Meningitis is an illness caused by infection of the protective membranes (known as meninges) which surround the brain and spinal cord. Development of the disease is most common in young adults and children, particularly those under the age of five; however, it is by no means exclusive to this age range.
The infection progresses rapidly and can be difficult for those who are not medically trained to identify as some symptoms mimic that of other less serious illnesses, such as flu.
If a medical professional fails to diagnose meningitis swiftly, the consequences for the patient can be devastating, even life-threatening.
If your child's meningitis diagnosis was delayed due to an initial misdiagnosis or negligence on the part of a GP or treatment centre, Healys Recover medical negligence solicitors can assist you in making a claim for compensation.
Identifying the symptoms of bacterial meningitis
Meningitis occurs as a result of either a bacterial or viral infection. Vaccine programmes have helped bring down the number of incidences of both types of the disease. However, some bacteria strains have proved difficult to immunise against and still pose a threat to young children especially, as they have not yet built up their own natural immunities.
Symptoms of bacterial meningitis are varied - in young children, toddlers and babies these can include a combination of the following:
- Aversion to bright lights
- Stiff neck
- Unresponsiveness or drowsiness
- High-pitched cry
- Unwillingness to feed
- High fever with cold hands and feet
- A rash which does not fade when a glass is rolled over the skin
- Rapid breathing
- Convulsions or seizures
It is vital for treatment to be administered as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading throughout the system. If bacterial meningitis is not identified swiftly the patient may develop complications, such as septicaemia (blood poisoning), which can be fatal.
The after effects of meningitis
If treatment of bacterial meningitis is delayed and meningococcal septicaemia develops, this may result in scarring and tissue damage. It can also lead to permanent brain damage.
Blood vessels impaired by the infection are no longer able to carry oxygen and blood to the skin and tissue, causing cells to die (necrosis).
The patient may be treated with skin grafts and further plastic surgery procedures to help heal damaged areas of skin and improve appearance. In extreme cases amputation of an affected limb may be necessary.
Healys Recover can help
If your child's health or quality of life has been affected by a meningitis misdiagnosis or any other form of medical negligence which caused a delay to vital treatment being administered, personal injury compensation can go a long way to assist funding future care or home renovation.
Even if your child has made a full recovery, you may still be able to make a claim if there is evidence to prove that your child was caused undue distress and suffering due to medical negligence which has had a lasting effect.
Healys Recover medical negligence solicitors will work diligently to ensure your child receives the most beneficial financial settlement possible, all the while handling your claim with care and compassion.