The cost of medical negligence claims for instances of failing to diagnose meningitis have reached a substantial £22 million pounds. As a result of this, GP’s have been given new guidelines to help with diagnosing the condition.
The Medical Defence Union has just released figures revealing the extent of settlement costs for meningitis cases. Meningitis is a potentially deadly disease which requires immediate treatment of the patient. Although most people survive the disease, delay in diagnosis and severe cases can lead to permanent health issues such as brain damage, disability or deafness. Children are at particular risk from the condition, with two thirds of claims involving under 18s.
The MDU reveals there have been 34 cases settled for negligence involving the poor diagnosis of meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia since 1998. The compensation for all these cases came to a total of £22 million pounds. Settlement values range from £7,000 to £6.8 million pounds depending on the circumstances and the severity of injuries sustained. Although the £6.8 million claim is the highest award recorded to date, many of the claims are settled with figures over the one million pound mark.
The Medical Defence Union has now published new advice for GP’s on dealing with meningitis cases. This includes making sure they have supplies of appropriate and in-date antibiotics and documenting all symptoms whether they are present or not.