I reviewed factors contributing to diagnostic delay in 12 children who had symptoms of meningitis for more than three days before diagnosis. Prior antibiotic therapy was more common in children with delayed diagnosis. Parental factors included possible neglect in oiiie child and passivity and failure to recognize the seriousness of the illness in six children. Physicians failed to recognize prodromal symptoms in five cases. A lack of continuity of care was a contributing factor in nine cases.
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