New Jersey Meningitis Misdiagnosis Lawyers
Medical Malpractice Attorneys with Offices in North Jersey
Meningitis is a serious condition that can progress rapidly and become life-threatening in a matter of hours. While there are different forms of meningitis, bacterial meningitis, caused by bacteria such as streptococcus pneumoniae or Group B Streptococcus, are the most dangerous. While bacterial meningitis can affect people of all ages, it occurs most often in infants and young children. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were approximately 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis and 500 deaths every year in the U.S. between 2003 and 2007. While the majority of patients recover from meningitis, failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, or misdiagnosis of meningitis can lead to permanent consequences, including brain damage, developmental delays, and hearing loss. In some cases, bacterial meningitis results in sepsis, a dangerous response to infection that can lead to organ failure or even death if not immediately treated. Doctors and other medical professionals are responsible for identifying the potential signs of meningitis, diagnosing, and treating the condition in a timely manner to alleviate these serious risks. If they fail to fulfill these obligations, they may be held liable for medical malpractice.
At Fronzuto Law Group, our highly experienced New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys serve as unwavering advocates for victims who suffer harm as result of medical negligence. Under the leadership of our firm’s founder, Ernest P. Fronzuto, a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Civil Trial Attorney, we utilize over 75 years of combined knowledge and resources to obtain maximum compensation for our clients. When we take on your case, your needs become our number one concern, and we purposefully limit our caseload to provide personalized attention and unparalleled client service. As we construct the most compelling case for damages, we walk you through every phase of the legal process, ensuring that you are informed and all of your questions are answered. If you or your child suffered complications as result of meningitis misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose meningitis, contact our Passaic county offices today at 973-435-4551 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
What is Meningitis?
Meningitis is a medical condition that occurs when the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. Bacterial meningitis is the most severe type of meningitis, as it can begin with flu-like symptoms and quickly develop into a life-threatening condition. Some of the common symptoms of meningitis include headache, fever, and stiff neck; however, these symptoms do not occur in every case and are not readily apparent in infants. Other symptoms that may appear in patients suffering from meningitis include: confusion, nausea, vomiting, and increased light sensitivity (also known as photophobia).
If bacterial meningitis is allowed to progress, it can lead to brain damage, coma, and death. In order to diagnose meningitis, doctors have a variety of tests and procedures at their disposal. For instance, imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans may be used to detect inflammation or swelling in the head, neck, or chest. Doctors may also conduct blood tests and a spinal tap to test cerebrospinal fluid. Detecting and properly treating bacterial meningitis is absolutely essential, as the condition often aggressively progresses. Delayed diagnosis or treatment of meningitis can result in permanent, catastrophic harm to children, adults, and infants.
Bacterial Meningitis in Newborns
When bacterial meningitis occurs in newborns, it is generally passed from the mother to the infant during labor or delivery. The vast majority of meningitis cases in newborns are caused by Group B Streptococcus (GBS). Doctors must test pregnant women for Group B Streptococcus at between 35 and 37 weeks gestation. If a woman tests positive for GBS, doctors can prescribe antibiotics during labor to prevent passage of meningitis to the infant. Consider the following: if a woman with Group B Streptococcus does not receive antibiotics during labor, she is 20 times more likely to pass this disease to her child, than if antibiotics were administered.
If a newborn or infant is suffering from meningitis, they may not present with the typical signs of headache, fever, and stiff neck. Other possible symptoms that may indicate meningitis in newborns include:
- Poor feeding
- Abnormal reflexes
- Bulging fontanelle (soft spot on the head)
If medical professionals fail to diagnose and treat bacterial meningitis in newborns and infants, the results can be devastating. Complications of bacterial meningitis that is allowed to progress may include brain damage, Cerebral Palsy, hearing loss, cognitive deficiencies, developmental delays, and paralysis.
Contact our New Jersey Failure to Diagnose Meningitis Attorneys for Answers
If a pediatrician or other doctor failed to adequately identify meningitis or initiate treatment in a timely manner and you or your child was harmed, you may have grounds to pursue compensation. To discuss your potential claim and learn more about your legal options, contact our New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys today at 973-435-4551. We provide initial consultations free of charge.