New York – Many people, including doctors, automatically associate tick bites with Lyme disease, especially when the bite is followed by fever, headache, and body aches or pain. However, current research shows that this can easily lead to a misdiagnosis of the patients true problem. A senator from New York is pushing for more training of doctors and nurses to make them aware of the various tick-borne diseases that are possible beyond just Lyme. Healthcare professionals are trained to diagnose illnesses of all sorts by working through a list of possibilities, known as a differential diagnosis. However, a top New York City medical malpractice attorney explains that some physicians prematurely jump to conclusions, leading to a missed diagnosis or other medical error. A doctor is more likely to correctly diagnose and treat a patient when all appropriate possibilities have been considered. More importantly, the correct diagnostic tests must be ordered by the doctor in order to avoid a medical mistake. The wrong diagnosis will usually lead to the wrong treatment of the patient’s condition and often associated complications. The complications from the wrong medical treatment can be due to side effects from the treatment used, as well as from failure to treat the actual illness. The current legislative effort has the goal of spreading awareness of other possible diagnoses besides Lyme when it comes to tick bites, including Powassan virus and Boriella miyamotoi. The most common treatment of antibiotics with doxycycline does not work on these other diseases, so a doctor error in one of these cases would lead to failure of the treatment. Some healthcare workers and health insurance companies have claimed that efforts such as this may just lead to defensive medicine and higher cost of care. However, patient advocates note that it is the responsibility of doctors and nurses to study their field of medicine more thoroughly and stay up-to-date of the current research and literature. They say that hospitals and national medical societies should carefully create protocols in order to assure that doctors order the right studies in order to avoid misdiagnosis as well as unnecessary medical testing. Proper health care requires diligence and hard work in order to avoid negligence and failure, according to activists. Read more about other tick-borne diseases and the push for more research here.
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