As Montana residents may know, an increase in the number of measles cases has caused a flurry of discussion about vaccinations. Some physicians have expressed concern that misdiagnosis in the initial stages of the disease is possible. According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, physicians should familiarize themselves with the symptoms of measles and keep a close eye on any patients exhibiting symptoms that might be potential cases. Many younger physicians have never seen the disease.
In February, 102 cases of measles were reported in 14 states. The virus is contagious for at least four days until a rash and other symptoms appear. It is spread via the air, such as by coughing or sneezing, and can survive on surfaces even when the contagious person has left the area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one infected individual may spread the virus to an average of 18 others.
Measles complications may include brain swelling, pneumonia, permanent hearing loss or death. Some physicians are now refusing to accept patients who are unvaccinated, and they are strongly urging vaccination.
A physician who fails to diagnose measles in its early stages due to a lack of information or experience with the disease may provide parents with a false sense of security, allowing the child to infect others. This type of medical negligence may cause serious harm to an individual who is immunocompromised or to a pregnant person.
Complications due to measles may cause severe injury or death and result in high medical bills and expenses for long-term care. Consultation with an attorney in such cases may be beneficial. The attorney might review the case and file a malpractice suit to recover financial damages.
Source: ABC News, "How Doctors and Parents May Be Contributing to the Rise of Measles," Liz Neporent, Jan. 28, 2015
Source: ABC News, "US Measles Outbreak Growing, CDC Says," Sydney Lupkin, Feb. 2, 2015