Failing to diagnose Lyme Disease Can be Medical Malpractice

Lyme disease is caused by a bite tick that which causes the victim to contract a bacterial infection.  Bite victims may suffer from a rash, chills, a fever, and possibly a headache.  Sometimes these symptoms will be severe, other times they will be mild. 

This disease is quite treatable with a timely diagnosis, but Lyme disease left untreated can lead to arthritis, cardiac disease, and even neurological disorders. 

Should New Yorker’s be concerned?  Yes!  From 2003 through the end of 2011, there were over 40,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in New York State.  So, what should your doctor be doing in order to properly diagnose whether or not you have contracted the disease?

Common diagnostic routines involve simple body exams in which the medical professional will look for a round and red rash.  The rash would be located at the site of the tick bite and such is indicative of Lyme disease infection.  If there is no rash, the doctor will consider symptoms such as headaches, muscle soreness, tiredness, and fevers in relation to what the patient reports to have been doing at around the time before symptoms commenced; e.g. hiking, camping, proximity to animals, and where these activities took place.  A simple blood test would confirm the bacterial infection. 

What if my doctor should have diagnosed me with Lyme disease, but failed to do such?  Failing to diagnose a patient at all or providing a wrong diagnosis is grounds for a medical malpractice claim.  Certain elements must be proved at trial if the plaintiff-patient expects to seek compensation for the medical error. 

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys know what those elements are: the existence of a patient-doctor relationship; the existence of a duty; breach of the duty owed to the patient; proximate causation; and damages.  With any one of these missing, the plaintiff will fail at obtaining recovery.   

The elements expanded: the actions of medical professionals are guided by prescribed standards of care.  If the doctor deviated from those standards, then there is a breach of the duty owed to the plaintiff.  But a breach does not equate to medical negligence unless the patient suffered harm there from that was proximately caused by the breach.  Proximate cause is the direct, natural, and uninterrupted consequence of the medical professional’s breach. 

That breach must have caused the patient to suffer from some sort of injury.  The injury must have caused the patient to suffer damages because without damages there can be no recovery.  Damages are simply the monetary expression of the patient’s loss as a result of the malpractice; lost work, money spent on medical bills, pain, suffering, etc. 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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