An out-of-state family was awarded $10 million after a jury concluded that a hospital was negligent concerning their son's care. His parents filed a medical malpractice suit after emergency room doctors failed to diagnose the young boy's bacterial meningitis. The failure to render a timely and accurate diagnosis led to permanent brain injury and other severe injuries.
When parents in New Jersey take a child to the emergency room, they generally expect that the attending doctors will pay careful attention to the child's symptoms. Parents of the then 3-month-old say that doctors at their local ER did not take the correct actions when they sought care. Although he was admitted to the ER two days in a row with troubling symptoms, he was never tested for possible bacterial infections nor was he prescribed any antibiotics.
After being discharged from the hospital with no relief in his symptoms, he was instead taken to see a primary care physician. The doctor was concerned by the infant's symptoms and had a lumbar puncture performed to determine if a bacterial infection was at play. After confirming that he was suffering from bacterial meningitis, the boy had to be flown to a children's hospital. Staff at the children's hospital performed multiple surgeries in an attempt to prevent permanent harm, but they were sadly unsuccessful. The child must now contend with a lifelong brain injury, seizures and permanent hearing loss.
Although a timely and accurate diagnosis is essential for treating virtually all illnesses, serious infections such as bacterial meningitis require prompt action in order to achieve the best recovery possible for the patient. Valuable treatment time is lost when patients in New Jersey must seek help multiple times from multiple doctors before their condition is recognized. In instances such when permanent injury is the result of negligent care, it is often appropriate to seek compensation for related damages through a medical malpractice suit.
Source: al.com, "Tot's missed meningitis brings $10 million verdict against Walker Baptist Medical Center", Kent Faulk, Feb. 12, 2016