Posted on 03/08/2022

Can you sue a hospital for neonatal meningitis?

Can you sue a hospital for neonatal meningitis?

Newborns are mostly at risk for meningitis within the first month to two months. 

Obstetricians must proactively look for signs and symptoms to properly treat your newborn.

Neonatal meningitis will not only affect your child’s life, but yours as well. 

Continue reading to learn more about the diagnosis, the symptoms of neonatal meningitis and the risks involved.

Lastly, I’ll explain how you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the providing hospital for neonatal meningitis.

What is neonatal meningitis? 

Newborns are highly susceptible to meningitis since their immune systems aren’t strong enough to defend themselves against infections.

Meningitis is inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes and is typically caused by an infection, either viral, bacterial or fungal.

Bacterial meningitis is most common amongst newborns and is the most deadly. 

The most common causes of bacterial meningitis in newborns are group B Streptococcus, E. Coli, and listeria monocytogenes.

1 in 10 infants will die from meningitis and half of survivors of meningitis will develop detrimental lifelong health complications, such as seizures, impaired hearing and vision, delayed development.

If caught sooner, your newborn has a higher rate of survival and lessened chances of developing lifelong health complications. 

What are the symptoms and risks involved in neonatal meningitis?

Since this is inflammation of the meninges of the brain and spinal cord, meningitis mostly affects the nervous system.

Some common symptoms to lookout for in your infant include:

  • Cranky or unable to be comforted
  • Not taking to feeding, or feeding less often
  • Problems with sleeping — they are more lethargic than usual or difficult to wake up 
  • Fever
  • A bulging soft spot on their head
  • Jaundice
  • Body stiffness, especially of the neck and body
  • Lower body temperature than average
  • High-pitched crying

Our nervous system is extremely delicate. When a newborn is diagnosed with meningitis they need to be carefully observed and treated promptly and efficiently. 

Any delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis leads to lifelong health complications. 

Bacterial meningitis can cause further health complications, such as hearing loss, vision loss, seizures and learning delays or disabilities. 

Since each system in our body relies upon the other for regulation, bacterial meningitis can also affect your infant’s heart, kidneys and adrenal glands. 

How do doctors misdiagnose neonatal meningitis?

There are several instances in which doctors misdiagnose neonatal meningitis.

Incorrectly observing symptoms and failing to interpret required tests to diagnose neonatal meningitis are two of the most common reasons.

Sometimes, the symptoms of meningitis can look like a cold or flu.

If your medical provider misdiagnoses your infant with the flu and does not provide proper treatment in time, then your newborns mortality rate increases along with the possibility of further lifelong health conditions.

Another misdiagnosis scenario is if your medical provider fails to properly interpret lab work. They may misdiagnose your child with viral meningitis and treat your child differently, when they actually needed to be treated for bacterial meningitis.

There are many factors that your obstetrician should consider when providing treatment, such as both parent’s past medical history and other health factors during the pregnancy, such as the gestational weight.

All medical providers and hospitals have a professional duty to provide the standard level of care for their patients. 

Misdiagnosing meningitis, or any other form of negligence within treatment, are grounds for a lawsuit.

Can I sue the hospital for neonatal meningitis misdiagnosis?

Yes, you can sue your medical provider and the hospital they are caring under for medical malpractice for neonatal meningitis.

The hospital is required to maintain and provide a standard level of hygiene and practices, and to also employ medical personnel with high regards to ethics and morals. 

If those requirements are not met, then the hospital should be held legally accountable for your child’s diagnosis, the injuries sustained and the damages that incurred afterwards.

An example of malpractice is if there was a miscommunication between your medical provider and the medical personnel. And therefore tests, or lab work were not provided in efficient time, or were not performed correctly.

Another scenario of a hospital lawsuit for neonatal meningitis, would be if the hospital uses certain products in their hand soap and sanitizer that actually enable viral outbreaks. This is due to what the products are made with and how the products work.

Medical malpractice and negligence happen all the time out of haste decisions, poor management, or lack of ethical and professional awareness. 

If you or your baby have suffered an injury due to the hospital’s negligence, then contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to get started on your case.

Contact Grover Lewis Johnson’s medical malpractice team 

You only have so much time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, so the sooner you reach out to someone, the better.

To file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Michigan, there are certain rules and guidelines you will have to meet. More specifically, there is a law called the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations for Michigan is basically how much time you have to submit your lawsuit. In general, you have a few years to submit your lawsuit, however, there are exceptions to this rule that can influence and change the ‘due date’ to submit your case.

It’s in your best interest to review the statute of limitations of your case with a medical malpractice attorney so they can provide you with an accurate timeline and their expectations of your case.

If you’ve lost your child due to the negligence of your medical provider, or if the hospital did not take the proper actions required to treat your infant for neonatal meningitis, then contact the attorneys at Grover Lewis Johnson today.

Meningitis is a lifelong condition that further complicates your child’s health – meaning you will be spending a lot of time, energy, and resources so that your child has the ability to live their best life.

The medical malpractice attorneys at Grover Lewis Johnson have over 25 years of providing legal services and have expertise in neonatal meningitis lawsuits. 

Call us today to get started on your legal process. 

We will fight for you every step of the way.