Delayed Diagnosis of Lyme Disease
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a condition caused by bites from black-legged deer ticks infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi virus. The disease typically develops when an infected tick is attached to a person’s body for more than 36 hours, giving it time to transmit the virus. After a person develops Lyme disease, they may begin seeing signs as soon as several days later, though symptoms may manifest themselves months after the initial bite.
Signs of Lyme disease vary and may include:
- Brain inflammation
- Chest pain
- Confusion and disorientation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Facial paralysis/Bell’s palsy
- Irregular heartbeats
- Major fatigue
- Migraines and severe headaches
- Muscular degeneration in the face
- Neck stiffness
- Sharp pains
- Spinal cord inflammation
- Swelling and pain in joints
- Tingling in the extremities, such as hands, feet, etc.
- Warm, circular, and/or bullseye-shaped rashes
- Worsening eyesight
Reasons a Doctor May Fail to Quickly Diagnose & Treat Lyme Disease
Persons infected with Lyme disease may not exhibit all possible symptoms, making it challenging for doctors to come to a conclusive diagnosis and provide necessary treatment to stop the progression of the disease.
For example, the three stages of the disease (early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated Lyme) bring on unique sets of symptoms, which are increasingly severe as the infection spreads. The earliest stage typically involves a very telling, bullseye-shaped rash, but approximately 1/3 of all infected persons do to not exhibit this particular symptom. In such cases, fever and headaches may not at first glance seem sufficient to diagnose someone with Lyme disease, leading to delayed treatment and spreading of the infection. Many people with Lyme disease also experience varying and intermittent symptoms, making it difficult to identify the root cause.
Delayed Diagnosis & Treatment May Amount to Medical Malpractice
Regardless of the diagnostic challenge that Lyme disease may present, doctors and other medical professionals have a responsibility to perform a comprehensive analysis using effective methods of analysis. An overwhelming majority of people who suffer from Lyme disease report that they did not receive an accurate diagnosis until 6 months – 2 years after contracting the disease, allowing it to spread while they underwent treatments for other conditions.
Delayed diagnosis can lead to worsened symptoms, costly medical bills, and a quality of life that is all but destroyed. When doctors fail to appropriately evaluate your symptoms and provide a correct diagnosis within a reasonable time frame, it does patients a great disservice and may even constitute medical malpractice.
What to Do if a Delayed Diagnosis Caused You Unnecessary Suffering
If you have been harmed or experienced additional suffering because your doctor failed to correctly diagnose your Lyme disease, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in order to recover compensation for tangible damages (such as hospital bills, lost wages, etc.) and non-tangible damages (such as pain and suffering, emotional anguish, etc.).
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Clients in Dallas
At Crain Lewis Brogdon, LLP, we may be able to help file a medical malpractice claim. We have successfully represented many patients who have suffered at the hands of negligent physicians and other care providers. When you call us for help, we will evaluate your case and provide wise counsel regarding your options.
Call (214) 301-5007 today to speak to a medical malpractice attorney in Dallas and schedule your free, confidential consultation.