How Do I Know If I Have Meningitis?


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What Is Meningitis?

Simply put, meningitis is inflammation of the meninges or the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord. An infection caused by a virus, bacteria, fungi, or a parasite/ameba, often leads to inflammation. Occasionally, meningitis is non-infectious and can be caused by diseases like lupus or cancer, medications, a head injury, or surgery on the brain or spinal cord. Symptoms are typically the same regardless of the cause, but treatments vary widely. For this reason, it’s crucial to determine why a person develops meningitis as soon as possible.

What Are The Symptoms?

The most common symptoms of meningitis, regardless of its cause, are fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light, and confusion. Some people have only one or two of these symptoms, some have all of them, and some have more unusual symptoms such as poor appetite, seizures, limb pain, cold hands and feet, a skin rash, or difficulty waking from sleep. The variability in symptoms can make it difficult for the average person to recognize when medical care is necessary and sometimes make it difficult for a doctor to make a quick diagnosis.

When Should I Seek Medical Care?

When it comes to meningitis, early medical intervention makes all the difference. Even when the disease is diagnosed early, and appropriate treatment is started, 5-10 percent of hospitalized patients die within two days of the onset of their symptoms. Among children and teens who die of meningitis, 90 percent succumb within only 24 hours of the onset of their symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing meningitis signs, call your doctor or seek medical care immediately.  

What Can Happen If Treatment Is Delayed?

A delay in treatment can happen for many reasons. Perhaps you thought it was just a migraine, but it didn’t go away. Maybe you called your doctor, and they said your symptoms seemed mild and you should wait it out. Or you may have gone to the ER, they diagnosed you with meningitis, but they had trouble determining the cause. Whatever the reason, a delay in treatment can often have disastrous consequences. 

While death is certainly more likely when meningitis isn’t treated early enough, several other serious complications become more likely the longer a case of meningitis goes untreated. Some of the most common potentially permanent complications associated with meningitis are:

  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Seizures/epilepsy
  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Learning difficulties (particularly in children)
  • Problems with coordination and balance
  • Speech problems
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney damage
  • Limb amputation due to sepsis (infection spreading to the bloodstream)

I’ve Recovered From Meningitis, But I’ve Been Told My Lingering Symptoms May Be Permanent. What Can I Do?

If you’re suffering from complications of a prior case of meningitis, you may have a long road of recovery ahead of you. Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, special education, medications, pain relief, and medical devices may all be needed to help you lead the life you want. You may also be wondering, “Was any of this preventable?” Some people find it helpful to consult with an attorney once they know a little more about their future holds. 

A skilled legal team can find the answers to these and other pressing questions:

  • Did a doctor dismiss your initial symptoms?
  • Did they follow the proper protocols for a suspected meningitis case?
  • Did they run the right tests with the urgency that was required?
  • Were the correct treatments administered in a timely manner?

If any part of your care was mismanaged, or if a medical professional acted negligently, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your past and future medical expenses, as well as the pain and suffering.

Why Choose Ross Feller Casey?

If you’ve suffered from meningitis due to medical malpractice, then the team at Ross Feller Casey may be able to help. We have highly skilled, Ivy League-trained doctors right on staff, so we understand how difficult it can be to recover from meningitis fully.

Our lawyers have the experience needed to get results, and we have the record to prove it. With over $3 billion recovered for our personal injury clients, including over $1 billion in the past five years alone, and more than 50 $10-million-plus verdicts and settlements, we have a proven track record of success. We work on a contingency basis, so there’s no charge unless we help win your case. Contact us today for a free case evaluation, and let us put our experience to work for you.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.