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Family is suing Royal Caribbean after misdiagnosis aboard Symphony of the Seas


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Sooooo let me get this right. First: They boarded the cruise and on that same day/later that day, they took the infant to Medical?? Which leaves to believe the infant was already infected with Meningitis as the incubation period is between two and 10 days.

Second: For a definitive diagnosis of meningitis, you'll need a spinal tap to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Cruise Lines are not equipped to do this ESPECIALLY on a 9 month old infant.  The other route is by:

  • Swabbing nose or throat
  • Obtaining a stool sample
  • Taking some blood

But, for a 9 month old infant, it may be difficult to detect by these other methods.

My heart goes out to the family for what they have/are going through, BUT RCG is not at total blame here. If the infant was exposed prior to boarding the cruise ship, liability lessons.

My prayers are with this family.?

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22 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

I'm not blaming the family at all, but what would lead them to this belief?  Did they think they were sailing on Mayo Clinic of the Seas?  "“We were always under the impression that the medical facilities and staff on a ship were world class and world leading."

If I was traveling on the most well known cruise line, I would expect competent doctors, not butchers.  RCL loves to flaunt it's world class facility and staff, why does medical fall outside of those parameters?

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5 minutes ago, CruisinForABruisin said:

If I was traveling on the most well known cruise line, I would expect competent doctors, not butchers.  RCL loves to flaunt it's world class facility and staff, why does medical fall outside of those parameters?

ALL cruise lines medical facilities are not equipped for the BIGGER challenges, such as COVID, hence, the No Sail Order. But, with even that, RCG tends to address their shortcomings once an issue arises. Once again, hence the New Health Protocols.

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23 minutes ago, CruisinForABruisin said:

If I was traveling on the most well known cruise line, I would expect competent doctors, not butchers.  RCL loves to flaunt it's world class facility and staff, why does medical fall outside of those parameters?

I don't think anyone expects that RCG would have the facilities to "treat" such an illness but, as much as I am a fan of RCG, let's look at this impartially, they should have the facilities to "identify" a life threatening situation and the ability to evacuate a patient via the necessary means to a facility that is capable of handling the situation.  

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41 minutes ago, princevaliantus said:

Sooooo let me get this right. First: They boarded the cruise and on that same day/later that day, they took the infant to Medical?? Which leaves to believe the infant was already infected with Meningitis as the incubation period is between two and 10 days.

It's not clear from the article, but my impression is not that the infant got sick the day of boarding/departure.  It says they visited the infirmary "5 times that day" and says they got off at St Martin.  It's not even clear that the 5 visits and getting off were the same day, they could have gotten off the following morning.  If the ship departed Florida, could it even visit St Martin on the next day?  I would think there would be a sea day or stop in the Bahamas first.  Either way, the child almost certainly picked up the disease before arriving.

If it was departure day, I would think an infant presenting with a 104 fever would be encouraged or even forced to debark if it was before departure.  If it had left, would that be enough to turn the ship back to port for an emergency though?  Not certain.

If it was not departure day, I would expect the doctors to give fluids and keep an infant in the infirmary until the fever subsides, not send them back to their cabin multiple times.  So based on what is written, I can certainly see reason to sue the doctor.  I agree they shouldn't be expected to handle all major health emergencies on board, but recognizing, stabilizing, and quickly getting patients somewhere more appropriate is definitely their responsibility.

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Given the fact they booked through RC UK and T&CS clearly state that issues are dealt with in UK under UK Law this should not even be looked at by US Courts, simply because when this family booked cruise they agreed to all the T&Cs!

T&CS are there to protect everyone! We enter a contract of agreement knowing this and no court should overrule this as it will open up a precedent that will cause more harm than good 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, TXcruzer said:

Marginally.  It is a very sad story with a very unfortunate outcome; but there should be no expectation that this type of illness to be successfully diagnosed and treated on a cruise ship. Sorry, but just sensationalist click bait. 

Then maybe they should improve the health services on boats that carry small cities. Imagine if we had to rely on them to identify something like a virus? Wait...

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20 hours ago, Ray said:

Given the fact they booked through RC UK and T&CS clearly state that issues are dealt with in UK under UK Law this should not even be looked at by US Courts, simply because when this family booked cruise they agreed to all the T&Cs!

T&CS are there to protect everyone! We enter a contract of agreement knowing this and no court should overrule this as it will open up a precedent that will cause more harm than good 

 

 

Correct.  Assuming the T&C say what the article indicates, this case should be dismissed and refiled in England.  

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On 9/23/2020 at 1:45 PM, princevaliantus said:

For a definitive diagnosis of meningitis, you'll need a spinal tap to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

This I know to be true as I survived bacterial meningitis back in 2002. I had all the classic symptoms, but a spinal tap was needed to confirm the suspicions. I was sick for a couple of days before with some symptoms and even visited the ER and was told it was an "inner ear infection". The "classic" symptoms in my case, came on quickly and according to my Doctors,  I was a couple of hours away from dying, even though it was only an "inner ear infection" a couple of days sooner.  I don't know if the RC DR was to blame or not. I know some of the early symptoms in my case, mimicked a lot of other ailments.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the little girl and her family. 

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I’m not usually in favor of these kind of lawsuits. And I do have to agree that meningitis would be difficult to diagnose on a cruise ship’s medical facility. But I do have to say that I found it interesting that the article said that the child had a 104 fever and the medical staff sent them back to their cabin several times. I would think at the very least you would give a child with that kind of fever some Tylenol or Advil (if they weigh enough). Wasn’t said here if that was done. Anyone with a fever of 104 fever needs to be watched 

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On 9/23/2020 at 1:25 PM, SpeedNoodles said:

I'm not blaming the family at all, but what would lead them to this belief?  Did they think they were sailing on Mayo Clinic of the Seas?  "“We were always under the impression that the medical facilities and staff on a ship were world class and world leading."

Meningitis is the reason they start babies with fevers like this on antibiotics almost immediately... Any properly credentialed doctor should have caught it easily.

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3 minutes ago, LizzyBee23 said:

Meningitis is the reason they start babies with fevers like this on antibiotics almost immediately... Any properly credentialed doctor should have caught it easily.

I didn't say they shouldn't have.  But thinking that any cruise ship medical facility is "world class and world leading" is a ridiculous idea.

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On 9/23/2020 at 1:45 PM, princevaliantus said:

Second: For a definitive diagnosis of meningitis, you'll need a spinal tap to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). 

You do not wait for a definitive diagnosis to treat meningitis in babies. A high fever and lethargy is enough for a physician to admit your baby and start them on an IV in a heartbeat. Usually, you're waiting for the "definitive" tests to come back while you're trying your best to stay awake after the second night in the hospital and baby's 6th or 7th round of antibiotics. 

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On 9/24/2020 at 11:03 AM, TXcruzer said:

there should be no expectation that this type of illness to be successfully diagnosed and treated on a cruise ship

This is one of the most well-known causes of severe illness and death among children and babies. Any properly licensed doctor, who is qualified to provide medical care to children, should know the signs and the risks associated with meningitis. 

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8 hours ago, LizzyBee23 said:

You do not wait for a definitive diagnosis to treat meningitis in babies. A high fever and lethargy is enough for a physician to admit your baby and start them on an IV in a heartbeat. Usually, you're waiting for the "definitive" tests to come back while you're trying your best to stay awake after the second night in the hospital and baby's 6th or 7th round of antibiotics. 

You're comparing a ships Medical Dept. to a hospital. In all fairness, with this comparison, using your comparison, the family should then had been required to either be airlifted (extremely expensive) or gotten off the ship at the first port (expensive) and taken their baby to the hospital leaving, once again, the liability on the parents for their failure to act in the best interest of their child. This is how, most likely, the defense attorney will paint the picture to the jurors. 

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Lets not loose sight of the fact there is a child who is now a triple amputee at the heart of this story as we post.

As mentioned the child would have been infected before arriving on the ship.

Meningitis can often be misdiagnosed as the flu, especially in children. Not being in the consulting room I have no idea of the symptoms being exhibited at the time. Saying that most doctors, no mater if it was your GP or hospital (or ships dodctor), would want to rule meningitis out due to how quickly a patient, especially youth, can deteriorate. If the child was exhibiting flu like symptoms and the doctor didn't go through the process of eliminating meningitis then i would consider this abnormal. 

However.... again, we weren't in the consulting room. Maybe the doctor did check for symptoms (Fever, vomiting, nausea, stiff neck (both hard to determine in kids that can't communicate), light sensitivity etc) but there were non present. 

The sad thing is of course due to either a misdiagnoses (be it one that should have been made or one that wasn't made because symptoms weren't apparent and thus no fault) a child is now a triple amputee and my heart goes out to them and their family.

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26 minutes ago, EmersonNZ said:

Meningitis can often be misdiagnosed as the flu, especially in children.

Had both of my kids during flu season... Would not recommend, lol. My youngest catching the flu with me at 10 days old is the reason we were admitted to the hospital with a suspicion of meningitis (her flu swab was positive but since she was so young they still wanted to formally rule out meningitis). Her course of flu was extremely mild (maybe because of my flu shot, or maybe because I had a 24 hr head start on her with my own symptoms so we were in the hospital and they had her started on tamiflu within 6 hours of her fever going up).

I think meningitis tends to happen in outbreaks, and I had read about an uptick of cases in my area, which might explain why the doctors here were so quick to do what is necessary to rule it out (What happened with my newborn was the standard of care... it's that serious in babies of that age, which was surprising for me to learn. My older son was kept in the hospital for observation though not admitted for possible meningitis that same year (poor kid would get these almost intractable ear infections)... It's a bit easier to check for neck stiffness in kids of his age so we were sent home with strict instructions to return if anything changed or certain symptoms appeared).

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1 hour ago, LizzyBee23 said:

If a ship can't follow the standard of care for a child presenting with symptoms of meningitis, they shouldn't have children under 2 on board, and certainly shouldn't be running nurseries to entice parents of that age cohort on board.

Since they do not have the capability to perform cardiac procedures on board; should they stop marketing to the elderly, obese, and otherwise compromised?


While this tragedy is very sad and unfortunate, your statements regarding the expectation of the ship’s medical clinic are very unrealistic. 
 

I wonder the parent’s stance on vaccinations? A child this age should have had the meningitis vaccine. 

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1 hour ago, TXcruzer said:

 

 

1 hour ago, TXcruzer said:

Since they do not have the capability to perform cardiac procedures on board; should they stop marketing to the elderly, obese, and otherwise compromised?


While this tragedy is very sad and unfortunate, your statements regarding the expectation of the ship’s medical clinic are very unrealistic. 
 

I wonder the parent’s stance on vaccinations? A child this age should have had the meningitis vaccine. 

If they're not going to arrange for airlift when those passengers are in need of critical care, then no... Those passengers also shouldn't be allowed on board.

There is no meningitis vaccine. There is a vaccine for the bacteria which used to cause many cases of bacterial meningitis, but other things can and do cause many cases a year. Thankfully those children end up in the hands of competent physicians and urgent cares or pediatric offices across the country, who make sure they are taken to hospitals capable of caring for them.

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20 minutes ago, LizzyBee23 said:

 

If they're not going to arrange for airlift when those passengers are in need of critical care, then no... Those passengers also shouldn't be allowed on board.

There is no meningitis vaccine. There is a vaccine for the bacteria which used to cause many cases of bacterial meningitis, but other things can and do cause many cases a year. Thankfully those children end up in the hands of competent physicians and urgent cares or pediatric offices across the country, who make sure they are taken to hospitals capable of caring for them.

You are right, we should all huddle up at home and wait for someone else to care for and make decisions for us. 
 

BTW, The article states the child was given antibiotics, and sought treatment in St Maarten once docked. For the life of me I can’t imagine what more could have been done from the ship side perspective. Arranging an airlift as you mentioned above almost never happens for a multitude of reasons.  I am curious what you feel could have been done differently. 

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Rarely do all the facts get published in cases like this.  A lawyer for a family is free to state just about anything or twist events in an attempt to pursue a settlement.  Statements made outside of courtroom can include blatant lies and misrepresentations.  I have no idea if that is the case here, but use caution when reading one side of the story.  

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19 minutes ago, twangster said:

Rarely do all the facts get published in cases like this.  A lawyer for a family is free to state just about anything or twist events in an attempt to pursue a settlement.  Statements made outside of courtroom can include blatant lies and misrepresentations.  I have no idea if that is the case here, but use caution when reading one side of the story.  

Every story has two sides and when it comes down to money vs the truth, the truth doesn't always win out. Even when it should. 

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3 minutes ago, LizzyBee23 said:

From this blog: 

"Royal Caribbean cruise ships provide an advanced level of health care options that you might not be aware of."

Advanced care is certainly not the equivalent of "world class and world leading" (as would be Mayo).  You can beat me up all you want with this, but it's not the same.  And  you're believing the lawyer's version of this story.  That's one side, and everyone lies.

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13 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

Advanced care is certainly not the equivalent of "world class and world leading" (as would be Mayo).  You can beat me up all you want with this, but it's not the same.  And  you're believing the lawyer's version of this story.  That's one side, and everyone lies.

There's a little girl with no feet and one hand on the other side of this, too. 

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

Rarely do all the facts get published in cases like this.  A lawyer for a family is free to state just about anything or twist events in an attempt to pursue a settlement.  Statements made outside of courtroom can include blatant lies and misrepresentations.  I have no idea if that is the case here, but use caution when reading one side of the story.  

The tragic FOTS fatality is a prime example of this, where lawyers blamed everyone apart from the grandfather and it was only when cctv of the incident was leaked that grandfather changed his story and took responsibility for his actions. 

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3 hours ago, TXcruzer said:

You are right, we should all huddle up at home and wait for someone else to care for and make decisions for us. 
 

BTW, The article states the child was given antibiotics, and sought treatment in St Maarten once docked. For the life of me I can’t imagine what more could have been done from the ship side perspective. Arranging an airlift as you mentioned above almost never happens for a multitude of reasons.  I am curious what you feel could have been done differently. 

Your first paragraph is pure non sequitur: if RC isn't prepared to provide standard emergency medical care to children, as outlined by the medical organizations which govern such things, they shouldn't let children sail.

As for your second: unless you're a medical doctor or healthcare practitioner I'm not sure why your opinion or rhetorical question about "what else could be done" counts for anything. It is the standard of care to treat suspected meningitis in babies with a cocktail of drugs by IV until it is ruled out. The child presented with classical symptoms of meningitis and a high level of parental concern. I wonder why you believe an airlift wouldn't have been possible... In cases where that's truly the case (some portions of TA or where there are more than 2 sea days in a row) the sailing age is raised to 12 months for precisely the reasons I brought up above: you cannot get a child to medical care as quickly as may be required because of the severity and rapid onset of things like... Well: meningitis. Responsible sailing hinges on making tough decisions when needed. 

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Simple fact is RC has to meet certain criteria to be able to sail.

One of this critetia will be the provision of medical services, they obviously met this criteria. 

Now should we blame RC or should we blame the medical staff? 

Even on land doctors, nurses etc make mistakes, they give the wrong diagnosis , not saying its right but it happens. 

If a doctor is saying someone is not that bad you are not going to medivac them off the ship. 

 

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