Failure to Diagnose Meningitis

Medical Malpractice Lawyers Helping Residents of Ocala and Beyond


Meningitis is a cruel disease, but prompt medical care may prevent serious and permanent injuries or even death. Unfortunately, some health care professionals are insufficiently attentive to the possibility of meningitis, and they may dismiss parental concerns. At the Dean Law Firm, our Ocala medical malpractice lawyers may be able to help your child or you if there has been a failure to diagnose meningitis by a health care provider. These medical malpractice cases are complex, and they often require the assistance of expert witnesses and a complex investigation to secure justice.

A Failure to Diagnose Meningitis May Have Devastating Consequences

Meningitis occurs when membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord become infected with bacteria or a virus. There are many different kinds of meningitis, but the most common cause is a viral infection. This usually develops in late summer or early fall, affecting very small kids and adults below the age of 30. Bacterial meningitis is extremely serious and may result in brain damage even when it is properly caught and treated. Symptoms of bacterial meningitis include nausea, photophobia, stiff neck, severe headache, chills, fever, agitation, bulging fontanelles, reduced appetite, arched neck and back, irritability, or rapid breathing.

When a patient is suspected to have meningitis, doctors are supposed to perform a spinal tap, as well as other tests, such as a chest X-ray, CT scan, blood culture, gram stain, and CSF examination. If bacterial meningitis is detected, antibiotics may be used as treatment, and some people will need to stay in the hospital, depending on how serious the illness is. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in preventing permanent neurological damage. Viral meningitis may or may not be serious, with symptoms often disappearing on their own without lasting complications.

When a health care provider fails to diagnose meningitis, the result may be brain damage, hearing loss, a buildup of fluid between the brain and the skull, hydrocephalus, and seizures. Sometimes the result is death. If your child or you suffer complications due to a failure to diagnose meningitis, we can have an expert doctor review your medical records to determine whether your health care provider may have committed medical malpractice.

Sometimes a failure to diagnose is a failure to even consider meningitis when creating a differential diagnosis list. When doctors are diagnosing, they typically make a list of the different possible diagnoses, given the symptoms. However, in other cases, there may be a failure to diagnose based on other failures, such as a failure to adequately test the possibility of meningitis or a failure to take an appropriate medical history. Meningitis may look like the flu, but if, for example, a doctor ignores a stiff neck and does not order a CT scan, blood tests, or other tests, there may be a failure to diagnose and a failure to treat as well.

People who are not properly diagnosed with meningitis may become disabled and face expensive medical bills. Some people who suffer brain damage will require lifelong care. Damages that may be recovered if you prove medical malpractice include medical costs, hospital costs, household services, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and lifelong nursing care.

When a child or another loved one has been lost due to a failure to diagnose meningitis, it may be possible to file a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for medical costs, funeral and burial costs, the value of support and services, loss of companionship, and mental and emotional pain. In Florida, the decedent's estate's personal representative files the wrongful death claim. The personal representative may be someone named in a decedent's will or estate plan or someone appointed by the court. The purpose of the wrongful death claim is to recover damages on behalf of the decedent's family members and estate.

Discuss Your Misdiagnosis Case with an Ocala Attorney

At the Dean Law Firm, our experienced Ocala lawyers can represent you in a medical malpractice case involving a failure to diagnose meningitis. We can also represent you in other situations in which a misdiagnosis lawyer may be helpful in asserting your rights. Contact us online or call us at 352-387-8700 for a free appointment. We also serve injured people in The Villages, Crystal River, and other areas of Citrus, Levy, Sumter, Marion, and Lake Counties.