Before you consider contacting a meningitis attorney, you should familiarize yourself with the most recent news on the meningitis outbreak as well as fully understand the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of meningitis itself.
Just today, the FDA re-released a list of nearly 3,000 hospitals, doctors offices and clinics that were on the customer list for the drug manufacturer based in Framingham, Massachusetts that caused the recent multi-state meningitis outbreak.
The New England Compounding Center, which is at the center of the recent meningitis outbreak and has meningitis attorneys scrambling to handle dozens of phone calls from potential fungal meningitis victims, has so far been associated with 308 infections and 23 deaths.
According to the FDA, the list contains information on purchases from NECC after May 21, 2012. The FDA has stated that these shipments contain the greatest risk of contamination for meningitis.
Below is a short list of things you need to know before you contact a meningitis lawyer:
What are the Symptoms of Meningitis?
Meningitis symptoms can present in multiple different ways. Meningitis often times is a slowly progressing disease. In other cases, it can strike very suddenly, especially in young children and in adults who have suppressed immune systems.
A doctor who is treating patients for meningitis needs to be extremely careful when diagnosing symptoms and be on the lookout for multiple causes. High fever can be a very important sign that indicates the presence of meningitis – but many diseases present with symptoms of high fever, so a strong differential diagnosis is absolutely necessary.
Other symptoms may include drowsiness, confusion, headaches, seizures or vomiting. Also, meningitis can cause extreme irritability and patients may lose their appetite. Stiff neck is also another very common symptom.
How is Meningitis Diagnosed?
Most physicians will do extensive blood tests to help the diagnosis of meningitis. Oftentimes these blood test results take days to be resulted depending on the laboratory who performs the testing.
An extremely common test is a spinal tap, where spinal fluid is withdrawn using an epidural needle from the patient. The spinal fluid is then tested for the presence of meningitis.
How Is Meningitis Treated?
The most common form of meningitis is bacterial meningitis and the treatment includes the rapid administration of very powerful intravenous antibiotics. With bacterial meningitis, the sooner the treatment occurs, the better the prognosis for the patient.
Oral antibiotics are not typically used in treatment as they do not act quickly enough. Because advanced bacterial meningitis can lead to brain damage and even death, time is of the essence.
The treatment for fungal meningitis is similar to that of bacterial meningitis, but the treatment is with powerful anti-fungal agents administered intravenously. Here, time is of the essence as well.
What Are the Legal Issues Surrounding the Meningitis Outbreak?
The issues are multiple. The New England Compounding Center is certainly liable from a legal standpoint. Additionally, physicians and hospitals which may have misdiagnosed or mistreated patients are potentially liable as well. This may be due to the speed of treatment and/or the speed of the diagnosis.
As stated above, speed is the key when someone is infected with meningitis.
As with most cases of medical liability, a meningitis lawyer would carefully review the patient’s medical records as well as have multiple specialized medical practitioners inspect those records. Should a claim be submitted, the information in those medical records would be extremely important.
Should I Seek a Meningitis Attorney?
The meningitis attorneys at Kevin P Landry Law Offices have years of experience dealing with medical malpractice issues and have recovered substantial sums for people whose doctors failed to diagnose and/or treat symptoms of meningitis properly.