Pennsylvania’s new problem: Mistreating Lyme disease
Confirmed cases of Lyme disease have exploded in recent years. With climate change and wild animal numbers suspected to be part of the reason behind this, what is known is that it’s already become a major problem.
Cases of Lyme disease are greatly focused in the North-Eastern region of the United States and Pennsylvania is at the heart of this hotspot. Commonly picked up in grassy and wooded areas, Bucks and Montgomery counties area are particularly at risk, however, cases of Lyme disease have been confirmed all around the United States.
Not only is Lyme disease the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, it’s also experiencing the fastest growth rate of similarly transmitted ailments. Pennsylvania witnessed a 20% rise in annually confirmed new cases in 2016, that itself being a 50% rise over the figure from 2014.
This year began with more than 1,200 proven infections within the first six months and suspected cases have still been showing positive throughout the autumnal months when traditionally they’ve rarely been a problem.
While the disease can be successfully treated if caught early enough, less than half of the people to have contracted the rubeola virus ever recall being bitten by a tick which can often mask the truth from plain sight.
The Great Imitator
Because Lyme disease can cause different initial symptoms to different people, it’s often referred to as the great imitator. There are generic symptoms which can be used to help identify the disease, however, these aren’t 100% accurate due to the diverse way it can show up in a patient.
Further to this, a common medical method of identifying the disease was through applying blood tests such as the Elisa test or the Western blot. These tests are not precise enough to be relied upon by themselves and a clinical diagnosis remains the only sure way of establishing whether Lyme disease is present.
Due to a substantial number of scientific papers highlighting the ineffectiveness and unreliability of these tests, this is now a well-known fact in the medical community. Therefore, if a doctor does not follow up any blood tests with a clinical examination, they are liable for failing to properly examine a patient.
Filing for Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania
The statute of limitations for making a claim for medical malpractice varies from state-to-state, however, in Pennsylvania this is set at two years.
The time begins not from the moment the injury occurs but the time at which the injured party realizes they’ve been mistreated. Legally, this also includes the time at which the injured party had good reason to determine there’s a serious problem.
While two years may seem plenty of time to file a complaint, it takes time to put a case together. Having more time available to build a case can also greatly improve your chances of victory, hence the best time to contact a lawyer is as soon as possible.
If you think that you or someone you know has been affected by a misdiagnosis, seeking professional help should be your main priority. This includes both medical and legally trained specialists.
For more information regarding Lyme disease and launching a malpractice lawsuit, Read more here to review your options.