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Ben Glass
Ben Glass
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Meningitis Death Leads to Lawsuit

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On Friday, January 11, a medical malpractice lawsuit was filed against the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), by the family of Anne Ryan, a college sophomore who died from meningitis at the hospital on September 9. The family is alleging misdiagnosis and mistreatment by HUP.

According to the family’s lawyer, Thomas Kline, emergency room doctors at HUP failed to properly diagnose Ryan during her initial visit to the hospital on September 6 when she complained of meningitis-like symptoms. He claims that during her second visit on September 8, the doctors then performed a spinal tap that was “unnecessary and unwarranted” and caused her brain to herniate.

A statement was released by the University the day the suit was filed defending the medical team’s actions and denying the allegations of misdiagnosis.

According to Kline, Ryan displayed symptoms much like those of meningitis, including fever, nausea, and a head and neck ache upon her initial visit.

According to Kline, an analysis of her spinal fluid came back negative for bacteria, even though blood tests revealed her to have a high white blood cell count and low spinal fluid sugar, evidence of bacterial infection. She was diagnosed as having a viral infection, given nausea medication, and discharged.

After her condition worsened, Ryan returned to the hospital and doctors performed a CAT scan that showed swelling of the brain, said Klein. At that point, Ryan was given antibiotics to treat meningitis, but the doctors also performed a second spinal tap, which Kline alleges was the cause of Ryan’s brain herniating