Uncertain testing leaves lyme sufferers in poor health

New York residents may have heard that a Boston music professor suffering from Lyme disease found himself fighting his own physician's preventable errors as well as his worsening symptoms. While one test came back negative, another more comprehensive screen was not administered at all; the test needed to diagnose the disease was only available in Europe.

After a tick bite he suffered in Spain, the professor spotted the rash that reveals the serious infection. The standard Lyme disease test given in the U.S., known as the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay, screens only for infection from a single, common tick species. It reportedly took 10 months for the man to locate a doctor that could properly treat and diagnose the disease.

In prior months, he had visited various doctors, and one of the physicians incorrectly prescribed him an IV solution containing silver. The medical mistake led to both kidney and liver failure. Once the disease was diagnosed, the man's doctor recommended that he return to Europe for a more comprehensive test known as a C6-Based ELISA. Although he tested positive for Lyme disease, his doctor was still skeptical of the results, and he had to find another who would prescribe an effective course of antibiotic treatment.

According to reports, there are many unproven testing methods for Lyme disease in the U.S. The situation leaves doctors often uncertain about a proper diagnosis and patients untreated while the disease runs its dangerous course.

Lyme disease is most common in eastern states, including New York. With several hundred thousand cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year, the need for cohesive and reliable testing is becoming critical. Individuals who have been misdiagnosed and have had their conditions worsen may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the liable medical professionals.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Lyme Disease Data," Dec. 6, 2013

Source: Medical Daily , "Man's 10-Month Lyme Disease Stint Exposes Holes, Confusion With Treating It In The US", Anthony Rivas, July 08, 2014

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