Miami-Dade Teen's Meningitis Death Triggers Public Health Alert

Oct 16, 2012

Questions arise after the sudden death of 18-year-old Christopher Valdes. Are there more bacterial meningitis cases in Miami-Dade County? And was this one misdiagnosed? Even after a specific plea to consider meningitis, doctors sent him home with painkillers and nausea pills. A few hours later, he was dead.  Christopher's father tells the Miami Herald, "I feel they were negligent."

Mom texted her family, 'Ask about meningitis.' Hours later, her son was dead.
Credit Stuart Miles /

The teen went home with prescriptions for ibuprofen, and for Zofran for nausea and vomiting, his father said. They were instructed to seek more medical attention if conditions worsened. About 5 a.m., Christopher woke up his father and complained of a rash and feeling awful. 

They rushed to the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital South. “At the ER, it was too late,” his father said.

Fever, headache, stiff neck and nausea are some of the symptoms of meningitis. The Mayo Clinic offers a comprehensive collection of meningitis resources. However, the fungal meningitis that has killed more than a dozen people in a current outbreak is a different disease.