University Of Oregon Student Files $3M Lawsuit Over Delayed Meningitis Diagnosis

By Duna Bil , Jan 14, 2017 01:42 AM EST
390334 08: Salem High School recent graduate Eric Evans yawns while waiting with other students for their meningitis vaccine from the Columbiana County Health Department June 8, 2001 in Salem, OH. Area high school students were required to receive the vaccine after a recent outbreak of the disease. (Photo : Mike Simons/Getty Images)

 Christina Jenkins, a University of Oregon student, is filing a lawsuit seeking $3 million in damages against Oregon Medical Group Clinic for allegedly not diagnosing her properly. Christina was told to be suffering from a "viral syndrome" by the physician's assistant that time and advised to go home, rest, and take plenty of fluids. By her mother's insistence, she went against the clinic's recommendation and went to a different facility where she was diagnosed with meningococcal disease. 

Christina was one of several people affected by a meningitis outbreak that struck the University of Oregon between January and May 2015. Early morning in mid-January, Christina showed signs of the infection such as high fever, vomiting, cough, chills, and sore throat. She went to Oregon Medical Group clinic at 1 PM where her mother specifically asked for the doctor's assistant to give a test for meningitis. 

Instead, Elizabeth Struble, the assistant, administered a nasal swab test to check for flu. The University of Oregon student was then told to go home, rest, and rehydrate. Suspecting something serious was causing her daughter's illness, Christina's mother urged to seek a second opinion. That's when she was properly diagnosed with meningitis by a different medical provider and was then transferred to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, the Daily Emerald says. 

The lawsuit alleges medical negligence against Oregon Medical Group for not checking the plaintiff thoroughly which resulted to delayed diagnosis of the infection which could have resulted to her death. It also seeks financial reparation for the permanent damages she incurred in her heart and lungs, for the emotional distress it caused her, and for the $500,000 hospital bill her family had to pay due to the misdiagnosis, the Register Guard reports. 

Meningococcal disease have been active this week as it infected and killed a healthy teenager hours after waking up. Health officials are warning hospitals to consider meningitis as they diagnose patients with high fever, rashes that won't go away, and vomiting. The lawsuit filed by the university of Oregon student is a good reminder for hospitals to be vigilant in making their diagnosis.  


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