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Failure to diagnose is common with Lyme disease

It’s Lyme Disease Awareness Month across Louisiana and the country, and those out enjoying hikes or other activities in the great outdoors should take note. Lyme disease, which can develop following a tick bite, can change a person’s life forever.

Since there are a wide variety of symptoms that a Lyme disease patient might experience, it is difficult for doctors to diagnose the disease. In fact, Lyme disease is called “The Great Imitator” because a physician is highly likely to misdiagnose the disease. 

Patients might have symptoms such as memory loss or even food allergies. A thorough doctor may investigate all of a patient’s symptoms and ask probing questions to determine whether Lyme disease can be ruled out.

Any time that a patient believes he or she has had a tick bite, they should get a physical evaluation from a doctor. Getting a second opinion early on is another way to decrease the chances of misdiagnosis.

Being diagnosed too late can be bad news for Lyme disease patients. Patients who are not properly diagnosed may be forced to take more than 40 pills a day and go through serious treatments involving electromagnetic currents.

Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose are two of the most critical errors that doctors can make because it might lead patients to believe they have a medical condition that they don’t have, or to miss out on getting early treatments for a condition they do have.

Patients rely on their doctors for appropriate advice, diagnosis, and medications, but unfortunately medical malpractice can occur as a result of mistakes in these areas. If you feel you are the victim of a preventable diagnostic error, an attorney may be able to address some of your concerns while you cope with your medical issues. Not all misdiagnoses are preventable, but in some cases they are caused by doctors' mistakes and victims of medical malpractice should protect their rights. 

Source: ABC WGGB, “Late Diagnosis Complicates Lyme Disease Symptoms,” May 8, 2014 

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