Many people are under the impression that Lyme disease is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States and that Lyme disease misdiagnosis cases are also of recent vintage. However, Lyme disease misdiagnosis claims have been around for over a decade and appear to us to be increasing in frequency, based on the inquiries that we have been receiving. In our research, we came upon a 1999 case involving Lyme disease misdiagnosis that resulted in a Maryland medical malpractice jury verdict in the amount of $3.2 million that was reduced to just over $1.7 million due to Maryland’s cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases.
The Maryland medical malpractice jury deliberated for almost eight hours before rendering its verdict in favor of a 14-year-old boy who was misdiagnosed in 1996. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, the teenager sought medical treatment at a Maryland family practice medical group on April 1, 1996 because he had many symptoms associated with Lyme disease: fatigue, a rash, swollen glands, nausea, flu-like symptoms, and aches and pains in his joints. The teen was seen several more times at the family practice group but the medical staff failed to order even a simple blood test that the medical malpractice lawsuit alleged would have helped diagnose the boy’s Lyme disease. The teen was not diagnosed with Lyme disease until after he collapsed with seizures in a hospital emergency room in August 1996 and blood tests at the hospital confirmed Lyme disease.
The medical malpractice defendants alleged that the teenager had Lyme disease for only a few weeks before he collapsed in the hospital emergency room in August 1996 and that about six weeks before the seizures, the boy developed a rash consistent with Lyme disease but did not seek medical treatment at the family practice group between the time of the discovery of the rash and his seizures in the hospital emergency room. The boy’s mother countered that she made 72 telephone calls to the family practice group during a several month period that were never answered.
As a result of the delay in diagnosing and treating the teen’s Lyme disease, the medical malpractice lawsuit claimed that the boy was unable to complete the ninth grade and that his IQ dropped significantly (from 115 in 1995 to between 86 and 103, as measured by subsequent testing).
The Maryland medical malpractice jury determined that the family practice group was responsible for the teenager’s injuries and losses for the failure to timely diagnose and treat his Lyme disease. The jury also determined that one of the family practice group’s physicians breached the standard of care but that the breach did not directly cause harm to the boy. Another physician in the family practice group was found to have not breached the standard of care.
If you or a loved one were late diagnosed or misdiagnosed with Lyme disease and you or your loved one suffered harms as a result, you should promptly contact a local medical malpractice attorney with regard to your possible Lyme disease claim.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers (Lyme disease lawyers) in your state who may be willing to investigate your Lyme disease claim for you and file a Lyme disease case on your behalf, if appropriate.
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