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Failure to Diagnose Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder of the peripheral nerves that are located outside of the brain and spinal cord. GBS is distinguished by the sudden onset of numbness, weakness, sensory degeneration, and, in some cases, paralysis of the legs, arms, breathing muscles, and face. The paralysis is ascending, which means it moves up the limbs from the fingers and toes to the torso. Loss of reflexes, such as the knee jerk, is common.  Approximately 50% of cases occur shortly after a viral or bacterial infection, some of which are as simple and common as the flu or food poisoning.

Guillain- Barré syndrome is characterized by the immune system attacking the nerves and causing weakness and tingling in the extremities, eventually leading to paralysis if left untreated  Wrong diagnoses that can mask GBS symptoms include lung infections caused by breathing difficulties, cardiac arrhythmia caused by rapid heartbeat, general weakness caused by anemia and fatigue, neurological disorders, fibromyalgia-like muscular pain, and conditions that mimic Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Guillain- Barré syndrome is a condition that can endanger your nervous system.  Damage to the nervous system can have long-term consequences. Not only is the ability to feel and sense threatened, but so is the ability to control certain bodily functions. As a result, it is critical that healthcare providers prioritize the proper diagnosis of ailments that target this system of the body, or else they could be considered negligent and guilty of malpractice. When GBS is detected early and treated, patients recover completely over time. However, recovery times vary from person to person. Atypical clinical signs and symptoms may delay GBS diagnosis. Early neurological evaluation is linked to better clinical diagnosis and discharge outcomes.  If you or a loved suffered a complication or worsening of the condition due to a misdiagnosis of Guillain- Barré syndrome, or a failure to diagnose it, you could be eligible for damages.  Contact the seasoned medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.  We help clients throughout Upstate New York, with offices in multiple convenient locations. Our extensive experience in the medical malpractice field is reflected in the results we have achieved for our clients.

Two tests may be performed to confirm a diagnosis.  The first is a lumbar puncture to look for elevated fluid protein levels and the second is an electrical test of nerve and muscle function.

To prevent loss of sensation and muscle activity in the limbs, GBS patients must be admitted to the hospital for expert medical care, except in very mild cases. Weakness and nerve pain may worsen within a few days of the disease’s onset. The disease reaches its peak in two to four weeks. When the symptoms are severe, the patient may be unable to move his or her legs or hands voluntarily. The chest muscles weaken, and breathing can become difficult. The patient is usually admitted to the ICU to monitor breathing and other body functions until the disease stabilizes. If a patient’s breathing is compromised, he or she may require ventilator support. Plasma exchange and high-dose intravenous immune globulins are frequently used to reduce the duration of GBS. The acute phase of GBS can last anywhere from a few days to several months, with more than 90% of patients moving into the rehabilitative phase within four weeks. After three to four weeks, the symptoms subside, and the patient is stable with these conditions. When the nerves begin to heal, the symptoms begin to fade, and the patients can make a full recovery. However, each patient’s recovery time is unique.  A neurologist, physiatrist, rehabilitation physician, internist, family physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, social worker, nurse, and psychologist or psychiatrist work together to provide patient care. If a patient’s speech muscles have been damaged, they may require speech therapy.  Long-term recurrences of fatigue and/or exhaustion, as well as abnormal sensations such as pain and muscle aches, are a particularly frustrating side effect of GBS. These can be exacerbated by normal activity and relieved by pacing activity and resting.  The majority of people with GBS recover from their symptoms within 6 to 12 months. However, recovering from the nerve damage caused by GBS can take several months to several years.  One in every five people suffers from long-term issues such as being unable to walk without assistance, weakness in their arms, legs, or face, numbness, pain, tingling or burning sensations, balance and coordination issues, and extreme tiredness.

It is a doctor’s responsibility to recognize the symptoms of Guillain-Barré syndrome and take the necessary steps to test for it and catch it in time. Failure to perform the appropriate test to diagnose GBS in the face of symptoms would be considered negligent. Those who have been affected by GBS are entitled to compensation if a negligent doctor fails to meet the expected standards of care, which is considered malpractice. A medical malpractice claim against a negligent doctor can help you recover compensation for the various damages you may have suffered while suffering from GBS. Medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and even disability are all examples of damages.

If you or a loved one believe that your Guillain-Barré syndrome developed because of the negligence of a healthcare provider, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to help you.  We have won cases for our clients across the Upstate New York area, including Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, 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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