Potter Rees Dolan’s team of expert specialist solicitors are here to help you claim the compensation you deserve if mistakes made by medical professionals resulted in a delayed or missed diagnosis of meningitis for you or a loved one.
We know what you are going through - and we realise that your world has been turned upside down due to mistakes made by others. We work with people in a similar situation to you every single day, and we are dedicated to providing expert support, advice and care to those affected. We will work tirelessly to get you the answers and the compensation you deserve because we know first-hand how devastating this illness can be.
The highly reputable clinical negligence team includes Helen Dolan, Lesley Herbertson and Gill Edwards, who have more than 60 years’ combined experience between them. Each of these solicitors are featured in the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers 2017 guides.
Our team offers a highly personal service, and we strive to give clients a voice when things have gone wrong and their health has suffered due to medical negligence. We are also dedicated to improving standards in healthcare across the UK.
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What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an infection affecting the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. When a diagnosis is missed or delayed, the consequences can be extremely serious, even fatal. The name meningitis refers to the inflammation of the covering and lining of the brain, and can be caused by either a bacterial or viral infection.
In general, bacterial meningitis is much more serious, and without immediate care and antibiotic therapy, it is almost always fatal. Cases of bacterial meningitis are rapidly reducing due to the widespread use of the Hib and meningococcus vaccines.
The bacteria responsible for meningitis reach the brain through the bloodstream from an initial site of infection, commonly in the nose or throat. Most bacterial meningitis is caused by just three types of bacteria:
This bacteria is commonly found in the nose and throat of entirely healthy people, but occasionally this can get into the bloodstream. When the body’s own defences do not stop the infection at this point, blood poisoning is common. Otherwise known as septicaemia, this can be very dangerous, and the toxins produced by the bacteria can cause severe damage to the organs and tissues. This then causes meningitis.
If the illness is not diagnosed and treated quickly enough or correctly, it can have lasting damage, and in some cases, lead to the death of the patient.
Who is at risk?
Young children are at considerable risk of contracting meningitis because they have not encountered the bacteria before, therefore they will not have built an immunity to them.
The risk of meningitis is highest when a baby is days and weeks old, due to the low level of immune defences the child has at this age. When a child is young, the bacteria usually responsible for meningitis is the streptococcus B, E.coli and Listeria, which are commonly found in the mother’s lower bowel and birth canal.
Symptoms in babies and young children
There are many symptoms of meningitis found in babies and young children, and it is important that parents know their child may not always display every symptom. It is also important to note that they can appear in any order.
The symptoms include:
- Drowsiness or unresponsiveness
- Rapid breathing or grunting
- High fever, but with cold hands and feet
- Stiff neck
- Unwillingness to feed
- Unwillingness to be picked up
- Blotchy skin and red rash that will not fade if you roll a glass over it
- A tense soft spot on the head
- Seizures or convulsions
It can be very difficult to distinguish meningitis from other, less serious conditions in children. Because of this, there may be a delay in diagnosis, which can have devastating effects.
Symptoms in older children, teenagers and adults
Along with the symptoms for babies and young children, these symptoms can also appear in any order and may not affect every sufferer:
- Fever, but with cold hands and feet
- Irritability and confusion
- A distinctive rash
- Muscle pain
If you or your child have experienced delays in your meningitis diagnosis, or substandard care has meant symptoms were missed or dismissed by a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation.
How we can help
Potter Rees Dolan’s medical negligence team has a reputation for being among the best in the UK, due to a combination of expert legal and medical insight, as well as extensive combined experience adding up to over 60 years. We have an unwavering dedication to helping both individuals and families gain the compensation they deserve. Our clients have also spoken highly of the empathy and care with which we act.
About Helen Dolan, head of the department, Chambers 2017 says: “A source describes Helen Dolan as ‘formidable in her knowledge of the law and medicine,’ adding: ‘She's one of the best clinical negligence solicitors in Manchester.’”
According to Chambers 2017, Lesley Herbertson “plays a crucial role in many of the firm’s diverse clinical negligence cases. A commentator highlights her “understanding of cases and the way she moves cases forward," while another interviewee adds: ‘She is an extremely bright lawyer who is lovely with clients and keen to put them at ease’.”
Gill Edwards is described as “well regarded for work on catastrophic injury in both adults and children. Her background as a registered general nurse aids her in issues of medical negligence. One source notes that ‘she is really lovely with clients, very thorough, and has a warm personality.’”
The majority of clinical negligence cases are funded on the basis of a “no win, no fee” arrangement, which is also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. We can investigate into your potential claim and you will not have to pay any costs if the case is not successful. The detail on how a Conditional Fee Agreement works will be explained to you during our first meeting.
You may already have the benefit of a legal expense insurance policy, and we will always start by looking into whether you can use the same policy before considering whether a Conditional Fee Agreement is more appropriate.
What happens next?
Initially, we will discuss your circumstances, helping you to understand whether or not your case can be progressed. If we agree that it can, we will then help you together all the evidence required and build a strong case in order to give you the best chance of recovering the right amount of compensation.
We will begin by collecting all relevant medical records and will go through each of these with you. We then instruct independent experts in the appropriate disciplines to advise on whether or not you or your family member has received substandard treatment. When the supportive expert evidence has been collected, we will commence court proceedings and progress the claim as quickly as possible.
Contact us today
If you believe you are entitled to compensation due to clinical negligence, call us on 0800 027 2557. You can arrange for us to get in touch with you by completing the online contact form on the side of this page or on our contact page. If you have someone specific in mind that you would like to speak to, visit their profile on our people page.