Meningitis Often a Missed Diagnosis

Many of us would not take notice of a headache. Minor aches and pains are usually associated with the bug of the month. If we do see our doctor for any of these health concerns, we generally hear that we have nothing to worry about. We will be back to normal in no time.

However, serious illnesses often mask themselves in cold or flu-like symptoms. Medical professionals may miss a diagnosis, ruling out the more dangerous illnesses before doing necessary tests. This potentially exposes the patient to more severe health concerns, and also leaves the doctor open to medical malpractice lawsuits.

Meningitis is one of these illnesses and is often difficult for doctors to detect. Meningitis presents itself in two forms. Viral meningitis is the less serious form. It generally passes without extensive medical treatment. Bacterial meningitis is the other type of illness. It is much more dangerous. For those afflicted, bacterial meningitis could result in life-long health concerns, such as deafness or brain damage, or even death.

Meningitis is an infection that affects fluid found in the spinal cord and in the brain. Doctors and medical professionals frequently fail to diagnose a meningitis infection because its symptoms are often the same as other illnesses. Common symptoms of meningitis include:

  • High fever
  • Rashes
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Aversion to light
  • Confusion
  • Stiff/sore neck

Unfortunately, meningitis frequently hits many newborns and small children. According to the Meningitis Foundation of America, children under the age of five are one of three distinct age groups that are prone to the illness. This can make it extremely difficult to detect, since many of the symptoms by themselves are not that alarming. Without a patient being able to communicate the extent of the pain, doctors may not be aware that a serious health problem is occurring.

Without medical training or specialized knowledge, it is hard to know if an illness could have been detected earlier. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys can investigate a case to see if a misdiagnosis has been made. If you or someone you love has suffered from meningitis that was not initially diagnosed, you should speak to an experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney in your area to understand the options that may be available to you.