Diagnostic errors are the most common medical mistake in the US. These
errors might result in little to no harm to patients. However, there are
cases where a patient has a life-threatening condition that gets misdiagnosed
with something less serious. For instance, a patient suffering from bacterial
meningitis must receive an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment to
have chance at surviving.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain
and spinal cord. Multiple factors can cause meningitis, but a bacterial
infection is one of the deadliest and most feared. A patient with this
condition may enter a hospital with flu-like symptoms. Emergency physicians could be
fooled by the early symptoms of meningitis. If a patient with bacterial meningitis is discharged without
treatment, they could die within hours. This is the exact scenario that
led to the
death of a 4-year-old girl in Texas.
According to the parents of the girl, they brought their daughter to an
emergency room because she was suffering from a fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
These symptoms appeared within 24 hours. Clinicians ordered lab work and
took the girl’s vitals. She was discharged shortly afterwards. Only
five hours after returning home, the girl’s condition had become
significantly worse. She was rushed back to the emergency room, but it
was too late to save her life. An autopsy found the cause of death was
Survivors of bacterial meningitis may suffer from brain damage. Children
who survive the condition with brain damage may require specialized care
for the rest of their lives. Death or permanent injury can occur within
hours. There is no room for error when it comes to diagnosing and treating
There are other health conditions that require prompt treatment to prevent
death within hours. Heart attacks may cause death or permanent injury
within hours if they are misdiagnosed.
Are Diagnostic Errors Medical Malpractice?
Diagnostic errors could be
medical malpractice. Patients who survive these medical mistakes or their family members may
have recourse to seek damages. If you or a loved one were affected by
a diagnostic error, then the
Washington DC medical malpractice lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC could help you determine whether you have options
to file a claim for damages.