Delayed Meningitis Diagnosis Results in $3 Million Lawsuit

January 16th 2017
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor

University of Oregon student sues physician assistant and Oregon-based medical centers.

The misdiagnosis of a University of Oregon (UO) student resulted in a $3 million lawsuit, according toThe Register-Guard.

During the 2015 meningitis outbreak, Christine Jenkins sought care from the Oregon Medical Group Clinic in Eugene, OR, for symptoms of fever, chills, sore throat, vomiting, congestion, and cough.

According to the lawsuit, a physician’s assistant (PA) administered a nasal swab test for the flu. When the test came back negative, the PA concluded that Jenkins was suffering from a “viral syndrome” and advised her to get some rest and drink more fluids,The Register-Guardreported.

At her mother’s insistence, Jenkins visited another medical clinic later that same night where she was diagnosed with meningococcal disease, according toThe Register-Guard. Jenkins was rushed to Oregon Health & Science University hospital in Portland, OR, where she remained for more than 2 weeks.

Now, Jenkins has filed a $3 million lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court against Oregon Healthcare Resources, Oregon Medical Group, the OHR Physician Group, and PA Elizabeth Strubel, who administered the nasal swab test.

The lawsuit alleges medical negligence and contends that Oregon Medical Group failed to properly diagnose Jenkins by not performing a blood test, checking eyes or skin for busted blood vessels, assessing her mental status, or starting her on antibiotics immediately, reportedThe Register-Guard.

As a result of delayed diagnosis, the lawsuit alleges that Jenkins went into septic shock, which caused permanent damage to her heart and lungs, according toThe Register-Guard. Additionally, the suit states Jenkins suffered additional permanent injuries and emotional distress, including difficulty swallowing, medication sensitivity, scarring from surgical procedures, and the overall effects on her quality of life.

For overall care, Jenkins’ medical bills totaled $500,000.

Other lawsuits have been filed relating to the 2015 UOmeningitisoutbreak that infected 7 individuals.

Lauren Camille Jones, a UO freshman, also fell ill 1 month after Jenkins’ diagnosis. Jones sought care at the PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District, in the early hours of February 17, 2015. Her family reports that she was sent home and advised to take Tylenol and stay hydrated. Later, Jones was found unconscious in her dorm room and died that afternoon, according toThe Register-Guard.

The Jones’ family filed a $2.5 million lawsuit last March against the hospital and physicians.

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