For our readers who have been watching the news recently, they may have heard about the national Salmonella outbreak. This outbreak has hit Oregon especially hard as it has at least 42 of the nation’s 125 patients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, this number is likely an undercounting as it can take up to four weeks for patients to get lab confirmation and be added to the CDC’s official tally. Due to its symptoms though, some may get misdiagnosed.
Salmonella symptoms mimic other health issues
Salmonella infection symptoms include abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea. They can begin within as little as 12 hours or up to 72 hours after consuming contaminating food. These symptoms also do not go away quickly. They can last for four to seven days, and the diarrhea alone can be so severe to require hospitalization.
One can likely guess what common ailment this looks like, the stomach flu (also known as, viral gastroenteritis), but the treatments are very different. Unfortunately, a special test is needed to diagnose a salmonella infection (medically known as, salmonellosis), which means these common symptoms can lead to failures to diagnose or misdiagnosis.
What increases this misdiagnosis possibility is that the Salmonella bacteria can live on food that looks fine. This food also does not normally taste or smell any different or spoiled. And, like the stomach flu and other maladies, seniors, children and those with weakened immune systems (like people with cancer and autoimmune disorders) are particularly vulnerable, which could mean the misdiagnosis could lead to serious health issues, even death.
Misdiagnosis victims have options
Luckily, state law allows for patients who have experienced failures to diagnose or misdiagnosis to sue those medical professionals responsible. This is done through a personal injury, medical malpractice, or medical negligence lawsuit.
These lawsuits can hold the medical professionals accountable for the damages these victims incur as a result. These include medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering. But, these cases can be complicated, require multiple experts and extensive investigations. This is why victims should consult with a professional, like an attorney with experience in this field.