Family Wins $19 Million in Meningitis Misdiagnosis Lawsuit
A Wisconsin jury found that an area hospital was 100% negligent for failing to diagnose a newborn with meningitis. The newborn developed a severe brain infection that left him with permanent brain damage. The family was awarded $19 million for past and future medical expenses and the decreased quality of life that their now-10-year-old son will have to endure because of the misdiagnosis.
After the baby was born and the newborn was sent home, the parents took their son to the hospital asserting that he was crying, refused to eat, and felt feverish. The attending doctor thought the baby was being overfed and sent the newborn home without any testing. He arranged for a county nurse to visit the newborn. The nurse was concerned when she saw the baby and contacted the doctor’s office to urge the doctor to see the baby immediately. Before seeing the newborn, the doctor offered the family a prescription for antacid and constipation. The doctor sent the newborn for X-rays and afterward, the newborn was lethargic and in respiratory distress. The baby was taken to the emergency room where doctors were alarmed at his condition. They decided that he needed to be transferred by helicopter for what they believed was a critical bowel obstruction. At this point, the baby was in respiratory failure and acidotic. They rerouted the newborn to a Minneapolis Children’s Hospital where he was eventually diagnosed with meningitis. The now-10-year-old boy is almost completely deaf and blind and in a wheelchair. His attorney says he can, however, recognize faces.
Elements of Medical Negligence
In this case, the hospital that delivered the newborn was held 100% liable for failing to diagnose the baby with meningitis. The baby’s original doctor was also named in the medical malpractice lawsuit but was not assigned any of the blame. This is strange considering that the doctor never considered the correct diagnosis.
To prove a misdiagnosis claim, you must establish that the doctor never considered the correct diagnosis, or did consider the correct diagnosis, but rejected it based on faulty reasoning. The original doctor never caught signs of an infection and instead believed the baby was being overfed. Doctors then believed that the newborn had a critical bowel obstruction and at that point, he was airlifted to a hospital where they also failed to consider the correct diagnosis. As a result of numerous miscues, the newborn sustained permanent brain damage from the meningitis infection.
To establish liability in a misdiagnosis claim, the plaintiff needs to be able to show that the misdiagnosis caused injury to the patient. In this case, the baby’s injuries were severe and he will never have a normal quality of life.
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The Maryland medical malpractice attorneys at Furman | Honick represent the interests of patients who have been injured by negligent doctors. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation, and we can begin discussing your case right away.