One of the most common medical malpractice inquiries we receive are from people throughout the United States who are suffering chronic and often debilitating symptoms that they firmly believe are due to the unnecessary and negligent delay in diagnosing their Lyme disease and/or the undue delay or failure to properly treat their Lyme disease.
Many of these Lyme disease sufferers explain that their symptoms were ignored and/or mistreated by various medical specialists such as infectious disease doctors and neurologists until they were able to find Lyme-literate doctors, often many miles from their homes, who finally diagnosed their ailments as associated with chronic Lyme disease (also known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome).
We are often told that despite now being treated by Lyme-literate doctors, their suffering has not been significantly alleviated. There is no doubt that many lives have been devastated by Lyme disease and that new victims are experiencing persistent symptoms that they associate with their long-lasting Lyme disease. These long-term symptoms are often associated with pain, fatigue, and cognitive or neurological disturbances.
With such overwhelming anecdotal evidence that some Lyme disease victims appear to experience long-lasting and life-altering symptoms that last for weeks, months, or even years, the empirical medical evidence leads to much controversy in the medical field as to whether chronic Lyme disease is real and the proper treatment for lingering symptoms. There is also controversy as to the proper treatment of diagnosed Lyme disease: while most guidelines do not recommend antimicrobial therapy for longer than 2 to 4 weeks, other guidelines recommend prolonged antibiotic therapy.
Recent Study Of Long-Term Lyme Disease Treatment
In an article published on March 31, 2016 in The New England Journal of Medicine entitled, “Randomized Trial of Longer-Term Therapy for Symptoms Attributed to Lyme Disease,” the authors stated that the treatment of persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease remains controversial and they sought to assess whether longer-term antibiotic treatment of persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease leads to better outcomes than does shorter-term treatment.
The study involved a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in Europe. Two hundred eighty patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease (either related temporally to proven Lyme disease or accompanied by a positive IgG or IgM immunoblot assay for Borrelia burgdorferi ) were assigned to receive a 12-week oral course of doxycycline, clarithromycin plus hydroxychloroquine, or placebo.
All study groups received open-label intravenous ceftriaxone for 2 weeks before initiating the randomized regimen. The primary outcome measure was health-related quality of life, as assessed by the physical-component summary score of the RAND-36 Health Status Inventory (with higher scores indicating better quality of life), at the end of the treatment period at week 14, after the 2-week course of ceftriaxone and the 12-week course of the randomized study drug or placebo had been completed.
The study’s authors concluded, “the current trial suggests that 14 weeks of antimicrobial therapy does not provide clinical benefit beyond that with shorter-term treatment among patients who present with fatigue or musculoskeletal, neuropsychological, or cognitive disorders that are temporally related to prior Lyme disease or accompanied by positive B. burgdorferi serologic findings … In patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease, longer-term antibiotic treatment did not have additional beneficial effects on health-related quality of life beyond those with shorter-term treatment.”
What is clear is that the medical community, financially supported by governments and other organizations, must promptly intensify efforts to seek answers and treatments for the ever-increasing population throughout the United States who acquire Lyme disease and are desperately seeking proper diagnosis and treatment that maximizes and achieves the best possible alleviation of symptoms as quickly as possible.
If you or a loved one have or had Lyme disease and the diagnosis and/or treatment of Lyme disease was untimely, inappropriate, or insufficient, you may have an actionable medical negligence claim against those health care providers who provided you with substandard medical care and treatment. It is important that you promptly seek the legal advice of a medical malpractice attorney (Lyme disease attorney) in your U.S. state who may investigate your Lyme disease claim for you and represent you in a Lyme disease malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with Lyme literate lawyers (Lyme disease claim lawyers) in your state who may assist you with your Lyme disease claim.
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