Is This Illness the Most Misdiagnosed Disease in the World?
Tens of thousands of Americans have been afflicted by a mysterious illness that causes chronic fatigue, muscle aches, night sweats and chills. No, this is not the flu, it’s Lyme disease, a vector-borne illness (meaning it is caused by bites, mostly from ticks).
The illness mimics so many other conditions that it’s frequently called ‘the great imitator’. Centers for Disease Control statistics show 30,000 to 300,000 Americans are stricken with this disease every year (many of whom are children). This huge variation suggests the medical community is having problems accurately diagnosing patients.
If Lyme disease is not diagnosed and patients go without treatment, they can develop chronic symptoms.
Why Lyme Disease Misdiagnosis Can Ruin Lives
An Every Day Health blogger described her struggle of living with chronic Lyme disease. She spent years in pain, too weak to perform even the most basic tasks. After years of bouncing between doctors, she finally received a correct diagnosis. Much to her annoyance, doctors had used an ELISA test to check if she had Lyme disease. She may have been misdiagnosed because ELISA tests for Lyme disease have a high rate of false-negatives, meaning patients can test negative when they are positive.
In addition, her symptoms mimicked illnesses like the Epstein-Barr virus. This woman’s undiagnosed illness destroyed her professional and personal life. She went through a divorce and could no longer perform her job.
When patients with Lyme disease are misdiagnosed, they can suffer for many years. Some will become too sick to carry on with their normal lives. Patients should never have to go through this kind of suffering.
The Tampa Bay medical malpractice attorneys at Shapiro Law Group can hold hospitals accountable for mistakes.