What is the impact of a delayed, incorrect, or missed diagnosis of meningitis?

Medical research has proven that delays in receiving treatment for meningitis are (antibiotic therapy in the case of bacterial meningitis) are associated with unfavourable outcomes, including death and lifelong disability.  According to the NHS, long term or permanent complications may include:

  • bone and joint problems, such as arthritis
  • co-ordination, movement and balance problems
  • hearing loss (partial or total)
  • kidney problems
  • learning difficulties and behavioural problems
  • loss of vision
  • loss of limbs – amputation may be required to prevent infection spreading
  • memory impairment
  • concentration problems
  • seizures (epilepsy)

Beyond the impact to the physical and mental wellbeing of the patient, failure to diagnose meningitis can lead to loss of income, and in some cases, the inability to work and look after the needs of the family.

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