Meningitis Medical Negligence
What Is Meningitis?

What Is Meningitis?

Meningitis is a serious condition caused by a virus or infection, which leads to an inflammation of the meninges – membranes surrounding and protecting the brain and spinal cord. It is most common in young children, as at a young age they are usually yet to develop immunity to certain kinds of bacteria. The condition should be treated as a medical emergency; therefore medical treatment should be sought as soon as symptoms become apparent. The two main types of meningitis are viral meningitis – in which symptoms are flu-like and less serious – and bacterial meningitis, in which conditions are much more serious.

How Do I Know If I Have Meningitis?

Most cases of meningitis are found in children; bacterial meningitis is most common in children under five (and even more so in children who are less than one year old), although it is also common in teenagers aged between 15 and 19. Viral meningitis is more common during the summer months, and is often difficult to spot as its symptoms can often be confused with those of flu. If you think you or a loved one may be at risk from bacterial meningitis, you should look out for the following early warning symptoms:-

  • Pain in limbs, joints and muscles;
  • Shivering, blue lips or hands and feet considerably colder than normal;
  • Paler skin than usual;
  • A high fever.

Any symptoms of meningitis should be treated as a medical emergency, so picking up on early warning signs such as these may benefit a patient's recovery dramatically. Other general symptoms of meningitis include:-

  • Vomiting;
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light);
  • A severe headache;
  • A high fever (38ēC or above);
  • A stiff neck.

Meningitis is also often associated with a blotchy, red, distinctive-looking rash which does not fade when a glass tumbler is rolled over it – although this is still a symptom of meningitis, not all patients will develop it, so don't wait for a rash to appear before seeking medical assistance.

Meningitis And Medical Negligence

Like many other illnesses, if meningitis is caught early then the risk of long-term complications is much lower. Hearing and vision loss, cerebral palsy and epilepsy are all conditions which can arise as a result of meningitis, as well as problems with memory, co-ordination and speech. If treatment is delayed, then effects such as these may be more likely. Although the reason for delay may be that the patient did not seek urgent medical advice when symptoms appeared, it may have also been due to a doctors' misdiagnosis, a failure to refer the case to a hospital or a failure to spot the signs of meningitis.

Our Medical Negligence Solicitors Are Here To Help

If you've suffered complications as a result of meningitis, it may be the result of a substandard level of medical care and you may be entitled to compensation. If you would like to talk about your situation, our team of specialist solicitors can give you the help and advice you need to make a medical negligence claim.

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