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Virginia family advocates for ‘second opinion’ after son’s undiagnosed Lyme disease

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COPPER HILL, Va. -- A young Virginia couple wants to warn parents to get a second doctor's opinion after their son went undiagnosed with Lyme disease for months.

In Summer 2015, Brook King and Zach Worrell took their 3-year-old son, Kayden, to the doctor after he began experiencing knee pain.

"For him to be so active to begin with, we knew something was wrong," King said.

Kayden

Kayden

The Floyd County couple said it was unlike their rambunctious, high energy toddler to slow down. After a trip to the doctor, Kayden was told he had arthritis and prescribed over-the-counter pain medicine.

But, the young family had their doubts.

"We just didn't think that was right at all," Brook said.

Kayden's pain did eventually go away, but in March 2016 his knee pain returned.

"It was more serious. His knee just started swelling and he couldn't walk, so we rushed him to the ER" King said.

Kayden's parents, Brook King and Zach Worrell

Kayden's parents, Brook King and Zach Worrell

"We were in the hospital for three days with no results," Worrell explained. "The last day they came in and said he was positive for Lyme disease."

Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of a deer tick. The bacteria laid dormant inside Kayden's body after the initial arthritis symptoms was connected to the disease.

Kayden underwent knee surgery due to an infection, was in a cast for weeks, and now has a lifelong scar.

"If they just took more seconds or hours the first time," Worrell said. "Definitely get that second opinion."

Kayden

Kayden

Recent studies show 60 percent of second opinions resulted in major change in diagnoses.

"A lot of different illnesses can cause similar symptoms," said Dr. Elizabeth Bigelow from Short Pump's Patient First Medical Center.

Yet, a 2010 Gallup Poll found that 70 percent of Americans don't feel the need to request them. Dr. Bigelow said seeking out advice from other doctors can offer peace of mind.

"If you're uncomfortable with the initial diagnosis or just not sure it's always a good idea to get a second opinion," Dr. Bigelow said.

Insurance will often cover the cost of a second opinion, too.

Kayden underwent knee surgery due to an infection, was in a cast for weeks, and now has a lifelong scar.

Kayden underwent knee surgery due to an infection, was in a cast for weeks, and now has a lifelong scar.

Kayden now walks with a limp but is Lyme disease free. His parents are more vigilant to check for ticks, too.

Kayden's story could've been a lot worse, and now his parents hope other families seek out advice from additional doctors to see if there's any possibility the diagnoses isn't entirely correct.

"There's never too many opinions. Get that second opinion," Worrell said.