In many medical misdiagnosis cases, patients will often suffer for year before finding out they have a life-threatening condition. But in the case of misdiagnosed lupus in Kentucky, patients are equally likely to suffer harm if the doctor mistakenly thought they had the disease as if they were diagnosed with another condition.
Lupus, the common term for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an autoimmune disease that can cause a number of dangerous effects for victims. Although 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, it is very difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms vary and are often similar to other more common conditions.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, a patient may be diagnosed with lupus if a he or she exhibits at least 4 of these signs:
- Rash – Several types of skin irritation have been linked to lupus, most notable the butterfly rash: a persistent rash across the cheeks and nose in the shape of a butterfly. Roughly one-third of all of lupus patients will develop this type of rash, although it may also be caused by rosacea or an allergic reaction.
- Swollen joints – Many symptoms of lupus are similar to those of arthritis, such as aching and swollen joints. However, this symptom is more likely to be lupus-related if the joints are inflamed (tender, red, warm, or swollen) for at least six weeks.
- Breathing problems – Patients may suffer inflammation in the lungs (pleuritis) or the lining around the heart (pericarditis) causing sharp chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath.
- Seizures or psychosis – Lupus has been linked to a number of brain and nervous system problems, such as headaches, vision problems, and anxiety. However, the presence of seizures and psychosis (delusions or hallucinations) are considered more concrete symptoms of the disease.
- Anemia – Women are more likely to suffer both lupus and anemia, causing yet another potential for misdiagnosis. A specific type of deficiency called hemolytic anemia—in which the disease is actively destroying red blood cells—may be used to make a definitive diagnosis.
It is important to note that these symptoms may not be present at the same time, so your doctor must examine your full medical history to make an accurate diagnosis.
If someone you love died as a result of misdiagnosed lupus in Kentucky, the attorneys at Gray and White can help you seek justice. Contact our Kentucky medical malpractice team today at 800.634.8767 or fill out the contact form on the top of this page to find out your legal options in your FREE case evaluation.