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Failure to Diagnose Mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr Virus)

Mononucleosis (mono) is also known as the kissing disease and the Epstein-Barr virus.  It is spread through saliva. You can get it from kissing, but you can also get it from sharing a glass or food utensils with someone who has it. Mononucleosis, on the other hand, is not as contagious as some infections, such as the common cold. If you’re a teen or young adult, you’re more likely to get mononucleosis with all of the symptoms. Young children typically have few symptoms, and the infection is frequently undiagnosed.

This viral infection can cause symptoms all over the body, such as drowsiness, aching muscles, an irritated throat, and general fatigue. Other clinical manifestations have included a skin rash, decreased appetite, and fever. Most cases of mononucleosis resolve within a few weeks of diagnosis.  This illness, however, can occasionally result in serious medical complications such as a ruptured spleen, meningitis, and death. It is critical that physicians correctly identify the symptoms of mono and treat the illness in its early stages.

Early and accurate diagnosis is the foundation of effective medical treatment, and it is critical to saving lives. The importance of the diagnostic process cannot be overstated, and failure to diagnose a condition on time or correctly can result in preventable death or serious injury to patients. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano’s experienced medical malpractice attorneys have obtained significant jury verdicts and settlements for clients who have suffered needlessly as a result of a failure to identify an otherwise treatable medical condition. We serve clients throughout Upstate New York and have offices in several convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the field of medical malpractice is reflected in the results we have obtained for our clients.

Among the most common types of medical malpractice are negligent diagnosis and outright failure to diagnose. To determine the true nature of a patient’s illness, physicians are taught in medical school how to use the “Differential Diagnosis” treatment method, in which the most dangerous and likely conditions must be identified and ruled out through proper testing. This method, however, is not always followed, and avoidable diagnostic errors are still common.

A doctor may fail to order standard tests that would detect cancer or may fail to recognize the clear symptoms of a potentially fatal cardiac event, such as a heart attack. Mistakes involving vital patient information are also common, as nurses or doctors may fail to collect enough information during a physical examination, record relevant information, or respond to the available information. At other times, despite warning signs, physicians are simply wrong or too late with a diagnosis, and a patient suffers severe injury or death when their condition could have been treated with an accurate, timely diagnosis.

Most doctors will start by asking their patients about their symptoms. Swelling in the lymph nodes of the neck, as well as the tonsils, liver, and spleen, is caused by mononucleosis. Typically, the doctor will examine these areas for signs of abnormal swelling. Patients may also have blood work done to check for an unusual increase in white blood cells. If a doctor suspects mononucleosis is causing the symptoms, they can perform a “monospot” test to look for antibodies that indicate an infection.

Fatigue, sore throat, possibly misdiagnosed as strep throat, that does not improve after antibiotic treatment, fever, swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits, swollen tonsils, headache, skin rash, and a soft, swollen spleen are all signs and symptoms of mononucleosis.

The virus has an incubation period of four to six weeks, though this period may be shorter in young children. The incubation period is the time it takes for symptoms to appear after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms such as fever and sore throat usually subside after a few weeks. However, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, and a swollen spleen may persist for several weeks.

Although the symptoms of mononucleosis are unpleasant, the infection resolves on its own and has no long-term consequences. Most adults have had Epstein-Barr virus exposure and have developed antibodies. This means they are immune and will not contract mononucleosis.

Mononucleosis can cause spleen enlargement. In severe cases, your spleen may rupture, causing sharp, sudden pain in your upper left abdomen. If you experience such pain, seek medical attention right away because you may require surgery.  You may also experience liver issues such as mild liver inflammation (hepatitis) or jaundice.  Less common complications of mono include anemia and thrombocytopenia, which is a low count of platelets, which are blood cells involved in clotting, heart problems such as myocarditis, nervous system complications such as meningitis, encephalitis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome, and swollen tonsils that can block breathing.  In people with compromised immune systems, the Epstein-Barr virus can cause much more serious illness. People with HIV/AIDS or those taking drugs to suppress immunity after an organ transplant may have weakened immune systems.

If you were misdiagnosed by a medical professional and it resulted in a serious injury, you are eligible for compensation. Please contact our law firm and we will promptly review your case. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano has assisted a number of clients in regaining peace of mind and obtaining justice for the negligent or careless actions of the responsible party. Contact Upstate New York’s experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We represent injured clients and their families throughout Upstate New York, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, Elmira, Binghamton, Auburn, Ithaca, Oswego, Norwich, Herkimer, Delhi, Cooperstown, Cortland, Lowville, Oneida, Watertown, Utica, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Lyons, and surrounding areas.  Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form to discuss your case.

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