Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Lyme disease misdiagnosis is common and costly

Lyme disease cases have shown up in Maryland and everywhere else in the United States. A recent survey found a significant rate of misdiagnosis of patients with Lyme disease because physicians believe that it can only be contracted in certain geographical areas. Also contributing to the high rate of misdiagnosis are lab tests, which were shown to produce a false negative result in half the cases surveyed.

As with many other illnesses, a misdiagnosis of Lyme disease can result in negative health outcomes in at least two ways. First, the individual who is not diagnosed correctly does not receive the proper early treatment. Second, a patient who is erroneously diagnosed with another condition may be prescribed medication incorrectly. Both of these occurrences can lead to disabilities which might otherwise be avoided with a accurate early diagnosis.

Lyme disease has financial as well as health implications. Almost half of the survey respondents reported that they had to quit work or reduce their work hours as a result of the malady. In addition, 20 percent of the respondents reported that they received private or public disability benefits at some point. Given the survey results, it is likely that some of these consequences could have been avoided with a correct initial diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment.

There are about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease each year in the United States. An individual suffering from the symptoms of Lyme disease, which often mimic those of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, who has received an incorrect diagnosis may want to consult with an attorney with experience in medical malpractice matters. A failure to diagnose the disease properly that resulted in the patient suffering further harm may be deemed a breach of duty to furnish the requisite standard of care, possibly resulting in the doctor being held financially responsible for the patient's damages.

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