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How Do You Prove Misdiagnosis?

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“How do you prove misdiagnosis?” is a common question our misdiagnosis lawyers get all the time. Stick around to learn more about wrong diagnosis cases.

 

Learn More From Our Misdiagnosis Lawyers:

Is Failure to Diagnose a Form of Medical Negligence?

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What Is Failure to Diagnose?

 

Video Transcript

Timestamps
0:00 Intro
0:22 Multiple Sclerosis:  An Example of A Misdiagnosis and Wrong Diagnosis
1:07 10 Years Of Misdiagnosis and Wrong Diagnosis
2:11 Accurate Diagnosis Is Important

A misdiagnosis again goes to that standard of care question.

0:22 Multiple Sclerosis: An Example of A Misdiagnosis and Wrong Diagnosis

Probably most folks listening have heard of multiple sclerosis. It’s a disease that a lot of people may not fully understand, but they’ve heard of it. I would venture to say that most of our listeners have probably never heard of DivX disease or neuromyelitis opticans. But these two illnesses are both neurological. They both can involve the brain and the spinal cord and they can look very similar in some ways.

1:07 10 Years Of Misdiagnosis and Wrong Diagnosis

But there are differentiating features. One is a simple blood test called an aquaporin antibody. I had a lady many years ago, well not that many, five years ago or so, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She subsequently changed her care after receiving 10 years of treatment for multiple sclerosis with minimal improvement. She had problems with urinary control incontinence, she was wheelchair confined. When she transferred her care, her new neurologist did a complete history, a complete physical, ordered the necessary blood test, and realized that she had been for almost 10 years receiving the incorrect treatment. As a result, she just failed to get any better.

The second neurologist prescribed the correct treatment, a drug called Rituxan, which is very effective against DivX disease, and it changed this middle-aged woman’s life. She was able to ditch the wheelchair, she was able to do more around her house, she was able to do things she enjoyed. Her quality of life improved notably, even including her incontinence and bladder problems to a point where she was much much more comfortable. You’ve got to make the correct diagnosis to establish and receive the correct treatment, and that standard of care is really where you establish that this diagnosis should have been made and it should have been made timely.

In the case of a disease like multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis opticans, most of those patients are going to be seen by a neurologist, a specialist in the nervous system. In the case of a neurologist who misses that particular diagnosis, perhaps thinks this is multiple sclerosis versus DivX disease, another neurologist, again someone similarly trained who’s treated patients with both these entities, would have to give opinion testimony to the effect that you know, another neurologist in this scenario would have done this particular study and made the correct diagnosis instead of the misdiagnosis or the faulty diagnosis.

2:11 Accurate Diagnosis Is Important

It’s all established through that standard of care, and again it may be something as simple as a point in a physical examination or a point that should have been taken in the history or a laboratory test or an x-ray that should have been done. You have to establish that the misdiagnosis was a breach in the standard of care, you do it through opinion testimony. Most importantly, again the treatment for those two illnesses is very different and you have to be able to show that, hey, had the correct treatment been prescribed early, which it would have had the diagnosis been made earlier, this patient would have not been damaged.

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