Meningitis requires prompt medical diagnosis and treatment. Without it, expecting mothers—and their infants—could experience complications and even death. Therefore, if your doctor failed to diagnose your meningitis infection and delayed the vital treatment you needed a Michigan meningitis lawyer could help.

During labor and delivery, serious symptoms require the extensive training of a medical professional, who has agreed to a legal duty of care upon accepting you as a patient. Therefore, if they fail to diagnose your symptoms, or misdiagnose signs of an infection, they should be held liable to cover your damages.

A dedicated attorney who is familiar with the claims process could assist you with collecting evidence and calculating your losses for a claim.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection within the lining of the brain and the spinal fluid. It causes the brain to swell, which can lead to brain damage and other traumatic symptoms for mothers and their newborns. Because of the severity of this infection, it is important that the treating doctor determine if the infection is viral or bacterial—as their degree of seriousness and treatments are different.

Viral meningitis does not respond to antibiotics and usually resolves on its own. Bacterial meningitis, on the other hand, is much more severe and requires immediate medical attention. If it goes untreated, it is almost always fatal. A seasoned Michigan meningitis lawyer understands the risks associated with this infection and could work tirelessly to pursue compensation against negligent care providers.

Bacterial Meningitis

The symptoms of bacterial meningitis mimic flu symptoms and require competent medical care, including a lumbar puncture for a correct diagnosis. Without it, the risk of death increases even further. In fact, nearly 500 Americans die from this dangerous infection each year, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

There are numerous symptoms that might arise from bacterial meningitis. Some of the most common include:

  • Mental retardation
  • Lasting brain damage
  • Coma
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Hearing loss
  • Death

Determining Liability for Infections During Childbirth

While meningitis might be unavoidable, many cases are brought forward on the basis of negligence by a medical professional. This might be due to a doctor or physician failing to spot signs of an infection, or failing to promptly treat symptoms. However, even when the impact of meningitis is clear, a plaintiff must demonstrate a number of legal principles in order to have a successful claim.

Often, this is a daunting and exhaustive legal process, especially when determining liability for infections during childbirth. A well-practiced Michigan lawyer could work with a to determine how meningitis arose for either a mother or their newborn during childbirth, as well as who is to blame.

Essentially, this is done through the legal theory of negligence. When a doctor assumes care of the patient, they have a duty to treat them with the same standard of care as another reasonably prudent doctor with the same training and experience. If they fail to do so, and injuries or infections occur, they breach their duty and are, therefore, negligent.

The Statute of Limitations

Anyone looking to pursue compensation for a medical professional’s errors during their childbirth should be aware of the statute of limitations. For an injured or affected mother, there is a two-year deadline for filing a claim. However, this deadline becomes more nuanced for children. Simply put, a child under the age of 8 who was injured during birth generally has two years from the incident to have a claim filed on their behalf, or by their 10th birthday, whichever deadline is longer.

Michigan Meningitis Failure to Diagnose Case Study

A one-year-old girl with a several day fever was seen by her pediatrician. He examined the baby and advised her mother to give medicine and return if needed.

After returning home, the fever spiked to 104 degrees and the baby was taken to a local hospital emergency department.

The girl was admitted and treated primarily for a fever. She developed a stiff neck and other signs of meningitis. However, she was not diagnosed or timely treated for the condition. As a result, she suffered permanent hearing loss in both ears.

A lawsuit was filed by the mother against the doctors and hospital. She alleged a failure to timely treat meningitis caused permanent harm to her baby. The case settled for $3 million.

Turn to a Michigan Meningitis Attorney for Legal Counsel

If you or your newborn have contracted meningitis due to a care professional’s careless actions or negligent inaction, you have legal rights. However, when this occurs during or after childbirth, you are likely to be overwhelmed and possibly unsure of how to proceed.

A compassionate Michigan meningitis lawyer might be able to help. By conducting an investigation into the conduct of the medical team, an experienced attorney could work to determine the root cause of your damages. Then, a legal professional could help to calculate these losses for a claim. To schedule a consultation, call an attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.

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