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Posted on 18th August 2017

Rugby Star Has Damaged Heart Due To GP Misdiagnosis

Former rugby star Matt Dawson suffered heart damage due to Lyme disease which was misdiagnosed by his GP.

The ex-England captain went for a training session in a London park where he was bitten by an insect. He suffered with a rash and an itchy back. Mr Dawson’s wife had suggested the rugby star could have Lyme disease caused by a tick bite so he arranged an appoinment with his GP.

At the appointment, Mr Dawson showed his doctor the bite which was the size of a 10p coin. The Doctor was of the opinion that it wasn’t Lyme disease and sent Mr Dawson home.

As time went on, the bite got bigger and bigger to the size of a side plate. Mr Dawson had a blood test done privately where it was confirmed he did have Lyme disease.

Due to the delay in diagnosis, the bacteria caused by the tick bite reached Mr Dawson’s heart where it became inflamed and scarred causing an abnormal heart rhythm which left him needing two operations.

The illness and operations left the former England captain “wiped out for a year” and is still not fully fit though he can now play golf and cycle. Mr Dawson commented that if he had been correctly diagnosed at his GP appointment he could have been treated with antibiotics and the surgery would have been avoided.


Lyme disease symptoms include a ring around the site of the bite, a rash that spreads and some people experience flu-like symptoms. If left untreated it can go on to cause paralysis, memory problems, inflammatory arthritis and an abnormal heartbeat.

Mr Dawson attended his GP several weeks following the bite and confirms the presence of a rash and itchiness which would have been accompanied by a bulls-eye patterned ring around the bite.

GP misdiagnosis compensation claims commonly occur for conditions such as cancer rather than this type of condition. Misdiagnosing an insect bite which goes on to cause the patient to require two operations is still a serious failing by the GP.

If you think that your medical condition was misdiagnosed and you suffered complications and harm, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim for medical negligence. Contact us on 0330 355 9210 or for a free claim assessment.