Failure to Diagnose Spinal Meningitis
Failure to Diagnose Spinal Meningitis can result in serious complications and even death.
Medical malpractice in any form is unacceptable and unfortunate. Negligence on the part of a doctor or health care provider can cause serious damage and even death. It is even more devastating when a doctor fails to diagnose a condition that was treatable. Over time, such conditions often progress to a point where the patient is beyond treatment.
One such condition that can become untreatable if not diagnosed in time is spinal meningitis. It is a condition in which a bacterial or viral infection of the spinal fluid causes the inflammation of the lining of the brain. Spinal meningitis is normally caused by a bacterial or viral infection. The severity of spiral meningitis depends on whether it is caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
Though it is a more commonly occurring type of meningitis, Viral Meningitis is generally less severe, and is unlikely to cause permanent spinal or brain damage. It cannot be treated using antibiotics, but the condition often improves on its own within a week or two even without any treatment.
Bacterial Meningitis is the more dangerous of the two. It is an extremely serious condition that needs immediate medical treatment. If the condition is not diagnosed and treated in time, it can lead to serious complications and even death.
Most cases of medical malpractice involve bacterial meningitis. It often has flu like symptoms, so the condition is sometimes confused for a cold or flu. The fact that a patient has one symptom of spinal meningitis does not confirm the condition. The patient will typically experience a cluster of meningitis symptoms in order to raise suspicion. Many fatalities associated with spinal meningitis occur because of failure to diagnose the disease at an early stage. Pediatricians and doctors should diagnose spinal meningitis on the basis of patient’s medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests.
There are many tests available to diagnose spinal meningitis. These include imaging such as CT scans and X-Rays of the skull, chest, and sinuses; throat culture, to identify the bacteria that might be causing pain in neck or throat; spinal tap, which is a definitive test that involves analyzing a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to determine the bacteria that might be causing infection; and polymerase chain reaction analysis, which is a DNA based test.
Complications as a Result of Failure to Diagnose Spinal Meningitis
Failure to order any of the aforementioned tests to diagnose spinal meningitis can lead to a delay in treatment that can eventually cause numerous complications and even death. The most common complications arising out of failure to diagnose spinal meningitis are:
- Brain damage
- Mental retardation
- Loss of hearing
Medical Malpractice Lawyers – St. Louis, MO
Close to 500 people lose their life to spinal meningitis every year. If diagnosed in time, it can be treated using powerful antibiotics. If a doctor has acted negligently by failing to diagnose and treat you or your child’s spinal meningitis in time, schedule a free consultation with one of the St. Louis Medical Malpractice Lawyers at the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm by calling (314) 588-7200 or by filling out our Online Contact Form.