According to a recently-published study, Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed or not recognized in a patient. Of 6,104 patients who took part in a survey conducted by an advocacy website, 61 percent said it took two years or more to receive a correct diagnosis. Roughly half said that it took up to 10 years to correctly diagnose their Lyme disease and that they were in fair or poor health during that time.
Although the disease is treatable, treatments are more effective when symptoms first present themselves. Additionally, complications can develop in patients who are left untreated for several months or years. It is believed that a lack of proper testing and understanding of the condition are main factors as to why so many patients are misdiagnosed. It is possible to contract the condition in all 50 states and many countries around the world.
Another issue is the fact that Lyme can often mimic the symptoms of other diseases. For instance, it can be confused with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or mood disorders. According to the CDC, there are 300,000 cases of Lyme each year, and 25 percent of those cases involve children. Those who suffer from the disease say that they had to cut back their hours at work or quit their jobs to deal with the condition.
Patients who are subject to a misdiagnosis may suffer from serious complications from their illness. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to discuss the case with a medical malpractice attorney. A review of the applicable medical records and other evidence may enable legal counsel to determine if the patient’s worsened condition was due to a doctor’s failure to exercise the appropriate standard of care.