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Urgent care staff must be alert to atypical signs of life-threatening meningococcal septicemia

Date:
February 24, 2014
Source:
RCN Publishing Company
Summary:
Nurses working in emergency care environments must be trained to recognize the atypical signs and symptoms of meningococcal septicemia. A new, study reveals how easy it is for such symptoms to be missed, delaying diagnosis and treatment of a patient with the life-threatening condition. A case study in a newly published article outlines a typical situation, and why nurse training in imperative.

Nurses working in emergency care environments must be trained to recognize the atypical signs and symptoms of meningococcal septicaemia.

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A case study, published in Emergency Nurse, reveals how easy it is for such symptoms to be missed, delaying diagnosis and treatment of a patient with the life-threatening condition.

The patient, a 36-year-old woman, presented at an emergency department with intense pain in both legs and a blotchy rash, also on her legs. She was given various drugs, including codeine and subsequently intravenous morphine, with no effect on her 10/10 pain score.

Four hours after presentation and nine hours after onset of symptoms she was transferred to the intensive care unit for further investigations and support, and eventually diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia and transferred to a specialist neurological unit. At the time of going to press, her prognosis was uncertain.

The article states the patient had some signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis but not typical ones such as headache, neck stiffness and light sensitivity. Staff, therefore, decided to manage her pain before attempting diagnosis.

The author recommends that nurses and doctors working in emergency care settings are trained to recognize the atypical signs and symptoms of meningococcal septicaemia, in line with national guidelines and sepsis bundles.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by RCN Publishing Company. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Beverley Cole. Identifying and treating a life-threatening disease. Emergency Nurse, 2014; 21 (9): 18 DOI: 10.7748/en2014.02.21.9.18.e1247

Cite This Page:

RCN Publishing Company. "Urgent care staff must be alert to atypical signs of life-threatening meningococcal septicemia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224133101.htm>.
RCN Publishing Company. (2014, February 24). Urgent care staff must be alert to atypical signs of life-threatening meningococcal septicemia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224133101.htm
RCN Publishing Company. "Urgent care staff must be alert to atypical signs of life-threatening meningococcal septicemia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140224133101.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

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