Meningitis is an infection from bacteria or viruses that get into the brain. This condition can affect men, women and children at any age, but is particularly dangerous to young children and infants who contract this disease. In some cases, the bacteria or virus causes swelling in the brain that results in death.
The two different forms of meningitis are treated differently. The viral form of the disease is not actually treatable, but often will not cause the significant damage that bacterial forms create. The bacterial form of the disease is treated with antibiotics and is possible to cure and make a full recovery.
The problem with meningitis is that if the diagnosis is delayed, the brain swelling persists and ultimately can result in permanent brain damage or even death. These serious complications should never be taken lightly.
Why Misdiagnosis Occurs
Meningitis is a curable condition and it is possible to avoid the potentially deadly complications that come with the brain swelling. Unfortunately, as a proper diagnosis is delayed, the risks increase until ultimately it causes permanent damage to the brain or death. After several cases where the condition was misdiagnosed, many might wonder how doctors can make this potentially deadly mistake. Generally, the mistake occurs when doctors think another sickness or condition is the problem which might include:
- Shaken Baby Syndrome
- Swine Flu
When abnormal symptoms are present or when an epidemic of a sickness with similar symptoms has occurred in the area, doctors might misdiagnose meningitis as less serious conditions and suggest taking medications or treating the minor problem rather than the serious cause of the problem.
Another factor in the misdiagnosis is the potential for more than one sickness at a time. For example, a child who developed a cold or flu around the same time as the bacteria entered the brain would should the signs of the less dangerous sickness and result in a dismissal of other sicknesses.
In some cases, the doctor might not misdiagnose the condition as a minor problem, but rather as a more serious condition like cancer. The problem is that when the doctor starts treating for cancer of the brain, the meningitis is not affected and continues to rampage through the brain and body, creating more damage. Since meningitis causes quick reactions in the body, this misdiagnosis can result in further complications or death of the patient.