understanding meningitis causes and complications

Anyone even the slightest bit familiar with meningitis knows that timing is of the absolute importance, as the longer the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated, the greater the potential for severe complications and lasting neurological harm.

Indeed, those who fail to secure the necessary treatment for meningitis are at an elevated risk of everything from hearing loss, memory problems and seizures to kidney failure, seizures and even death.

In a series of forthcoming posts, our blog will provide some background information on meningitis in the hopes of alerting people to the severity of the condition, as well as the unfortunate possibility of their physician failing to diagnose the condition.

In general, meningitis is defined by the inflammation of the meninges, or the membranes, surrounding the spinal cord and brain.

There are essentially three different causes/forms of meningitis:

  • Viral meningitis — Frequently mild and clears within a few weeks, recognized as the most common type
  • Bacterial meningitis — Often caused by bacteria in the bloodstream, can be caused by multiple strains of bacteria
  • Fungal meningitis — Results in the onset of chronic meningitis, recognized as the most uncommon type

As for the symptoms of meningitis, physicians have long recognized certain telltale signs, including the sudden onset of a high fever, a severe headache, vomiting or nausea, and a stiff neck.

These telltale signs differ slightly when it comes to both infants and newborns, and outside of the high fever can include excessive sleeping or crying, inactivity, body or neck stiffness, and a bulge in the fontanel.

We will continue to provide more background information on meningitis in future posts. In the meantime, it’s important to understand that physicians who fail to diagnose meningitis or misdiagnosis the original symptoms or meningitis must be held liable for the damage caused by their medical negligence.

Source: The Mayo Clinic, “Diseases and conditions: Meningitis,” Accessed March 13, 2014

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