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Failures to diagnose measles and medical malpractice

Florida parents may be interested to learn about the relationship between the current rise in measles cases and young pediatricians who may have inadvertently contributed by failing to recognize the symptoms of the illness in their patients. Most people have heard the idea that parents are contributing by refusing vaccinations or delaying them, but may not have read about the contribution doctors are also making to the spread of the disease.

According to a report by an infectious disease specialist from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, newer doctors are missing the signs of measles simply because they have never seen a case before. The symptoms initially mimic those of several other common illnesses. Measles was almost eradicated with high levels of vaccinations previously, but as more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, the disease has shown a strong resurgence.

People who contract measles are very contagious for as many as four days prior to the initial symptoms, which include pinkeye, a rash and fever. Apparently, doctors are not recognizing the symptoms when they do appear. One year prior to the measles vaccine's appearance in 1962, 481,530 cases of measles were reported across the nation. The current problem with the resurgence of measles needs to be addressed quickly. Although people may mistakenly view measles as a childhood illness, it can be deadly to young and old alike. Prior to the use of vaccinations, the disease killed an average of 500 people annually.

One of the duties physicians owe their patients is to recognize the clinical symptoms of diseases. A misdiagnosis of a patient with measles can sometimes make the difference between ultimate survival or death. Such a patient may then also expose others who may then contract measles due to the failure as well. Those who have been affected in this manner may want to seek the counsel of a medical malpractice attorney to determine what remedies may be available.

Source: ABC News, "How Doctors and Parents May Be Contributing to the Rise of Measles", Liz Neporent, Jan. 28, 2015

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