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Medical Malpractice – Failure To Diagnose Meningitis
The plaintiff’s decedent, a 21-year-old college student, died from meningococcemia approximately 24 hours after admission to the college infirmary.
The plaintiff alleged that three nurses at the college infirmary as well as the doctor on call were negligent in their treatment of the decedent. The plaintiff contended that the defendants failed to: properly examine the decedent; recognize that the decedent was suffering from a bacterial infection; and have the decedent immediately transferred to the local emergency room.
The defendants contended that they were not negligent, that the plaintiff had none of the signs normally associated with meningococcemia or meningitis and that the decedent’s disease was a fulminating septicemia that would have resulted in death even with prompt diagnosis and treatment.
The jury found two of the three nurses and the doctor negligent and awarded $314,000 for decedent’s conscious pain and suffering, and $700,000 for the decedent’s loss of a substantial chance of survival. The case settled for $825,000 as the result of a high/low settlement entered into while the jury was deliberating.