Nebraska Man Claims Missed Diagnosis of West Nile Virus and Left Paralyzed
Four years ago, a Nebraska man suffered symptoms that left him paralyzed and with damaged hearing from West Nile Virus. The man is claiming that the paralysis and hearing loss are due to a doctor’s quick dismissal of his symptoms.
Details of the Alleged Misdiagnoses
Dave Shemek had applied bug spray before mowing his lawn, but he was still able to get bitten. He believes quick treatment would have prevented symptoms becoming so severe.
Shemek went to the doctor after his neighbor was diagnosed with West Nile Virus. The doctor dismissed him, saying “oh God no, 8,000 to 1 you don’t have West” although his blood was never tested.
If caught early enough, West Nile Virus can be cured with high enough doses of antibiotics.
Unfortunately for Shemek, ten days after the initial visit to the doctor, he was hospitalized with a 102-degree fever and later diagnosed with West Nile Virus.
The virus cannot be prevented with vaccines or antiviral treatments, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In rare cases, the virus can lead to inflammation in the spinal cord or brain. The CDC said those who are infected can take over-the-counter pain medication or fever reducers, with the severest of patients requiring hospitalization and supportive care.
The piling medical bills, and inability to work, has left Shemeck penniless. Despite the ordeal, he is determined to walk again.
Medical Error Statistics
- An estimated 210,000 – 400,000 deaths each year are associated with medical errors (British Medical Journal)
- Only heart disease (614,348) and cancer (591,699) claim more lives each year in the United States than medical errors
- Medical errors cause more deaths each year than unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- The total medical malpractice payout amount for 2016 in the United States was $3.84 billion (Diederich Healthcare)
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