Misdiagnosis of Baby’s Meningitis Leads to $1.72 Million Jury Verdict

Three-month-old Emma Takacs developed a poor appetite. She had a fever that was in excess of 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Emma’s mom and dad took her to a hospital’s emergency room where a nurse documented Emma’s abnormal vital signs and fussiness.

An emergency department doctor, Duane Siberski, M.D., examined Emma. Dr. Siberski diagnosed an ear infection.  Emma was discharged with a prescription for an oral antibiotic and her parents were given instructions to take her to see a pediatrician, if needed.

A few days later, Emma was found to be lethargic and her skin was cool to the touch. Emma’s parents brought her to another hospital where she was diagnosed as having bacterial meningitis, a hypoxic brain injury and hydrocephalous.  Hydrocephalous is a medical term for what is known as “water on the brain.”  The condition is one in which an abnormal accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid lodges in the ventricles or cavities of the brain. It can be caused by and is connected with the bacterial meningitis that results in an inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and the spinal cord. That tissue is called “meninges.”  Acute bacterial meningitis is a very serious condition.

Because of this diagnosis, Emma was hospitalized on multiple occasions. She died of complications of meningitis and respiratory insufficiency almost two years later.

Emma’s parents, individually and on behalf of Emma’s estate, filed a lawsuit against Dr. Siberski and the hospital.  The lawsuit alleged that the emergency department physician, Dr. Siberski, chose not to timely diagnose and treat Emma’s meningitis by running a routine blood test and also by choosing not to administer intravenous antibiotics that may have thwarted the advance of the bacteria. 

After hearing the evidence in this case, the jury returned a verdict of $1,720,000 against Dr. Siberski and the hospital.

The attorney for the Takacs family was David K. Inscho.

Takacs v. Reading Hosp. & Med. Ctr., No. 09-9629 (Pa., Berks Co. Com. Pleas June 14, 2013).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling birth injury cases, medical negligence cases, wrongful death cases and nursing home abuse cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Glen Ellyn, Glendale Heights, Oakbrook Terrace, Peoria, Villa Park, Bellwood, River Forest, Bedford Park, Hickory Hills, Woodridge, Darien and Cicero, Ill.

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