A YOUNG woman who suffered a brain injury and was paralysed from the neck down after doctors failed to diagnose meningitis is suing York Hospital for more than £300,000.
Megan Middleton, 20, of Melrosegate in York, was left severely disabled with initially no movement at all in her limbs, and suffered neurological damage as a result of contracting meningitis.
She has launched High Court proceedings for damages in excess of £300,000 – for costs including loss of earnings and treatment – as she would have made a full recovery had doctors at York Hospital prescribed antibiotics in time, court documents state.
Dr Alistair Turnbull, medical director at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The trust has recognised that, sadly, there were shortcomings in the medical treatment Megan received and is profoundly sorry that she was let down in this way.
“She did not receive the high-quality care that our patients rightly expect and we have ensured that learning has arisen as a result. While legal proceedings are continuing we are unable to comment further.”
The documents state Miss Middleton was admitted to York Hospital on October 25, 2010, suffering from a sore throat, hallucinations, a rash and a temperature.
But the medical team failed to diagnose her with meningococcal meningitis – with doctors instead believing she had drug rash and viral fever or sepsis – and she was discharged on October 26.
But three days later Miss Middleton was readmitted after collapsing and becoming unconscious, with fixed and unresponsive pupils.
She was later transferred to the neurosurgical unit at Hull Royal Infirmary, where an MRI scan showed she had an excess accumulation of water in the brain, severe pressure on the brain and compression of the spinal cord.
York Hospital has accepted that had Miss Middleton been treated with antibiotics on October 25 or 26 it is likely her meningococcal bacteraemia would have been cured and she would not have developed meningitis or sustained a brain injury, the claim form states.
It says that in a letter dated October 4, 2012, solicitors acting for York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted breach of duty in failing to diagnose Miss Middleton’s condition.
Miss Middleton has since had “substantial” neurological and physical recovery with further improvement expected in her arms and legs.
Speaking to The Press in 2011, Miss Middleton’s sister, Aislinn, said Miss Middleton had been extremely strong and amazed her family every day with her progress.
Some crucial facts about a multiple killer
• Symptoms include headache, stiff neck and dislike of bright light, difficulty supporting own weight, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, confusion and drowsiness.
• Meningitis can cause septicaemia, which leads to aching limbs, cold hands and feet and a rash.
• Those most at risk are babies, under-fives, people aged 16 to 24 and the elderly.
• If you suspect anything is wrong, seek medical help immediately.
• Each year 300 people die and hundreds more are permanently disabled.
• No vaccine exists for Meningitis B, which accounts for 90 per cent of meningococcal cases.