One of the most serious types of emergency room error is the failure to diagnose meningitis. Meningitis is an often deadly infection of the meninges, which are the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, caused by a bacterium or virus. A doctor’s failure to correctly diagnose meningitis can lead to a patient dying or suffering catastrophic consequences, such as brain damage, seizures, blindness, deafness, amputations, or cognitive impairment. A victim may never be the same, and may never again be capable of living a normal, productive life. Bacterial meningitis is often diagnosed as seasonal influenza, tension headache, neck muscle sprain or strain, or migraine; however it is more serious and has more long-term consequences for survivors. One of every ten people who contracts bacterial meningitis dies from the disease. An experienced Phoenix meningitis attorney will fight for the compensation you deserve if your doctor has failed to diagnose you.
The Symptoms of Meningitis
The early symptoms of meningitis are similar to those of flu. People with bacterial meningitis typically have a high fever, head and neck ache, and appear sleepy or lethargic. They may exhibit photophobia—(extreme sensitivity to light), seem confused or disoriented, and complain of nausea and vomiting. Bruises eventually begin to appear under the skin and then spread. A patient presenting with flu-like symptoms should be carefully monitored in the emergency room, not sent home.
Diagnosing and Treating Meningitis
If the symptoms worsen, a spinal tap should be performed, which can definitively diagnose meningitis.
Once meningitis is diagnosed, it must be treated properly with antibiotics that target the specific bacterium that is causing the disease. These may include streptococcus, haemophilus influenzae b (Hib) meningococcus, and pneumococcus. Corticosteroids should also be administered to prevent deafness.
Liability for Misdiagnosis of Meningitis
Every physician who is licensed and practices in Arizona is held accountable to provide a standard of care to all of his or her patients. When a patient’s meningitis condition worsens, there are two factors to analyze further. Sometimes we can’t always credit the physician’s orders with a patient’s outcome.
For example, if the family waits too long to take a child with meningitis to the hospital, their condition doesn’t stem from medical malpractice. However, if a doctor’s misdiagnosis of meningitis causes the patient’s health to suffer, the doctor or hospital may be held liable for damages due to medical malpractice.
Proving Medical Negligence
To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must be able to prove that the doctor or hospital violated the required standard of care and in doing so was the cause of the patient’s worsening condition and consequent health problems or death. This can be extremely difficult in Arizona and requires a skilled and experienced Phoenix medical malpractice attorney. An exceptional attorney will have both the knowledge of medical terminology and procedures as well as the access to medical specialists to identify when the doctor or hospital deviated from the appropriate standard of care.
Seasoned Phoenix Malpractice Attorneys
If you believe you or a family member has suffered from medical malpractice, you will find the experience and legal expertise you are looking for at the law firm of Knapp & Roberts. Craig Knapp, Dana Roberts, David Abney, and Michael Sheedy have succeeded in obtaining sizable recovery awards for numerous patients who have suffered health consequences of preventable medical errors, including failure to diagnose meningitis and other serious illnesses.
We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your experience and the consequences you’ve suffered from a doctor’s negligence, carelessness, or incompetence and offer a free legal consultation. Our dedicated Phoenix injury lawyers will provide honest answers to your questions and advise you on the best way to proceed with your claim. If we take your case, we will bring in respected doctors to support our efforts in proving a solid and thoroughly prepared case. We are often able to settle your case out of court, but if a sufficient offer has not been made, we will be ready to go to trial.
Call a Phoenix medical malpractice lawyer at Knapp & Roberts today to preserve your right to compensation because Arizona law restricts the amount of time in which you can file a malpractice case.
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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.