Substantial compensation after delayed antibiotic treatment causes brain injury from meningitis

Boyes Turner’s meningitis injury solicitors secured substantial compensation for a child with meningitis brain injury. The three-year-old suffered severe damage to his brain as a result of hospital delays in diagnosis of his pneumococcal meningitis infection.

Early symptoms didn’t respond to Calpol

The child’s first symptoms were a headache, earache and a high temperature. His mother took him to an out-of-hours clinic where he was seen by a GP who advised her to give him Calpol but to come back if he didn’t get better.  Later the same evening she called the clinic again because she was worried about his condition but received the same advice.  The next day she took her son back to the GP. A ‘flu-like illness’ was diagnosed but no antibiotics were given. 

Signs of infection in hospital but no antibiotics

By the following day, the boy was lethargic, drowsy, hot to the touch and shivering with a temperature of 40.4°C.  He was noted to have vomited several days earlier and now again.  His mother took him to hospital, as advised by the GP. He was admitted to the paediatric (children’s) ward at 11pm. He had a high temperature and his blood tests results suggested infection. The next morning he was seen by a consultant. This doctor prescribed antibiotics for suspected meningitis whilst tests were carried out to confirm the diagnosis but the boy never received them. 
At noon the same day he deteriorated suddenly. He was transferred to a tertiary hospital and was admitted to ITU for treatment and ventilation. An MRI scan of his brain later confirmed that his brain had been damaged.

Earlier antibiotics would have avoided permanent injury

Our client’s family asked us to help them claim their son’s entitlement to compensation. We put the claim to the defendant hospital based on our experts’ conclusions that with correct antibiotic treatment seven hours sooner our client would have made a full recovery from his meningitis.

At first the defendant admitted that there had been a negligent delay in giving our client antibiotics. They denied that the delay made a difference to his outcome and was the cause of his permanent brain injury. However, the defendant admitted liability fully when we issued court proceedings. We secured liability judgment and, after valuing the claim, we negotiated a substantial settlement by way of compensation.

If you are caring for a child with severe disability caused by negligent treatment of meningitis and would like to find out more about making a claim, contact us by email on

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