Tuberculosis is not commonplace in Texas. Nonetheless, people from all walks of life do contract this disease. Unfortunately and with alarming regularity, a person afflicted with tuberculosis is not properly diagnosed with the disease in a reasonably timely manner. In some cases, the failure to diagnosis tuberculosis accurately or in a timely manner rises to the level of medical malpractice.
What is tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is classified as an infectious disease that mainly impacts an infected individual’s lungs. Tuberculosis is passed from one person to another via tiny airborne droplets emitted by the infected person through a cough or sneeze.
A reasonable timeframe for diagnosing tuberculosis
The World Health Organization recommends that treatment for tuberculosis begin between within about two weeks of symptom onset. The failure to start treatment in that time period can and does have seriously negative consequences in some cases.
Delayed diagnosis of tuberculosis
Time and again, physicians are not diagnosing tuberculosis in a reasonably timely manner. The median date for a proper diagnosis of tuberculosis is 24 days beyond the date a patient visits a physician seeking assistance with the condition. This is well beyond the recommended start date for treatment and may amount to medical negligence in some situations.
Impact of delay in proper tuberculosis diagnosis
The failure of a physician to make a proper diagnosis of tuberculosis can result in a patient’s symptoms worsening, and often significantly so. When this occurs, treating a patient can become more complicated.
The failure to diagnosis tuberculosis in a timely manner can also result in what may amount to a significant spread of the disease. Family members, co-workers and even members of the general public may end up infected with tuberculosis as a result of a delayed diagnosis.
In summary, in this day and age physicians cannot ignore the fact that tuberculosis is occurring in Texas and elsewhere merely because it is not a common occurrence. Physicians have a legal duty to make an accurate diagnosis within a reasonable period of time.