A Costly Misdiagnosis

09:52 29 November in Diagnosis, doctor, Medicine
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In the summer of 2013, Matt Slatner woke up experiencing difficult, slow speech, extreme fatigue and a rash. After visiting a doctor, Matt was told that he had allergies and eczema. In following months, Matt began to experience headaches, lethargy and sinus pain. He was given various tests and began to have shoulder and back pain, eventually becoming unable to lift his arm. His blood pressure problems were diagnosed as a panic attack. Doctors also thought he may have had a stroke, as well as other neurological scares.

After an extensive series of hospital visits, discussions with doctors and medical tests, Matt was told that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Doctors told Matt and his family to come to terms with his death and prepare for the end of his life, as ALS would eventually require him to need medical assistance to breathe. During the entire ordeal, Matt had informed his doctors various times that he had received several tick bites while on a hike in August of 2013, which he believed could indicate that his symptoms were the result of Lyme disease. However, his doctors stuck by their diagnosis of ALS, assuring him that his life would fade away.

After two years of dealing with doctors, hospital visits and various testing, Matt’s family eventually all came down with strep, prompting them to visit an urgent care facility to get checked out. The staff at the urgent care facility asked Matt if he had been bitten by a tick and after several days of penicillin, his health state began to improve. After being reluctantly tested for Lyme disease by his original doctors, his diagnosis of Lyme was confirmed and he began rounds of antibiotics.

Matt’s case is a tragic example of the cost of misdiagnosis and the result of doctors’ unwillingness to listen to his concerns about his own physical health. Both Matt’s health and finances were negatively impacted by his delayed diagnosis of Lyme disease, costing him years of his life and tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. However, had he initially received a medical second opinion from one of the top research and academic institutions in the United States, conducted by a team of medical specialists and sub-specialists willing to listen to his concerns and answer his questions, he would not have gone through the massive trouble that he did before receiving his correct diagnosis.

ALS is a very difficult disease to diagnose due to the fact that its symptoms mimic several other diseases. In about 10 to 15 percent of cases, patients are told that they have ALS when they have another disease or condition with similar symptoms, and for this reason, it is crucial that a medical second opinion be conducted by a team of medical specialists and/or sub-specialists at a top-ranked academic or research hospital who are willing to listen to the patient’s concerns and answer any questions he or she might have. WorldCare’s trusted medical second opinions are focused on all aspects of a patient’s case to ensure that the correct diagnosis and optimal treatment plan are established.

If you are a member and would like to request service or if you are an employer, insurer, broker or TPA interested in offering our services, please contact us today.

 

 

Sources: http://www.nbc12.com/story/31177866/misdiagnosed-henrico-man-told-he-was-dying-says-he-actually-had-lyme
http://alsn.mda.org/article/it-really-als
http://www.alsa.org/about-als/symptoms.html

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