Physician Fails to Diagnose Babesiosis in Patient with History of Lyme Disease

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on July 26, 2016

Infectious Disease Expert WitnessThis case involves a female patient who had been diagnosed with and treated for Lyme disease a few months before she began suffering from a renewed series of symptoms. She presented to her primary doctor, who had previously treated her for Lyme disease, with complaints of fever and night sweats. The patient immediately suspected that she had Lyme disease once again, but the family practitioner insisted that there was no need for concern. Some time later, the patient presented once again with worsening symptoms. The family practitioner again dismissed her concerns of Lyme disease and suggested that she had developed a minor cold, without ordering any lab studies or blood work. Eventually, the patient presented to a local ER where blood work was ordered and a diagnosis of Babesiosis was made. She was hospitalized for an extended period of time and suffered a host of complications as a result of the delay in treatment.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you routinely treat patients with Lyme disease and Babesiosis?
  • 2. Have you ever failed to make the diagnosis of either Lyme disease or Babesiosis in a patient with a similar presentation?

Expert Witness Response E-009215

I routinely treat patients for Lyme and Babesiosis. Many patients are sent to me precisely for persistent symptoms, and I have never failed to make a diagnosis in a similar case. In addition to my clinical practice, I have served in consultation on other cases of missed diagnoses in infectious disease. Babesiosis, while rare, is a growing concern in the Northeastern United States, and patients presenting with renewed symptoms after Lyme disease infection should undergo blood testing in order to rule out co-infection with Babesiosis or any other tick-borne illness. Babesiosis can result in serious illness or even death, and it is vital that patients who are infected receive a prompt diagnosis

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