Medical Negligence - Failure to diagnose meningitis; wrongful death

Injuries
Negligent failure to diagnose meningitis resulting in the wrongful death of a 17-year old child.
Amount of Settlement
$550,000.00.
Plaintiffs’ Attorney
Marc L. Breakstone
Boston, Massachusetts
Court
Suffolk Superior Court
Details of the Case

This medical malpractice physician negligence case was brought on behalf of the mother of a seventeen year old Boston youth who was misdiagnosed with migraine headaches when he was actually suffering from bacterial meningitis.  The claim was brought for wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering of the child.

In December 1999, the 17-year old young man, who was an outstanding student and leader in the organization Bikes Not Bombs developed severe headaches.  He went to his pediatrician’s office and was seen by a doctor who was not his regular pediatrician.  That physician recommended he return the following day to see his regular pediatrician of twelve years. 

He returned to the clinic the next day and saw his pediatrician and gave a history of four days of severe headaches that were constant with lethargy.  The defendant doctor, based on a brief examination, diagnosed the patient as suffering from migraine headaches without performing the proper examination to rule out more serious causes. 

One week later, the young man returned to the defendant physician with complaints of severe headaches, vomiting, photophobia and lethargy.  The doctor committed medical malpractice when he failed to rule out these new symptoms which were not consistent with a diagnosis of migraine headache.  The defendant physician negligently prescribed anti-migraine medication and recommended the patient see a neurologist in two days. 

The patient returned home and was found the following morning dead in his bedroom.  The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was bacterial meningitis.

Plaintiff claimed that the defendant physician was negligent for failing to perform appropriate tests which would have diagnosed the bacterial meningitis.  Specifically, the standard of care required that the defendant physician perform a brain CT scan which would have revealed the meningitis and prevented the death of this young man.  The case settled right before the start of trial. 

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David really cared about me as an individual…and he really cared about seeking the justice that needed to be sought in the case.
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Ron got the insurance company to settle for the maximum on the policy. And so as a result of that, my son went back to school.
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