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Patients lack proper diagnosis for lyme disease, report says

Arizona residents may be familiar with the lack of proper diagnosis for people struggling with Lyme disease. According to a recent study, two-thirds of 6,104 Lyme disease patients surveyed said that they waited longer than two years before they were given an accurate diagnosis, while nearly 50 percent stated that their Lyme test results were either denied or delayed by their doctors who affirmed there had been no sign of the disease in the immediate area. Only one-fifth of the respondents stated that they received an accurate diagnosis within half a year from the start of their symptoms.

The report also noted that three-fourths of the patients surveyed stated their health was in poor or fair condition while half admitted to having suffered with the illness for more than a decade. A medical expert from San Francisco who specializes in tick-borne diseases said that if people suffering with Lyme disease receive immediate diagnosis and treatment, it can help to avert lasting complications.

Researchers believe that faulty lab testing and a misunderstanding on the origin of Lyme disease are the reasons why more than half of the cases are missed. The disease has been reported in all 50 states as well as in more than 60 countries around the world. In many cases, doctors confuse Lyme disease symptoms with other sicknesses, resulting in patients receiving wrong medications. Proper diagnosis and treatment at the beginning of symptoms, however, can help these people avoid chronic disabilities later on.

People who are disabled due to a misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis might consider pursuing damages via a medical malpractice claim. With the help of a local attorney, victims may be entitled to recoup financial losses for any follow-up medical procedures required to correct the medical errors documented. Other pursuable damages may include pain and suffering, permanent disability and future medical care.

Source: Nurse News, "Misdiagnosis of Lyme disease problematic", July 1, 2015

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