Many Arizona residents who experience symptoms such as a fever, headache and stiff neck simply assume they've contracted the latest strain of flu bug that's going around. If a doctor makes the same assumption without further checks, the results could be deadly. Some forms of meningitis exhibit those identical signs, but there are tests to help make the proper diagnosis.
Health care professionals report that among the five types of meningitis, two are most prevalent. One of those, viral meningitis, is relatively benign and typically resolves itself without additional intervention. Bacterial meningitis, the other common form, can progress rapidly and must be addressed by treatment. Simple physical exams, capable of being conducted right in the doctor's examination room, can be indicative of the possibility of bacterial meningitis.
Although the office exams are not conclusive, further testing can either confirm the suspicion or exclude meningitis as the underlying cause. Blood tests, a CT scan and a spinal tap to assess the cerebral spinal fluid are among the most common forms of diagnostic testing. However, it's most important to begin antibiotic treatment immediately after meningitis is even suspected. A delay may allow the disease to cause brain damage or even death.
Medical malpractice can occur when a doctor's error harms a patient. The error can be an affirmative act of commission, like prescribing the wrong medication, or it may be an error of omission, such as a missed diagnosis that the average doctor would have reasonably seen. A medical malpractice attorney can assess a case to determine if there are sufficient facts and evidence to file a claim.