What Is Meningitis?
Meningitis is the medical term to denote inflammation of the meninges, which is the collective name for the three membranes that envelope the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system): the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater. The meninges’ main function, alongside the cerebrospinal fluid is to protect the central nervous system.
Meningitis is classed as a medical emergency; without treatment, complications can occur which may lead to mental disability, amputation, and even death.
What causes meningitis?
Meningitis is generally caused by infection of viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and certain organisms. Anatomical defects or weak immune systems may be linked to recurrent bacterial meningitis. In the majority of cases the cause is a virus. However, some non-infectious causes of meningitis also exist.
What are the symptoms of meningitis?
Meningitis is not always easy to recognize, and in many cases may progress without symptoms. When symptoms are present, in their early stages, they may resemble those of flu. However, people with meningitis can become seriously ill within hours as the illness can progress rapidly.
Early symptoms of meningitis broadly include:
- Muscle pain
- High temperature (fever)
- Cold hands and feet
- A rash which does not fade under pressure, which might start as a few small spots in any part of the body, then spread rapidly and resemble fresh bruises. This happens because blood has leaked into tissue under the skin.
How Is Meningitis Treated?
The treatment for severe meningitis, which is nearly always bacterial (but can be viral) will frequently require hospitalisation. Once in care, medical professionals have a responsibility to regularly treat the patient in a variety of ways, which will includes:
- Antibiotics – usually administered intravenously by injection, or through an IV.
- Corticosteroids – Useful when the patient’s meningitis causes pressure in the brain, corticosteroids such as dexamethasone may be administered to adults and children.
- Acetaminophen – a paracetamol helpful for bringing the patient’s temperature down, which should ideally be applied alongside other cooling methods such as cool sponge baths, cooling pads, plenty of fluids, and good room ventilation.
- Anti-convulsants – Used if the patient has seizures (fits)
- Oxygen therapy – if the patient has breathing difficulties oxygen therapy may be given, which may involve a face mask, nasal cannula, hood, or tent. In the most severe cases a tube may be inserted into the trachea via the mouth.
- Fluid control – dehydration is common for patients with meningitis, but may cause serious problems. It is crucial that they receive adequate amounts of fluids. Liquids may be given through an IV if the patient is vomiting or cannot drink.
- Blood tests – measuring the patient’s blood sugar and sodium is important, as well as other vital body chemicals.
- Sedatives – Given if the patient is irritable or restless.
How Does Meningitis Misdiagnosis Occur?
When meningitis is present, early diagnosis and treatment is vital. At Asons we have a long case history of situations where GPs and doctors have not listened to or misdiagnosed the concerns of patients and family, which later led to severe consequences for the affected patient.
Our health service is underfunded, and overworked but this cannot excuse lapses in medical judgement, particularly when they come at the cost of a patient’s well-being, or even, in the worst cases, their lives. Where meningitis misdiagnosis has allowed the disease to progressively worsen, causing complications for the patient, you may be entitled to make a medical malpractice claim.
Our Meningitis Misdiagnosis Claims Experience
Errors arising from cases of meningitis misdiagnosis may hold dire repercussions for patients. At Asons, we understand what clinical negligence is, and the detrimental effect it has on victims. The consequences may not just be physical – potential financial difficulties where time is taken off work for a false diagnosis must also be considered, and the ensuing stress could elicit negative psychological consequences.
We know that victims are often hesitant to come forward with their claims. As medical negligence solicitors, it’s our job to do everything within our means to make the process as straightforward as possible.
You may be concerned about the costs of pursuing a meningitis misdiagnosis claim. If we believe that you have a case, we can explore a variety of options that can help you. We also have specialist teams in place, who can help you to secure any aid or support that you may be entitled to. Here at Asons, we deal with clinical negligence claims on a daily basis. So if you are suffering as a result of misdiagnosis, non-treatment, or even through the administration of the wrong treatment, we can help you make a claim for compensation; but we can only do this within a set time frame after the incident, so if you have a claim, you need to speak to us as quickly as possible.
Our meningitis solicitors will work to compile all the appropriate paperwork, and documentation, while speaking to all the parties involved, substantiating your claim. With their extensive experience, they are able to determine which medical and evidential matters warrant the greatest attention, so that they can focus on the most important aspects of the case from the outset.