Meningitis negligence claims news

 

Brighter Future Partner - a year on

Boyes Turner has been proud to support Meningitis Now as a Brighter Future Partner over the last 12 months. The charity is dedicated to fighting meningitis in the UK, supporting the families of those affected and funding vital research into this disease.

Over the past year we have enjoyed finding different ways to raise money to support Meningitis Now’s work, whilst raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis.

Our first event, in September last year, was the Toddle Waddle  – a sponsored walk for toddlers in Forbury Gardens in Reading.  It was a great success and raised over £700 for the charity and a reminder that these very young members of society are most at risk from the infection. It was great to see so many taking part.

As Christmas approached, the Boyes Turner medical negligence team ran two Christmas wreath making evenings. After the first evening sold out, a second was added and everybody enjoyed making  traditional festive decorations. It was great to see everyone leave with something hand-made that (hopefully) would last the entire festive season.

Then in February of this year, we continued the craft theme, with a ‘Made with Love’ fundraising event for Valentines Day, at which people could make their own Valentines Day card, create Valentine bunting and decorate their own “love mugs”, amongst other crafts.

May Mayhem provided a week of events which included a mobile ice cream trolley touring the office for our staff, a party in the park sports event, a picture quiz and a raffle.  The most sought after prize was the chocolate bouquet!

Solicitor Julie Marsh said:

“We’ve had a fantastic year supporting Meningitis Now. We would like to thank the team of organisers and everybody who has taken part in the fundraising events.”

We appreciate the life changing impact of meningitis has on individuals and their families. Those who survive the condition may experience long term physical effects of sepsis including brain injury and amputation. If you are concerned about the medical care you or a family member has received and would like medical negligence advice please contact our team on 0800 029 4803 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com.

Meningococcal Septicaemia & Amputation

Having a child in hospital with meningitis, a life threatening illness is a frightening time for the whole family. From not knowing what the future holds, to finding out they will require amputations, the subsequent months can be an emotional rollercoaster. Support at times like this is vital. Charities like Meningitis Now and the Meningitis Research Foundation offer a great deal of information and support for families going through this disease.

Why might amputation be necessary after meningococcal septicaemia?

Amputation may be necessary in severe cases of meningococcal septicaemia.  Septicaemia is blood poisoning caused by bacteria multiplying in the blood. The body tries to fight the bacteria and the toxins released by it. The toxins attack the lining of blood vessels which can leak causing a rash, shown as purple areas of skin. Blood clots also form making it difficult for blood to carry oxygen to the body. When skin loses blood supply, it is starved of oxygen and it might blacken and eventually die. This predominantly affects the fingers, hands, toes and feet requiring amputation otherwise the dead tissue can become harmful to the body.

What treatment will my child get?

The priority in treating children with septicaemia is antibiotics. Time is of the essence. The longer the child is without antibiotics, the more the blood poisoning can spread resulting in further damage to the body. Once your child is medically stable, part of the treatment might be an attempt to treat the damaged tissue for it to heal. Areas of dead tissue might be cut away (debridement) or amputation might be required.

Medical treatment is not always provided in a timely manner. If a meningitis diagnosis is missed or treatment is delayed, the avoidable consequences can be catastrophic. As meningitis claims specialists we investigate concerns about meningitis medical care and whether injuries such as amputation could have been avoided.

If you would like to discuss any concerns about the medical care you or a loved one have received relating to meningitis, contact our specialist meningitis claims team for free and confidential advice on 0800 307 7620 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com

What happens after the amputation?

During the hospital stay, rehabilitation will be key to help mobilisation and independence. There will be a range of medical professionals looking after your child, which might include:

  • Plastic surgeon
  • Orthopaedic surgeon
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Pain specialist
  • Psychologist

Many of these professionals will continue to be involved in caring for your child after discharge from hospital.

Will my child be given prosthetic limb/s?

Many amputees use prosthetic limbs to help with daily living and mobility. Your child will be assessed to see if prosthetic limbs are suitable. This will depend on the amputation level, the recovery and whether there are any other amputations or disabilities. It will also depend on any skin scarring from the septicaemia.

Prosthetic limbs can help amputees rebuild their lives and get back to day to day activities. It takes time however for any amputee to learn to use their new limbs and there will need to be follow up assessments with the prosthetist. Prosthetic limbs will need to be replaced as your child grows.

When will my child be able to return to school?

It is important for children to return to school as soon as they are well enough and if it is safe for them to do so. The school will need to take into account your child’s amputation and accessibility needs. The school might need to help with arranging a learning support assistance, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, getting from class to class or taking notes if the child is not able to hold a pen.

Why is a prompt diagnosis of meningitis so key?

With meningitis affecting the lives of a million people worldwide, there has never been a more urgent need to raise awareness of the risks associated with this disabling and life threatening condition. Awareness of the condition is a key step towards reducing its impact.

The difficulty lies in the speed with which the condition takes hold, progressing from symptoms which might ordinarily be associated with a cold or flu to a disabling and life-threatening condition within a matter of hours. In its early stages, when antibiotic treatment is most effective, without the necessary awareness and proper diagnostic tests the symptoms can be deceptive. Any delay in starting treatment gives an already fast-acting disease greater opportunity to take hold. Its impact can be devastating.

Boyes Turner’s experienced medical negligence solicitors have acted for many clients who have been severely disabled as a result of negligent delays in medical treatment of meningitis by their GP or hospital staff.

In a recent case, we secured judgment for a baby boy whose signs of meningitis – including a persistent high temperature, vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions and a rash – were missed by hospital staff leading to a delay in his antibiotic treatment. He now suffers from hearing loss, learning difficulties and problems with language and communication as a result of the delay in treating his meningitis.

In another recent case we acted for a young girl whose signs of group B streptococcal meningitis –  including a persistent high temperature which didn’t respond to paracetamol and refusal to feed – were misinterpreted by hospital doctors when she was a baby. The delay in antibiotic treatment led to permanent damage to her brain. She now suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

Know the risks

Meningitis can affect anyone at any time but certain people are at greater risk:

  • Babies and toddlers under the age of 5 have the highest risk of meningitis because their immune systems are not yet sufficiently developed to protect them against the disease
  • Teenagers and students are also at higher risk. They are particularly vulnerable when going off to university where they are in close contact with people from different backgrounds, living away from home and looking after themselves for the first time. Without their parents’ supervision, they may confuse meningitis symptoms with flu, hangover or tiredness
  • Adults over 55 or those with weakened immune systems are also at higher risk

Know the symptoms and ensure that your loved ones do too

  • Have a look at our recent infographic outlining the symptoms – available on our website here.

If you suspect that you or a member of your family have the symptoms of meningitis, don’t delay. Seek urgent medical help. It’s time to act!

Meningitis Symptoms

As part of our Meningitis Awareness week 2017 articles we have put together a list of symptoms to help you spot the illness before it gets worse.

Meningitis doesn’t just present as a rash, click on our symptom checker below and find out more about how to spot the potentially life changing illness.

Other symptoms include…

  • Muscle aches which are severe in nature
  • Extreme temperature or fever with cold hands and feet
  • Neck stiffness
  • Intense nausea and vomiting
  • Coordination, movement and balance problems
  • Seizures/convulsions and fits

Be aware of the glass test

This test allows you to see if there is a possibility that a rash or pin prick spots are a sign of meningococcal septicaemia (the bacteria that can cause both meningitis and septicaemia).

  • Press a clear glass firmly against the affected area of skin
  • The rash or spots may fade at first but unlike a normal rash it does not disappear (or fade altogether)
  • Keep checking the affected area

However… do not wait for a rash. If you or someone you are with is ill, get medical help!

Meningitis Research Foundation – get involved!

We hope that as many people as possible will take this opportunity to get involved and help make a difference. You can visit the Meningitis Research Foundation’s website here for more information about the fun things you can do to take part. These include having a bake sale, holding a quiz night or holding a dress in purple day with funky accessories to raise money and awareness!

Whatever you do, don’t forget to share your photos on social media to spread the word using the hashtag #MeningitisAware.

Meningitis Research Foundation Awareness Week 18 - 24 September 2017



18 – 24 September 2017 is Meningitis Research Foundation’s Awareness Week, during which the charity ask us all to promote awareness of this life-threatening medical condition.

The aim is to use this opportunity to ensure that people are aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis, so that they can act fast and save lives. It’s also a great chance to get involved in fundraising to help the Meningitis Research Foundation defeat meningitis and septicaemia.

To help promote awareness, the Boyes Turner medical negligence team will be publishing an informative article every day this week. We will be looking at the symptoms to watch out for, discussing the importance of the vaccine, as well as telling the personal stories of some of the individuals whom we have helped.

Meningitis is a devastating disease which can have tragic consequences. Forewarned is forearmed and our aim is raise awareness of the symptoms and emergency action which can help secure timely treatment which is the key to reducing disability and saving lives.

Meningitis Research Foundation – get involved!

We hope that as many people as possible will take this opportunity to get involved and help make a difference. You can visit the Meningitis Research Foundation’s website here for more information about the fun things you can do to take part. These include having a bake sale, holding a quiz night or holding a  dress in purple day with funky accessories to raise money and awareness!

Whatever you do, don’t forget to share your photos on social media to spread the word using the hashtag #MeningitisAware.

Meningitis - myths and medical help



Meningitis has hit the headlines again following the reported death of a school girl in Sheffield and the recent release of distressing photographs by a teenager who is currently fighting the disease in hospital.

Meningitis and septicaemia, the blood poisoning which often accompanies it, are regularly in the news due to their devastating impact on both the individual and their family. Thankfully, increasing public awareness of the condition and the introduction of effective new vaccines may provide some hope for the future management of meningitis. Meanwhile every reported tragedy reminds us to remain alert to the symptoms and be ready to take action if needed.

As leading meningitis charity Meningitis Now urge teenagers and students to take up the new Men ACWY vaccine, Boyes Turner support the charity’s campaign to raise awareness of the condition in all age groups. We have over twenty years experience of acting for clients who have suffered brain damage and permanent neurological disability, amputations, blindness and deafness as a result of delays in diagnosis and treatment of meningitis. It affects people of all ages and if unrecognised the consequences can be severe. It is vital that the myths about meningitis are dispelled so that adults and teenagers alike are able to spot the symptoms and act fast to get medical help which will stop it in its tracks.

Who can get meningitis?

Meningitis can affect anyone. The bacteria that cause meningitis can be carried by anyone but not everyone will contract meningitis. Our immune systems can usually deal with the bacteria to prevent us becoming ill, but where a person’s immune system isn’t strong or is under attack from a barrage of other environmental conditions, meningitis can develop. The early symptoms can be subtle and the deterioration alarmingly rapid.

Despite increasing education and efforts to raise awareness of the disease, many adults still believe that meningitis only affects babies and young children. This is a myth and it’s dangerous. Older people can put their lives at risk by finding other explanations for their symptoms. An assumption that they have a cold or the flu, being generally run down, or even a hangover can mask the symptoms of meningitis and waste precious time in seeking medical help.

Another popular myth is that it’s only meningitis if there’s neck stiffness or a non-blanching rash. It is true that both neck stiffness and a non-blanching rash are signs of meningitis but they may arise long after other symptoms when it’s already too late to avoid permanent injury, or they might not appear at all.

Another dangerous myth is that is that if you’ve sought medical help once you can’t ask again. Initially the symptoms may be consistent with a cold and the severity of the condition can be missed. Meningitis is persistent – the child’s temperature doesn’t come down even after their usual Calpol or Nurofen, the child is sleepy even when they would normally be awake, the spots may blanch at first but then get worse. The patient or parent needs to be persistent too. Asking for help once doesn’t mean you can’t ask again.

The definitive diagnosis of meningitis is made by blood tests – a septic screen – and the treatment is immediate intravenous antibiotics. Boyes Turner’s medical negligence team is currently acting for a number of clients who have suffered severe neurological injury and permanent disability as a result of avoidable delay in diagnosis and treatment of meningitis and septicaemia. Timely treatment is essential as it can mean the difference between full recovery and disability, or life and death.

Meningitis in babies and young children

Despite the myths it is true that babies and toddlers under the age of five are most at risk. Half of meningitis cases are in this age group due to insufficiently developed  immune systems not yet able to fight off the disease.

Their symptoms can arise in any order and include some or all of the following:

  • A high temperature or fever with cold hands and feet
  • Refusing food and vomiting
  • Fretful, unhappy about being handled
  • Feeling drowsy, sleepy, floppy or being unresponsive
  • Rapid breathing or grunting
  • Pale blotchy skin, spots, a rash (if the side of a glass pressed firmly against the skin doesn’t cause the spots to lighten in colour this is a medical emergency – call 999)
  • Unusual cry or moaning
  • In babies – a tense, bulging fontanelle – the soft spot on the baby’s head
  • Neck stiffness
  • Photophobia – discomfort in bright light
  • Convulsions/fits/seizures

Meningitis in teenagers and students

This age group are also high risk for meningitis. One in four 15-19 year olds have been found to carry the bacteria which cause meningitis in the back of their throats compared to one in ten of the general UK population.

Not everyone who carries the bacteria will contract meningitis but as greater numbers of carriers live and work together at school and university, the risk of meningitis increases. Students may be leaving home for the first time and being exposed to large numbers of other new people from different backgrounds. They are mixing with other students closely, sometimes intimately and living in cramped, crowded conditions. Coughing, sneezing and kissing all pass the bacteria from person to person. University will also often be the first time that they are responsible for their own health without their parents’ supervision. In these circumstances not only are they more at risk but symptoms of meningitis may be confused with other conditions, such as flu, tiredness or a hangover and vital time lost in seeking medical help.

As with younger children, the symptoms of meningitis may appear in any order and may include some or all of the following:

  • A high temperature or fever with cold hands and feet
  • Drowsy or difficult to wake
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion or irritability
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Pale blotchy skin, spots, a rash (if the side of a glass pressed firmly against the skin doesn’t cause the spots to lighten in colour this is a medical emergency – call 999)
  • Severe headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Photophobia – discomfort in bright light
  • Convulsions/fits/seizures

What parents can do to help their student child

Parents can’t watch over their teenage children all the time but there are ways that they can help safeguard them from meningitis when they go to university.

  • Encourage them to have the Men ACWY vaccination. This is available for 15 – 18 year old school children and 19 – 25 year old students. If registered with a GP they should be offered the vaccination automatically. If it hasn’t been offered, ask.
  • Ensure they register with a GP at university and keep the telephone number handy
  • Download Meningitis Now’s free information app for their phone
  • Put a signs and symptoms card in their purse or wallet – available free from Meningitis Now and other meningitis charities
  • Encourage them to ask for help if they are worried about their own health or a friend

Meningitis in adults

Of course, all the above is common sense and applies to adults too. Meningitis can affect people of all ages. Among grown-ups, those aged 55 years and older are more vulnerable as their immune systems weaken over time or through other health and environmental issues.

Pneumococcal vaccinations (PCV) are now available from a GP in the UK for the over 65s.

Are you a student? Do you know the symptoms of meningitis?

Have you just started at university?

I’m sure by now you will be aware of the symptoms of fresher’s flu; headaches, a fever, disliking bright lights. But did you know these could also be symptoms of meningitis?

Infections that cause meningitis can be spread through sneezing, coughing, kissing and sharing utensils, and with first year students being surrounded by hundreds of other teenagers it’s no surprise that University students are amongst the highest ‘at risk’ groups.

What is meningitis?

Our brain and spinal cord is surrounded by membranes which act as a protective barrier. When organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, cause these membranes to become inflamed, this is known as meningitis.

The symptoms include:

  • A high temperature
  • Being sick
  • A headache
  • A blotchy rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
  • A stiff neck
  • A dislike of bright lights
  • Drowsiness or unresponsiveness



What happens if meningitis goes untreated?

The disease develops rapidly and can be fatal within 24 hours. For those who survive meningitis, the after-effects will vary. Although many people will make a good recovery, others will be left with life-long and disabling after-effects. Regardless of the outcome, the impact of the disease is huge, changing lives forever.

How can you protect yourself?

Students and young adults are particularly susceptible to an aggressive form of meningococcal bacteria, known as Men W. As a result of this, the Men ACWY vaccine has been introduced in the UK, free to all 17-18 year olds and first year uni students, aged 19-25. Head down to your local GP for your free ACWY vaccine.

If you suspect you or one of your friends may have developed meningitis, get medical help as soon as possible. Early recognition and prompt treatment, especially antibiotics, can be life-saving. It is estimated that up to 1 in every 10 cases of bacterial meningitis is fatal. Trust your instincts, get medical help immediately.

For more information go to:

https://www.meningitisnow.org/how-we-help/campaigns/uni/

https://www.boyesturnerclaims.com/site/medical-negligence/meningitis-negligence-solicitor/

Toddle Waddle - a story of toddlers, cake and Kevin the Minion - fundraising for Meningitis Now

Boyes Turner would like to say a massive THANK YOU to everybody who came and supported the “toddle waddle” event which took place on Sunday 18 September, raising funds for Meningitis Now.  So far we have raised £500.

The toddlers were very enthusiastic, and many arrived in fancy dress for the occasion.

The day got underway at 10 am, the rain held off, the sun even came out and the first toddle of Forbury Gardens began at 1030 am.  A few toddlers arrived later on, and as more people joined us as the first group of toddlers returned to the start, a second round got underway.

The Minion mascot was a great hit with all of the children, and he even managed two laps of the circuit as well.

The children all the enjoyed the cakes and sweets on offer, and the raffle prizes went down a storm.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank Warings Bakery, Tesco (Reading West), Beale Park, Wellington
Country Park and The Aquadrome in Basingstoke, amongst others, for supporting this local event and offering raffle prizes.

The number of sweets in the jar was 216 (for those interested) and the puppy was called Ozzy.  I think he has been a great hit with his new owner.

Thank you again to everyone who took part and making it such a fun morning.

We look forward to seeing you all again at the next event to raise valuable funds for Meningitis Now. 

Toddle waddle - Raising awareness for Meningitis Now

18 September 2016 at 10 am

Forbury Gardens, Reading

Meningitis is a life threatening infection and 1,500 cases of the disease are reported every year, resulting in approximately 100 deaths over the same period. Bacterial meningitis kills more UK children under the age of five than any other infectious disease.

We want to help build a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis, and where anyone affected by meningitis gets the support they need to rebuild their lives.

This is what the charity Meningitis Now hope to achieve as well. Meningitis Now are the only charity dedicated to fighting meningitis in the UK.

The charity undertakes vital research and, through their Search for a Vaccine campaign, has supported the development and introduction of four lifesaving vaccines against forms of meningitis and meningococcal disease.

But this does not mean that meningitis is beaten!

So, to support this great cause, raise much needed funds to allow the research to continue and to raise awareness of the symptoms of meningitis, Boyes Turner is organising a sponsored “Toddle Waddle” with your toddler around Forbury Gardens on Sunday 18th September 2016.

What is a Toddle Waddle?

Meningitis Now’s Toddle Waddle is an event for the little people in your life, a fun sponsored walk for toddlers and young children – the most at risk group for meningitis.

If you would like to join in the fun on the day with your child or children whilst raising funds to support this charity and the important work they do, then please e-mail toddlewaddle@boyesturner.com to register and receive your fundraising pack and poster.

On the day we hope to be joined by a special guest – Kevin the Minion!

Children will be able to have their photographs taken with Kevin for a small donation to the charity. Refreshments will also be served and we will have a Raffle to raise some extra funds for this worthy cause.

We look forward to welcoming you and your toddlers to the event.

Meningitis - students urged to get Men ACWY vaccination

A new campaign has been launched today strongly advising students starting college or university to get vaccinated against MenW, an aggressive strain of meningitis.

Meningitis Now have reported worryingly statistics of MenW increasing every year to more than 200 in the past 12 months. Young people and specifically students are said to be at risk of meningitis and septicaemia because they socialise with lots of people, some of whom may be carrying the bacteria.

As well as the vaccine, awareness of the signs and symptoms of meningitis is essential.  Early symptoms of meningitis can include headache, vomiting, muscle pain, fever, and cold hands and feet. Students are also being warned not to wait for a rash to develop before seeking urgent medical attention.

The Independent quotes, Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE who said, “the vaccination will save lives and prevent lifelong devastating disability. We are encouraging all eligible 17 and 18 year-olds who have just left school to get vaccinated – particularly those heading to college or university. Young people and those around them should be alert to the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia. Get vaccinated as soon as possible, remain vigilant, and seek urgent medical help if you have concerns for yourself or friends.”

Liz Brown, chief executive at Meningitis Now also advised young people to get vaccinated, saying: “it’s vital that those going to uni this autumn are not complacent about the threat of meningitis – we urge them to take up this lifesaving vaccine before they go”

For further information, Meningitis Now have a helpful FAQ section their website about the MenW vaccine.

Sita Soni, part of the meningitis claims team at Boyes Turner said, 

“it’s vital that young people take stock of the advice being given to them and are aware of the signs and symptoms of this life changing disease. Early diagnosis and treatment of meningitis is key to survival and limiting any permanent impact which can include brain damage, hearing and sight loss and amputation. We are committed to the fight against meningitis and have joined Meningitis Now as a Brighter Future Partner, supporting the charity in raising awareness of meningitis signs and symptoms and providing support services to families affected by the disease.

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The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.

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