New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorneys Curtis & Lucero

Blood test helps doctors separate bacterial and viral infections

One of the difficulties that face doctors in emergency situations is how they can determine the difference between a viral and a bacterial infection. Differentiating between the two can be trying at times because symptoms that a patient may exhibit with a bacterial infection may be the same as those seen with a viral infection.

Because of this, a doctor may prescribe an antibiotic as a basic cautionary measure. While this may prove to be beneficial in the short term, a prolonged practice may result in a patient developing a resistance to important antibiotics. On the other hand, letting things play out in anticipation of a viral infection running its course could lead to a patient being at risk of a dangerous infection.

These difficulties could be alleviated if a new blood test is adopted into practice. A report explained how the test would work. Essentially, the test will rely on the body’s immune response to help doctors understand whether an infection is triggered by bacteria or a virus. There are particular, and different, proteins that are activated by bacteria and viruses. So if a virus is triggering the sickness, the test will be able to register a response that will alert doctors to the particular culprit.

While the test has yet to become a mainstream tool, it exemplifies the standard of care doctors must adhere to when diagnosing patients. If they fail to use such care, and a patient is further sickened or injured, the doctor could be held liable. 

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