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Chronic Ear Infections and Otitis Media

Our Michigan medical malpractice lawyers frequently represent children in cases against negligent doctors, clinics, and hospitals.  One type of case is the failure to properly treat and diagnose the conditionsof chronic ear infections.

Chronic ear infections, also known as chronic otitis media, are the result of persistent infections or inflammations of the middle ear that keep coming back.  This can be caused by fluid that is trapped behind the eardrum.

The primary cause of chronic ear infections is blockage of the Eustachian tube from allergies, multiple ear infections, ear trauma, or swelling of the adenoids.

This medical condition is more severe when the middle ear is actually infected (due to bacteria or a virus) rather than merely inflamed.  This could result in damage to the eardrum or rupture if the fluid is not eventually drained.

Ear pain is a well known consequence of an ear infection, but the consequences of chronic otitis media can be much more severe.  Especially when the middle ear is actually infected, the possible consequences can include:
  • Pus-like drainage from the ear
  • Development of cysts
  • Infection of one or more skull bones
  • Facial Paralysis
  • Inflammation around the brain
  • Permanent hearing loss, whether partial or total deafness.
Although these more severe consequences are relatively rare when compared to the number of ear infections that are treated each year, it is obviously important to reduce the risk of their developing to the extent possible.  Pediatricians are trained to perform a number of relatively simple tests to ensure chronic ear infections do not develop into a severe problem.  These tests include visual exams of the ear canal, cultures of any drainage, x-rays or CT scans, and hearing tests.

In many cases ,the treatment for chronic ear infection is as simple as prescribing antibiotics, although it should be noted that a child may have to take antibiotics for a longer period depending on the severity and number of ear infections he or she has had.  In other cases, surgery is necessary to drain the ear canals or repair a damaged eardrum.

When a doctor negligently fails to diagnose chronic otitis media or fails to prescribe a proper treatment and the patient suffers further damage because of that error, the child may have a valid medical malpractice claim.  

Our experienced Michigan medical malpractice lawyers can help evaluate the case.
Parents can learn more about medical malpractice lawsuits by visiting our firm's medical malpractice section. Another great resource on Michigan medical malpractice cases is our FREE BOOK, "The Ultimate Medical Malpractice Handbook," which will answer many questions you may have on these cases.