Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Sad Case of Meningitis

Medical malpractice leads to a meningitis fatality.

Meningitis remains a condition that is far more serious than most people assume. That is because most do not realize that meningitis can lead to a fatality. This news alone can be very disheartening and downright frightening. Yet, much of this feeling of fear can turn it into out right resentment when it is discovered that it was a hospital error that led to the development of life threatening meningitis. Such was the case of Anne Ryan, a 19 year old University of Penn sophomore who passed away from bacterial meningitis after the University of Pennsylvania misdiagnosed her illness.

The death of this woman was avoidable. This is because there was ample evidence that she was suffering from meningitis. This evidence was available in her blood samples which showed she was suffering from a bacterial infection. However, the diagnosis was that she was suffering from an infection that was not serious. Within 24 hours, Ms. Ryan became grievously sick and was rushed to the emergency room. At this point, it was obvious she was suffering from a severe meningitis infection. Sadly, it was too late to do anything. Ms. Ryan passed away soon after. This situation illustrates that life is not only precious, but it can be fleeting as well. This was a situation that could have been avoided had the hospital done its job more effectively.

While nothing can bring this young woman back to life, hopefully, any judgments against the hospital will lead to this hospital as well as other hospitals being more diligent in their screening for meningitis. Meningitis is not a minor condition. It is a life threatening one that requires extreme deliberation and care in order to treat. Hopefully, this suit will lead to an increased quality of care across the board. At least that is the hope.

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