$1,412,500 Settlement for Late Diagnosed Viral Herpes Meningitis

Plaintiff, now 22 years old, was under the care of two pediatricians following her birth – one in the hospital at the time of discharge, the other in an outpatient pediatric clinic. When seen by the first pediatrician, plaintiff had one drying blister on her scalp. By the time she saw her outpatient pediatrician one week later, she had three drying blisters on her scalp. The drying blisters were signs of the herpes virus, which went unrecognized. The girl should have been referred to an infectious disease consultant, who could have started an anti-viral medication (Acyclovir), which would have reduced the chances of the virus spreading to the central nervous system. After presenting to the outpatient pediatrician, the infant returned with a high fever and was admitted to the hospital, where the diagnosis of viral meningitis was made. Acyclovir was started, but not soon enough to prevent permanent brain injury. The child has subsequently required special education. Both pediatricians contributed to the settlement, although the diagnosis of HSV was never confirmed by laboratory testing.