CoS upholds ruling awarding 260,000 euros to family of boy in misdiagnosis case

The Council of State upheld an appeals court ruling awarding 260,000 euros to the family of a 14-year-old boy who died of meningococcal septicemia in 1998 because the doctor who treated him misdiagnosed his condition.

The boy was brought to the outpatient clinic of a hospital in Epirus with high fever, headache, coughing, nausea and dizziness. He was examined by an on-duty trainee doctor who took his temperature, ordered a face x-ray, haematological and biochemical medical exams and placed on IV. After the results of the exams, the trainee doctor rule out meningitis and diagnosed a viral infection adding it may had affected the boy’s sinuses. When the patient’s fever dropped, he sent him home. The 14-year-old was never examined by the main doctor because the one on duty was reportedly busy in the Pathology Department.

The boy was urgently brought back by his parents after midnight in a state of shock and died two hours later. The trainee doctor was found guilty of manslaughter and handed a 30-month prison sentence.

According to the ruling, the accused “did not evaluate correctly the clinical symptoms and misdiagnosed them as a viral infection when, based on the clinical symptoms, the patient should have been brought immediately to the pathology clinic and administered strong antibiotics while waiting for the cerebrospinal fluid culture, which is the only safe test for diagnosing meningococcal disease.”