Although 60 percent of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever cases occur in other areas of the country, Arizona residents who spend large amounts of time outdoors are at risk of suffering the disease. If this disease, which is caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsia, is not treated quickly, it can be potentially fatal.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tick-borne illness that has been increasing in numbers over the last few years. A person can contract the illness if they are bitten by a Brown Dog tick, an American Dog tick or a Rocky Mountain Wood tick. The main problem with the particular disease is that it has a lack of specific symptoms. For example, the initial symptoms can include fever and headache, which could lead a person to assume it is a common illness. However, other symptoms generally follow over the next few days and can include vomiting, muscle pain, conjunctival infection and spotted rashes.
In the most severe cases, the disease can cause vasculitis, a condition where the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels become damaged. Worsened circulation to the extremities, damage to internal organs and neurological defects can follow. It is imperative that those suffering from the disorder be treated within the first five days of the onset of symptoms as death can occur in the most severe cases within just eight days.
If a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis results in serious life-impacting medical complications or death, the patient or the family members may have the grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against the healthcare professional who made the error. An attorney may analyze the case to determine if there is evidence that the healthcare professional was negligent by failing to order appropriate diagnostic tests or prescribed the wrong medication or dosage.