Confidential Settlement – Delay in Diagnosing Meningitis Results in Hearing Loss and Movement Disorder in Toddler

It is so frustrating when a parent seeks help, only to get shooed away. For several days, Jake’s mother tried getting him the help he needed because he had a fever, and the fever was not going away. Jake was only two years old, so his mother took him to his pediatrician. The pediatrician said Jake had a cold. Jake did not get better. He continued to sleep most of the day and lost his appetite, so Jake’s mom continued to call the doctor and report on his status. But the pediatrician did nothing. So, Jake’s mom took him to the emergency room, where a nurse documented that Jake no longer recognized his parents. But like the pediatrician, the ER doctor did nothing to help Jake. The doctor assumed Jake had a bug or the flu and that it would go away.

What Jake had was pneumococcal meningitis, a potentially lethal bacterial infection of the membrane that covers the brain. As his infection got worse, Jake’s brain swelled. This swelling caused Jake’s sleepiness and his inability to recognize his parents. But neither the pediatrician nor the emergency room doctor seemed to notice or care.

Bacterial meningitis is treatable. But time is of the essence because the bacteria multiply very quickly. Antibiotics need to be administered quickly to stop the infection from spreading. Had a medical professional listened to Jake’s mother, Jake would have received the antibiotics he needed in a timely manner, and the serious injuries he sustained would have been prevented. Jake now has permanent hearing loss and movement disorders because no one in a position to help did anything.

The Eisen Law Firm filed suit on Jake’s behalf and worked on his case for more than a year. Brian Eisen, lead attorney for this case, reviewed medical records and took many depositions to determine what actually happened and why the doctors didn’t take Jake’s situation seriously. The defense in the case argued that neither the pediatrician nor the emergency room doctor did anything wrong. They hired a well-known infectious disease expert to testify that nothing could have been done to prevent the injuries Jake sustained. However, Brian Eisen had been up against this expert before and knew his weaknesses. Mr. Eisen was able to force their expert to testify under oath to many important medical propositions, propositions which ultimately undermined the defense case. As a result of these admissions and concessions, the case was settled for a confidential amount just prior to trial.