of meningitis are not unlike the flu or a migraine; the difference is that meningitis progresses very quickly. The following is a list of symptoms. Note that not all symptoms exist in every case.
- Headache – It might feel like the worst headache the patient has ever had;
- Fever – Can get very high and does not respond to a tepid bath or aspirin;
- Numbness / cold extremities / loss of feeling;
- Intolerance of light;
- Disorientation or confusion;
- Purple spots or rash – This symptom means blood poisoning is underway. Pressing a clear glass on the spots does not cause them to turn white.
High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. In newborns and small infants, fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect, and the infant may simply appear slow or inactive, or be irritable, have vomiting, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures.
You need to be aware of these symptoms; do not hesitate to call a doctor or go to the emergency room if you are concerned. This disease can move quickly, sometimes killing the patient in a matter of hours.
There can be difficulties in diagnosing meningitis. The presenting symptoms and signs, particularly in infants, can be subtle and confusing. No single symptom or sign is necessarily a positive indicator of meningitis. It is a clustering of symptoms combined with the lack of any obvious reason for the infection that should raise suspicions.
A simple respiratory infection is a frequent precursor to this disease. This infection will be followed by a worrisome change in the child’s normal pattern of behavior. In infants, a reluctance to eat, with unusual irritability alternating with periods of lethargy and drowsiness, are particularly indicative. Other signs such as neck stiffness may be absent in young children, while an older child or adult may complain of a headache. Vomiting is prevalent in all age groups.
Although meningitis is tricky to diagnose, a doctor must still meet reasonable standards of practice. If a physician misdiagnosed a serious case of meningitis, contact the Washington failure to diagnose meningitis lawyers of Fuller & Fuller today for a consultation on your legal options.
How is Meningitis Treated?
Treatment of bacterial meningitis must be immediate and aggressive to prevent death or serious side effects. Bacterial meningitis can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics. Appropriate antibiotic treatment of most common types of bacterial meningitis will very likely reduce the risk of death significantly. People who have been in close contact with the victim may be provided with an oral antibiotic to help protect them and reduce the probability of spreading the disease over the near term.
Delayed Diagnosis and Failure to Diagnose Meningitis
Meningitis can be difficult to diagnose and, consequently, it is misdiagnosed again and again. According to the National Meningitis Association, the following problems continue to occur with regard to doctors diagnosing the symptoms of the disease:
- Failing to see the patient when requested;
- Failing to examine the patient appropriately;
- Sending the patient home instead of admitting him to the hospital;
- Failing to reach a reasoned diagnosis or failing to consult with more experienced doctors or specialists;
- Failing to arrange adequate follow-up;
- Failing to act with the necessary degree of urgency;
- Failing to appropriately communicate with the patient or patient’s guardians.
What should I do if I suspect a delay in diagnosing my meningitis or that of my child?
If you have concerns or doubts about whether a doctor did not make a timely diagnosis of your meningitis – or that of a loved one – you owe it to yourself and your family to find out for sure. Contact an attorney at Fuller & Fuller for a FREE consultation. Our firm has been associated with several failure to diagnose meningitis cases. Fuller & Fuller serves people whose claims arose in the states of Washington and Oregon.
To determine whether you have a strong claim, these are among the factors that are analyzed:
- Whether the malpractice took place within the time allowed to bring a claim, or whether it is barred by the statute of limitations;
- Whether the delay in diagnosis was longer than is reasonable by the standards of the medical community in which the doctor practices;
- Whether the doctor failed to perform appropriate testing to allow an informed diagnosis;
- Whether the doctor failed to administer the necessary medical procedures or order the patient to be hospitalized;
- How much money in damages would be appropriate to compensate the patient, the patient’s spouse, or family members.
You have nothing to lose by consulting an attorney. It is always in your best interest to learn about your legal options and make sure that your legal rights are preserved. A medical malpractice case is also about righting a wrong, holding the medical community responsible, and raising the level of care so that the same thing does not happen to another patient. Call a Washington meningitis misdiagnosis attorney at Fuller & Fuller by dialing 800-570-4878 today.
Risk Factors for Meningitis
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those at especially high risk of meningitis include:
- Infants and young children (for endemic disease);
- Household contacts of meningitis patients;
- Military personnel;
- College freshmen (who live in dormitories);
- People exposed to active and passive tobacco smoke.
Early detection and treatment of meningitis is vital to reduce the likelihood of life-threatening complications. If you are concerned that your doctor failed to detect or treat your meningitis soon enough, please contact the Washington attorneys of Fuller & Fuller at 800-570-4878 for a free evaluation of your claims.
You may find some of the following links helpful. Fuller & Fuller does not endorse the information in the links.