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Late diagnosis of West Nile causes man to be paralyzed

New York residents should know that West Nile virus, a virus transmitted by mosquito bites, is a serious condition. Those infected by it will typically experience fevers, headaches, body tremors and sleepiness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that there is no specific antiviral treatment or vaccine for West Nile, but mild forms of the virus can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications or fever reducers.

In severe cases, victims will require hospitalization and supportive care. For example, West Nile virus could lead to the inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. A Nebraska man suffered paralysis and damaged hearing after catching the West Nile virus four years ago. The worst thing about his situation is that it was preventable.

The man was bitten on the leg by a mosquito while mowing his lawn and promptly went to the doctor. However, the doctor dismissed the claim, saying that it was an "8,000-to-1" chance that the man had contracted it. No blood test was administered. Ten days later, the man was taken to the hospital with a 102-degree fever, where his case of West Nile virus was confirmed.

In the four years since then, he has spent all he has to pay for medical treatment. A GoFundMe page is helping to raise money for his cause, and the man is determined to walk again someday.

A case similar to the one above could provide the grounds for a medical malpractice claim. For a malpractice claim to be valid, several things must be established, such as a preexisting doctor-patient relationship and clear failure on the doctor's part to live up to an objective standard of care. This is where a lawyer and his or her team of third-party professionals can come in. An attorney could negotiate for an informal settlement, leaving litigation as a last resort.

Source: Fox News, 'Nebraska man claims missed West Nile diagnosis left him paralyzed," Alexandria Hein, September 4, 2018

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