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Measles and the problem of failures to diagnose

Tennessee residents may be interested to learn that, along with the alarming increase in the incidence of measles cases, many may not have been properly diagnosed when infected people went to see their doctors. This failure to diagnose measles means that more people were likely exposed to the highly virulent illness than would have otherwise been expected.

Because measles was formerly considered almost wiped out by the widespread use of vaccines, many young doctors are no longer familiar with its clinical symptoms. Early measles symptoms mimic those of other diseases, and some doctors are simply missing the diagnosis.

Rather than being a simple childhood illness, it should be understood that measles can be deadly. Prior to the advent of measles vaccinations, an average of 500 people died every year in the United States from the disease and its complications. Greater numbers of parents are avoiding vaccinations for their children, including the one for measles. Doctors who fail to diagnose the early symptoms of the illness are risking their patient's development of complications. Others may also be exposed and then contract the disease due to the diagnostic failure.

Like other forms of medical negligence and medical malpractice, a misdiagnosis of clinical symptoms may result in serious injury or harm to people. In the event a doctor fails to appropriately diagnose a person's illness and harm results, the physician may be held to be liable for such mistake through a successful medical malpractice lawsuit. A physician who is found to be at fault may be required to pay damages in order to compensate those who are harmed for their resulting injuries and losses.

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