Findings of a recent survey out of the Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center reveal that more than 95 percent of doctors who specialize in treating people with multiple sclerosis saw at least one patient last year who had been given a misdiagnosis of MS by another medical provider.
According to Dr. Andrew Solomon, the lead author of the survey, nearly 75% of the 122 survey respondents – all MS diagnostic and treatment specialists — saw as many as 3 or 4 patients in the past year who had been misdiagnosed with MS by another doctor.
Lacking adequate blood tests for MS, Dr. Solomon said that doctors rely too heavily on brain scans such as MRIs, and lean too heavily on the results of these scans to make a diagnosis of MS, when in many instances the patient’s symptoms are caused by some other neurological condition.
Authors of the survey report that nearly half of the 600 patients survey respondents reported having treated in the past year who had been given an incorrect diagnosis of MS by another doctor, nearly half of those patients, 280, were receiving therapy with unnecessary and powerful disease-modifying drugs that can cause serious side effects and cost as much as $40,000 or more per year per patient. A form of recombinant interferon is one of those high-priced drugs being improperly prescribed.
“The main injury in these types of cases,” Edward P. Milstein, partner in the New York medical malpractice law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C. said, “is that the patient has been taking drugs to forestall the progression of the disease, or reduce the frequency of flare-ups, often for many years before the misdiagnosis is revealed. The various medical treatments have side effects and can cause toxicity.”
Milstein described MS as a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. He explained that symptoms can vary from a mild numbness in the hands and feet to severe paralysis and can cause loss of vision.
If you, or some you love, has been injured as a result of misdiagnosis by a doctor for a serious illness like multiple sclerosis, it is important you speak with one of the lawyers in our firm immediately who can advise you of your legal rights. The consultation is free.