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Lubbock County Medical Malpractice Attorney
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Misdiagnosis of MS leads to costly unnecessary treatments

Texas residents who have been told that they have multiple sclerosis should seek second opinions due to the likelihood of a misdiagnosis. A study of 241 MS patients referred to the Cedars-Sinai Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center found that 18% of them had something besides MS. Their misdiagnoses had resulted in them being prescribed medications that could produce serious side effects and cost at least $50,000 per year. They also missed opportunities to be treated for their actual conditions.

Many of the medications taken by these individuals exposed them to the possibility of developing a life-threatening brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. The researchers tallied the amount of time that the patients had spent taking medicine for a disease that they did not have at 110 patient-years with a collective cost approaching $10 million.

The lead author of the study acknowledged the difficulty of diagnosing MS. The symptoms can resemble other diseases like vitamin B-12 deficiency, migraines, strokes, neuropathy, or fibromyalgia. Physicians who suspect that patients have MS need to continue testing to rule out all likely possibilities because of the tricky nature of identifying the disease with certainty.

A person's condition could worsen considerably while undergoing treatments as a result of a misdiagnosis. If this situation resulted from a physician's failure to diagnose the correct disease, the person might have been the victim of medical malpractice. Not all errors made by a health care practitioner or institution constitute negligence, however. An attorney representing a patient who has been harmed will have to demonstrate that there was a failure to abide by the requisite standard of care, and will obtain the opinion testimony of one or more independent medical experts in order to do so.

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