Meningitis can be one of the most serious illnesses. It may result in brain damage, amputation of limbs, sensory loss, and even death. The effects can be life changing.
Early diagnosis can prevent some or all of the damage, as the sooner the correct medication is provided the better the chances of a full recovery.
Meningitis is inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Meningitis can be viral, which is less severe and often resolves without treatment. It can also be bacterial. Bacterial meningitis is more serious than viral and it can be caused by a wide range of bacteria, from meningococcal bacteria (the most common) to pneumococcus and E-Coli.
Septicaemia is blood poisoning and is usually connected to bacterial meningitis; it can lead to the loss of limbs and, ultimately, life.
Meningitis can be difficult to diagnose and is often mistaken for flu or non-critical viral infections, as the symptoms can be very similar. Healthcare professionals should be able differentiate between the two and make an urgent referral to hospital or, if the patient is already in hospital, diagnose and provide prompt medication.
Meningitis can be misdiagnosed by many healthcare professionals. Commonly GP’s can fail to diagnose the condition or not refer to hospital for life saving treatment.
Patients already in hospital may be discharged home without a diagnosis / correct diagnosis or have the treatment provided too late.
As a result of failing to diagnose meningitis, we have seen injuries such as:
- Brain damage;
- Cerebral palsy;
- Learning difficulties;
- Trouble concentrating;
- Hearing loss;
- Loss of sight;
- Loss of sense of smell or taste;
- Loss of use of limbs;
- Psychological problems;
- Joint / bone problems; and
- Kidney problems.
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