Alzheimer’s Disease: One of Many Misdiagnosed Conditions

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 22, 2016 12:15:30 PM

The issue of misdiagnosis has been a hot topic in the news recently after musician and actor Kris Kristofferson was diagnosed at age 79 with untreated Lyme disease. His persistent memory problems had doctors believing for years that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease, which they had connected to the contact sports Kristofferson played in his younger years.

Kristofferson’s wife recently told Rolling Stone that his memory loss quickly vanished following the Lyme disease diagnosis and a few weeks of treatment. Sadly, he had to suffer for much too long without treatment for his actual condition. He’s also not alone. Misdiagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is all too common in patients with treatable diseases involving memory problems, Lyme disease expert Dr. Gary Small told Science World Report.

1_in_20_misdiagnosed.pngAlzheimer’s disease is just the tip of the iceberg in the current misdiagnosis crisis in the United States. In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal has estimated that one adult patient in 20 who visit outpatient settings are misdiagnosed every year in the U.S. That number equates to about 12 million American adults who suffer the consequences of a delayed, missed or wrong diagnosis.

In some situations, this type of medical mistake can be deadly. A cardiovascular event or cancer misdiagnosis, for example, could leave a patient without the lifesaving treatment he or she needs.

Contact our firm for assistance if your loved one suffered harm as a result of a condition that was missed by a medical professional. We have been successfully advocating for victims and their families for decades, and we are prepared and eager to help. Nothing can change what happened, but filing a misdiagnosis lawsuit can make the health care provider take responsibility for letting someone suffer from unnecessary harm.

Topics: Medical Misdiagnosis

Rock Star Leading the Fight against Cancer Misdiagnosis

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 10, 2016 2:59:05 PM

When Foghat bassist Craig MacGregor underwent a CT scan after a fall in 2012, a 10-millimeter tumor on his lung was present on the scan results. MacGregor was not made aware of the tumor until three years later,  Rock.jpgwhen another doctor reviewed his medical records.

MacGregor’s situation points to a much bigger problem: radiologists and other diagnostic imaging service providers are not currently required by law to report test results to patients. The failure to inform patients of their abnormal test results is putting countless patients in danger in Pennsylvania and across the United States.

State Representative Marguerite Quinn has drafted legislation that would change these rules, however. The Patient Test Results Information Act, which cleared the state House last year and is awaiting action in the Senate, would require radiologists have to alert doctors and patients of any significant abnormalities detected in test results. The bill would apply to most diagnostic imaging services but exempt obstetrical ultrasounds, diagnostic radiographs and tests performed on inpatients.

Quinn describes her proposal as "a safety net" for patients that would also help doctors avoid dangerous and costly oversights.

Anapol Weiss Partner Stephen Pokiniewski is currently representing MacGregor in a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit against his health care provider. “Unfortunately, Mr. MacGregor's situation is not unusual,” Pokiniewski said. “We represent several other clients who have had suffered a delay in diagnosis because they were not made aware of abnormal findings on diagnostic radiology studies in a timely fashion.”

Failure to diagnose cancer in a timely manner can have devastating and irreversible effects on the patient and his or her family. In MacGregor’s case, the delayed diagnosis allowed the tumor time to grow nearly seven times bigger, and it had progressed into stage IV lung cancer that metastasized to McGregor’s brain. Had he been informed about the tumor when it initially showed up on the scan, MacGregor’s chances of a cure would have been much greater.

Topics: Medical Misdiagnosis

Becoming Your Own Health Advocate After a Cancer Diagnosis

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Apr 14, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Patients and their families will likely feel lost and overwhelmed following a cancer diagnosis. The Q&A section of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently addressed the process and the steps patients can take to understand what’s about to happen.

Lewis Rose, M.D., a medical oncologist at Nazareth Hospital, explains that for many, understanding and learning to cope with the diagnosis and treatment process are the hardest parts of the situation. In addition to openly communicating with the oncologist, Rose offers the following tips:

Becoming your own health advocate after a cancer diagnosis

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Know the details of your diagnosis. This involves getting answers about:

  • The type of cancer you have
  • The primary cancer site
  • The stage of cancer you have
  • The natural course of the disease without treatment
  • The goals of that treatment
  • Available treatments and their impact on the quantity and quality of your life

Discuss your overall health care with the oncologist. It’s important to talk about current medical conditions and medications that may affect your treatment plan.

Bring someone to your appointments if possible. A second set of ears is always helpful, and that trusted advocate can also provide emotional support.

Ask questions. “Understanding the cancer and what your body is going through will help inform your decisions and may ease your mind,” Rose says.

It’s important for patients to act as their own health advocates and to play a role in the decision-making process involving screening and treatment for any medical condition. At the same time, physicians are expected to meet the standard of care in caring for their patients.

Unfortunately, even the best informed patient can suffer the health consequences of a medical mistake or medical misdiagnosis. Contact Anapol Weiss to speak with a Pennsylvania or New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect your medical outcome was negatively impacted by negligence. For decades, we have been successfully advocating for victims medical negligence, and we are prepared to help you with your medical malpractice lawsuit.

 

Topics: Medical Misdiagnosis

Can I File Suit Against a Physician for a Medical Misdiagnosis?

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Apr 1, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Patients can suffer permanent health consequences when a health care professional fails to make a timely and accurate diagnosis of a medical condition. Below, Anapol Weiss Partner Stephen Pokiniewski answers a few important questions about misdiagnosis and filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

When is a misdiagnosis considered malpractice?

A patient’s lawyer must establish four elements in order to bring a medical malpractice claim. First, the physician must have owed a legal duty to act with the same skill, care and diligence of another reasonably competent professional under similar circumstances. Second, that duty must have been breached by the healthcare provider, i.e., he or she failed to provide treatment to the patient. Third, the harm to the patient would not have occurred had the negligent medical care not occurred. In certain circumstances, it is sufficient to prove the negligent medical care increased the risk of harm to the patient.  Finally, damages must have resulted, meaning the patient suffered physical, psychological or financial harm as a result of the improper medical care.

What are some commonly misdiagnosed conditions?

There are many scenarios that can occur in which a patient receives an incorrect or delayed diagnosis. However, we have seen multiple types of cancer misdiagnosed as well as cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks, stroke and dangerous blood clots (Deep Vein Thrombosis/Pulmonary Embolism {DVT/PE}). Pneumonia, meningitis and other infections are also highly dangerous if misdiagnosed.

misdiagnosis_statistics.pngHow does a misdiagnosis happen?

A person can receive a delayed or wrong diagnosis in several ways, but it typically involves failure to screen for a condition or the mismanagement or misinterpretation of test results.  Misdiagnosis may also result from failing to investigate symptoms or failing to refer a patient to an appropriate specialist.

Who can be held liable for a misdiagnosis?

Victims and their families usually file suit against the physician or physicians involved in the misdiagnosis. In some cases, other health care professionals such as nurses and staff members may be held liable if their negligence contributed to the patient’s injuries. Additionally, a hospital involved may be liable where there is a failure to follow procedures related to diagnostic tests.

Is there a time limit on filing a misdiagnosis lawsuit?

According to state law, a lawsuit must be filed within a certain amount of time. These deadlines, called the statutes of limitations, differ from state to state. For example, in some jurisdictions, the statute may not begin to run until the injury was discovered.  In some states, there are much shorter time periods for filing notice of claim.  The sooner you contact an attorney if you believe you have been a victim of a misdiagnosis, the better.

If you or a family member suffered from health problems as a result of misdiagnosis, the medical malpractice legal team at Anapol Weiss can determine if medical negligence was to blame. Contact our firm today for assistance.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Misdiagnosis

Acting as the Voice for Medical Misdiagnosis Victims

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 31, 2016 3:30:00 PM

1_in_20_misdiagnosed.pngA study published in the British Medical Journal has estimated that one patient in 20 who visit outpatient settings are misdiagnosed every year. That’s about 12 million American adults who suffer the consequences of a delayed, missed or incorrect diagnosis.

Half of those errors in diagnosis could lead to serious harm, and it’s unacceptable. The attorneys at Anapol Weiss have been the voice of many patients and their families whose lives were turned upside down because of a medical misdiagnosis. With conditions ranging from cardiovascular problems to cancer to severe pneumonia, the firm’s clients have been able to obtain justice and send a message that all patients deserve the highest quality care at all times.

Below are a few of the firm’s medical misdiagnosis verdicts and settlements.

  • $6 million verdict for a patient who was paralyzed as a result of failure to diagnose a torn aorta
  • $4.25 million for a woman who suffered severe neurological injuries due to a hospital’s failure to treat the signs and symptoms of a stroke in a timely manner
  • $2 million for a mother’s estate when the defendant doctor failed to diagnose and treat pneumonia in a pregnant woman, which led to her death
  • $1.7 million for a case involving a doctor's failure to diagnose a rupturing aorta aneurysm
  • $1.2 million for a client where an emergency room doctor failed to diagnose a pulmonary embolism
  • $1.1 million verdict for the estate of a man who died as a result of misdiagnosis of a debilitating muscle condition called rhabdomyolysis
  • $750,000 settlement for a four-year-old whose pediatricians delayed a bladder cancer diagnosis
Contact the attorneys at Anapol Weiss if you or a family member was a victim of a medical misdiagnosis or other medical mistake. We have vast experience in handling these types of medical negligence cases, and we are prepared to investigate your situation.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Misdiagnosis

Lawrence Cohan Obtains $2 Million Medical Malpractice Verdict

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 25, 2016 1:30:00 PM

About 12 million American adults who visit outpatient settings are misdiagnosed every year -- amounting to one patient in 20. Half of those errors could lead to serious harm, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

Incorrect, missed and delayed diagnoses are preventable. For decades, Anapol Weiss has successfully advocated for the victims of medical malpractice, especially patients who suffered the consequences of a medical misdiagnosis.

Lawrence R. Cohan obtained a $2 million verdict in July 2013 for the estate of a 25-year-old woman who died as a result of pneumonia misdiagnosis after delivering a premature baby.

 Cohan2.jpg
Medical malpractice attorney Lawrence R. Cohan

The young woman was six months pregnant when she went to the emergency room with symptoms of pneumonia. The staff discharged her with antibiotics the next day, but she was re-admitted for pneumonia in both lungs two days later. While hospitalized, the woman was treated for acute respiratory failure and sepsis. She underwent an emergency Caesarian section and gave birth to her daughter, who weighed only two and a half pounds. The mother then suffered a collapsed lung, and she passed away on July 6, 2009. Her pain and suffering lasted two days.

The defense argued the woman did not have all the signs of pneumonia, and that they provided sufficient treatment by sending her home with an antibiotic and instructions to return if she had further problems. The defense also claimed she "would have died anyway," had she been admitted at the outset due to the severity of her condition.

The case was contested on negligence and causation. Cohan argued to the jury that medical negligence occurred during the mother’s first admission – when the defendants failed to order a chest x-ray to diagnose pneumonia and failed to admit her for treatment and observation.

The young woman’s daughters will never get their mother back, but Cohan was able to bring some justice to her and her family. "It was particularly rewarding to obtain compensation for these two little girls who will have to grow up without a mother," Cohan said.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Medical Misdiagnosis

Be Your Own Medical Advocate: Obtain and Read Diagnostic Test Results

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 18, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The two stories below are real and illustrate the need for all patients to make sure that they obtain and read the interpretative reports for the diagnostic tests that their physicians have them undergo. Obtaining, reading and sharing reports with your regular doctors allows you to act as your own medical advocate and helps prevent medical negligence or even medical misdiagnosis.

A person falls at home and injures his jaw and chest. He goes to the local hospital emergency room (ER), and the ER doctor orders a sophisticated type of x-ray called a CT scan of his jaw and chest. The CT scan of the jaw confirms a fracture, and the scan of the chest is interpreted by the ER physicians as not showing a traumatic injury. As all radiology studies are also interpreted by a radiologist, the CT scan of  the chest is read by a hospital radiologist. He confirms the scan did not show a traumatic injury, but he also writes in his report interpreting the study that the scan of the chest showed a mass highly suspicious for cancer in the right lung. He recommends a follow up diagnostic study to determine if it is indeed cancer. However, the patient is not told of the radiologist’s interpretation, nor is his primary care physician sent a copy of the report. It is only three years later when the patient consults another physician that the report of the CT scan of the chest is “discovered.” Tragically, when the “suspicious mass” is worked up, it is found to be advanced lung cancer and it has spread to his brain.

Becoming_Your_Own_Health_Advocate.png

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In another case, a person falls down stairs and injures his chest. He believes that he had broken a rib in the fall. He is taken to the local ER, and the ER doctor orders a chest x-ray. The ER doctor interprets the x-ray as showing a fractured rib, and he is subsequently discharged from the ER with a prescription for pain medication. However, when the x-ray is interpreted by a radiologist, the radiologist reports that there is a mass seen in the patient’s chest cavity and recommends that he get a CT scan of the chest to determine if it represents a serious medical problem. Unfortunately, the patient is not told of the radiologist’s findings or of his recommendation for him to get a follow up diagnostic study. It is not until about 11 months later when the patient again goes to the same ER with complaints of shortness of breath that it is discovered that the mass seen earlier has now grow substantially in size. He is sent for an immediate CT scan of his chest and it reveals that the mass has grown into a very large mass, which is subsequently determined to be non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The patient is started on treatment but the delay in diagnosis has significantly reduced his chance for a cure.

All diagnostic test results and reports, including as interpretations of x-rays or other radiology studies (such as mammograms, CT scans and MRIs), surgical pathology interpretations, cardiac stress tests, blood test results) that show a significant abnormality must be communicated to the patient and his treating doctor. Tragically, diagnostic test results which reveal a serious abnormality are frequently “missed” and are only followed up many months or even years later. Sadly, by the time the “miss” is discovered, the patient has lost a chance for early diagnosis and treatment that would have lead to a better outcome.

If you, a family member or friend has been a victim of this type of medical mistake, contact the attorneys at Anapol Weiss for assistance. We have vast experience in handling these types of medical negligence cases.

 

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Medical Misdiagnosis

Women and Heart Disease: Timely Diagnosis is Critical

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Mar 1, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Some study findings about the prevalence and diagnosis of heart conditions in women may underscore the failure of physicians to appreciate and recognize that women’s complaints are heart-related.

Women_and_Heart_Disease.jpgCardiovascular disease, typically manifesting as a myocardial infarction (blockage of one or more of the coronary vessels that supply blood to the heart, commonly referred to as a heart attack) is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing more deaths more than all cancers combined. Moreover, women who survive a heart attack have a significantly greater chance of death than men (24 percent versus 19 percent) in the first year after the heart attack. In addition to conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, women have risk factors for heart disease related to pregnancy – gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Psychological factors including depression, anxiety and stress play a bigger role in heart disease among women than men.

Women suffering from a heart attack typically present with different symptoms than men: the classic presentation of angina (chest pain caused by insufficient blood supply to the heart) is severe chest pain radiating to the left arm. However, with women, symptoms of angina many times present as shortness of breath, jaw pain, headaches, nausea, fatigue and even stomach upset.

Time is of the essence when diagnosing and treating a heart attack. Any delay in treatment can result in a decreased chance of a good outcome. If you think you or a family member or friend is having a heart attack, you should call 9-1-1 and take an aspirin. You should not drive or let a friend or family member take you to the hospital, instead wait for the ambulance. It is important you get to the hospital as soon as possible because time is muscle. This expression means that the sooner you can get treatment, usually involving admission to the cardiac catheterization lab for an emergency angioplasty procedure to open the block coronary blood vessel, the more likely you will survive and not suffer heart muscle injury. When a person has a heart attack, he or she immediately starts losing heart muscle, and as more time passes, the strength of the heart and the ability for it to continue beating diminishes. This is why it is critical to get prompt treatment as soon possible.

If you believe there has been a delay in the recognition, diagnosis or obtaining timely treatment for the signs and symptoms of heart attack, Anapol Weiss can help. Our attorneys have the experience to handle these types of cases and obtain compensation for injuries caused by a health care provider’s neglect and negligence.

 

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Medical Misdiagnosis

Bacterial Meningitis Misdiagnosis: What It Means for Patients

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 25, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Bacterial meningitis is a medical emergency that requires timely diagnosis and proper medical treatment to prevent death or permanent injury.

meningitis_misdiagnosis.pngDiagnosing bacterial meningitis often involves testing the blood and cerebrospinal fluid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Imaging tests such as a CT-scan may help diagnose the disease by showing inflammation in the head, and an x-ray of the chest or sinuses may indicate the presence of an infection.

Bacterial meningitis can be treated effectively with antibiotics, but the CDC urges that treatment must be started as soon as possible. Appropriate antibiotic treatment of the most common types of bacterial meningitis should reduce the risk of meningitis-related death to below 15 percent – although the risk to young infants and the elderly remains higher.

Unfortunately, bacterial meningitis is sometimes mistaken by health care professionals as a less serious condition such as influenza or another viral illness. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat bacterial meningitis can result in complications including:

  • Brain damage
  • Death
  • Hydrocephalus, the accumulation of fluid on the brain
  • Partial or total hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Subdural effusion, the buildup of fluid between the skull and brain

Medical misdiagnosis cases involving bacterial meningitis are highly complex in nature and require the skill and knowledge of an experienced medical malpractice legal team. If a delay in meningitis diagnosis led to a loved one’s injuries, we can help. Contact our firm for assistance.

 

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Medical Misdiagnosis

Focusing on Heart Attack Misdiagnosis during American Heart Month

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Feb 12, 2016 11:30:00 AM

February is American Heart Month, and a reminder for everyone to act as their own medical advocate with regard to their heart health. About 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year, and about 15 percent of those people will die from it.


heart_attack_misdiagnosis.jpg

A person's chance of surviving a heart attack increases if emergency treatment is administered as soon as possible, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sadly, one in 50 people who suffer a heart attack is mistakenly sent home by emergency room doctors, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000. Other studies have documented even higher rates of missed heart attack diagnosis.

What can patients do to decrease their risk of becoming a diagnosis victim? It’s important for patients to ask questions and follow their own instincts about their symptoms. While it’s a health care provider’s responsibility to listen and act, being vocal about symptoms and concerns can be helpful. Below are a few tips for patients to help avoid a misdiagnosis.

1. Ask for more tests, and always request test results.

No news is not necessarily good news. A 2009 study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found a seven percent failure rate in communicating abnormal test results to patients. Either the person was not informed of the test results, researchers found, or the facility had not documented having communicated about the results.

2. Discuss your family history.

Heart disease risk and the risk factors associated with heart disease are strongly linked to family history, according to the American Heart Association. Sharing family history with a health care provider can be a good start in making a correct and timely diagnosis.

3. Get a second opinion.

If something still doesn’t seem right, start over and set up an appointment with another physician. Describing symptoms to another professional without the influence of the first physician can result in different and life saving conclusions.

It’s painful to think that loved ones could have been saved if their heart attack had been diagnosed and treated in a more timely fashion. When a person dies or suffers permanent injury as a result of medical negligence, responsible parties must be held accountable. We can help.

Contact our firm for assistance if your loved one suffered a heart attack that was missed by physicians. We have been successfully advocating for victims and their families for decades, and we are prepared and eager to help.

 

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, Medical Misdiagnosis

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