West Palm Beach Cystic Fibrosis Attorney
There are some diseases and conditions that simply occur naturally, that cannot be caused by anyone’s mistakes or malpractice. However, parents deserve the most time possible to know of these conditions, so they can plan accordingly. If a medical professional fails to diagnose an illness like cystic fibrosis, they may be held liable for malpractice.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a purely genetic condition, passed down when someone inherits two defective genes, one from each parent. These genes affect the mucus and sweat glands, as well as the sex organs. The primary symptom of CF is very thick, sticky bodily fluids that can cause lung infections and obstructions to the pancreas. Beyond that, however, there is a laundry list of symptoms that patients may or may not have. This is because of CF’s status as a purely genetic disease. Approximately 1 in 29 Caucasian Americans have the CF gene, and it can be affected by a host of bodily factors.
Some of the symptoms show up in childhood, while others do not manifest until adulthood. The most common in very young children include salty-tasting skin, a lack of physical growth and very rare bowel movements (or none at all in the first 24-48 hours of life). Conversely, later in life one may see respiratory issues (due to repeated lung infections), infertility and pancreatitis – these conditions are mostly due to CF simply having many years to establish itself in the body. Some patients will also see bowel-related symptoms, though many do not; fatigue may also be a factor. So much depends on genetic makeup and environment that CF can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.
Failure to Diagnose or Treat
CF is diagnosed usually through what is referred to as the “sweat test,” where a medical professional will test the amount of salt in your sweat (since an abnormal result is an indicator of the protein marker found in CF patients). Your doctor will rub pilocarpine (a chemical sensitive to salt) onto a small area of skin, then apply an electrode to the area to produce sweat. Elevated levels of salt very often indicate cystic fibrosis.
There are other tests which might indicate CF, but regardless of which test is used, there are several widely accepted tests that any medical professional should be familiar with. To not conduct any test whatsoever may be prima facie evidence of malpractice under the cause of action of failure to diagnose.
Medical malpractice can be established if it can be shown that a doctor has not adhered to the same standard of care as a reasonable physician of similar skill and experience would. To not test for CF, or to write off the results as normal, is not exercising care. However, even if your doctor does eventually diagnose CF, there still may be a cause of action for failure to treat. With some conditions, fast treatment may be the difference between life and death; if a medical professional delays too long, it may have an enormous cost.
Get A Professional On Your Side
Failure to diagnose or treat can be incredibly difficult for anyone to deal with, and when it is a potentially debilitating condition like cystic fibrosis, it can be worse. The firm of Gary Roberts & Associates keeps medical experts on staff, and has a long history of success in medical malpractice cases. We are willing to work with your schedule, and we can accommodate Spanish speakers at our West Palm Beach office. Contact us to discuss your options today.