West Nile Diagnosis in MD and Medical Malpractice

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Posted on Aug 20, 2015


An adult living in the Baltimore region has contracted West Nile Virus. The virus, which is most commonly transmitted to humans thorugh mosquitoes, has no cure and no vaccines to prevent it. 

According to the CDC, around 20% of people with the virus are likely to have headaches, diarrhea, vomiting and rashes - they will almost always recover from these symptoms. The other 80% of people affected with the virus will show no symptoms at all. Since it is so rare to have symptoms with this virus, it may be hard for doctors to properly diagnose it. That happens occasionally in medicine.

Misdiagnoses often means medical malpractice. 

If you have a rare illness, your doctor is of course still obliged to follow established rules and guidelines so he can diagnose you correctly and give you the appropriate level of care. There are rules set in place for doctors to diagnose and treat even uncommon illnesses.  

Thankfully, the vast majority of people have common illnesses and conditions - medical conditions that should be diagnosed and treated according to established guidelines.

And that's where the medical mistake ususally happens...

Many times a missed diagnosis happens because the hospital system, doctor, or medical team caring for the patient didn't take the time to get all of the information they needed to make the correct diagnosis.  Too many times doctors, hospitals, nurses, techs and everyone else is in too big of a hurry and they miss signs, symptoms and lab results they need to properly diagnose and treat the patient.

If the misdiagnosis meant a delay in treatment, incorrect treatment, or no treatment at all for a period of time that caused severe injuries to the patient, it may be medical malpractice. All medical malpractice is the result of a choice - one that could have been prevented. 

Here are some things to look for:

Did your doctor ask for your complete medical history?

Did they misinterpret lab results?

Did they use specialists and refer you to other practitioners with specific knowledge?

Often times, it is difficult to diagnose a rare disease. Still, if your health care provider does not take steps to become properly informed - that means asking you all you know about your health record and seeking help from other specialists - then you may have a medical malpractice case if you get hurt.  

If you think you've been hurt due to medical malpractice, call us at 202-393-3320. We're here to help.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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