Case study: £675,000 for delayed diagnosis and treatment of meningitis

  • Posted

Our medical negligence solicitors recently acted for a child who contracted septicaemia as a result of a delay in diagnosing and treating meningitis.

Admission to hospital with high temperature

The child, C, was seen at a London hospital in October 1999 when he was approximately five months old. His mother had noticed he was lethargic and, by early evening, had developed a high temperature. While waiting in A&E, his mother noticed a poster on the wall warning about the symptoms of meningitis.

After a couple of hours of observation, C was sent home. On the way home, he was very quiet and, after arriving, he would not feed and started being sick. In the early hours of the morning his mother, remembering the poster from the hospital, noticed spots on his back which, when she put a glass over them to do the tumbler test, did not blanch so his mother brought him back to the hospital.

On examination in A&E, C was found to have a high temperature and was pale, drowsy and floppy. He had both blanching and non-blanching reddish purple rashes all over his body and was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia.

Medical staff struggled to resuscitate C and gaining intravenous access was not possible; the client was therefore given fluids intraosseously (IO). Our client was transferred later that day to the paediatric intensive care unit at a different hospital, where he remained on ventilatory support for several days.

Long-term effects of septicaemia

C recovered but the septicaemia led to him losing most of his toes from his right foot. It also soon became apparent that his right tibial growth plate had been irreparably damaged and his right leg stopped growing.

C has since had a number of orthopaedic operations to lengthen this leg which involved undergoing surgeries under general anaesthetic and wearing painful and cumbersome leg frames for up to eight months at a time. He also suffered from several infections while the frames were on and the surgeries impacted his education due to the amount of time he had away from school.

As a result of these complications from the delayed diagnosis and treatment of meningitis, our client has been left with a 2cm leg length discrepancy and his walking is restricted due to pain. C will also need knee replacements in the future.

Settling the compensation claim for delayed meningitis diagnosis

Despite the hospital denying liability throughout the case, our specialist solicitors recently settled the claim for £675,000. This will provide some security for C when the time comes to pay for future knee surgeries and the care required as he loses mobility.

Further information

If you or a loved one have suffered lasting health damage or complications due to a delayed diagnosis of meningitis or septicaemia, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Compensation cannot undo any negligence, however, it can help to deal with the long-term impact, including paying for treatment and specialist equipment.

For an initial chat with a member of our Medical Negligence team, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


    How can we help you?

    We’re here to help. Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Or call us on 0117 325 2929.