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Toddler dies from undiagnosed neuro-degenerative disease

The failure to diagnose a life-threatening disease can cause serious injuries to a patient and may have fatal consequences. This is true for Oregon patients of all ages, including young children. The family of one toddler knows this all too well, after their toddler suddenly died after coming down with a simple fever.

After the two-year-old boy's death, his family learned that he had Adrenoleukodystrophy, also known as "ALD." ALD is a fat metabolism disorder. If properly diagnosed, the neuro-degenerative disease can be managed with medication and proper diet. ALD affects boys and is often not discovered until a child is four to six years old. If a diagnosis comes after a child has reached four, the disease can cause severe brain damage and loss of muscle control. A failure to diagnose ALD can also cause death in a seemingly healthy boy.

According to the toddler's family, if the boy had undergone a newborn screen for the disease he could have received appropriate treatment and had a chance to live a healthy, normal life. Whether medical malpractice may have played a part in the boy's death in this story is unknown. However, the toddler's untimely death from ALD is a reminder that patients literally place their lives in the hands of their doctors and healthcare providers.

All doctors are held to a certain standard of medical care. A breach of that standard of care can result in patient injury or death, and a medical malpractice claim may result. Medical malpractice claims can arise in a variety of different circumstances, including the failure to diagnose a disease, failure to properly test a patient or other negligent conduct that causes patient harm. The legalities of filing a medical malpractice claim are complex, so it is important to get help from an experienced malpractice attorney.

Source: Avon Patch, "After toddler's death, Farmington Valley family channels grief into action," Lisa Lenkiewicz, April 10, 2013

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