When people are sick or hurt, they go to the doctor and expect that the doctor can accurately diagnose and treat their aliment. Most of the time, this is exactly what happens. However, there are instances where a negligent physician will fail to diagnose a patient correctly. When a failure to diagnose occurs, it can result in a delayed treatment, a worsened condition and even death.
For one Oregon woman, a failure to correctly diagnose lupus has led to severe consequences. This woman first began experiencing symptoms 20 years before she was finally diagnosed with lupus. Her early symptoms were missed by doctors and included frequent fevers, anemia and eventually a mild stroke. Now her condition is so poor that any exposure to UV light causes her to have a reaction that includes anything from joint paint to fatigue, migraines and sores.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that disproportionately affects women — especially women of color. In fact, for those diagnosed with lupus between the ages of 15 and 45, nine out of 10 will be women. In particular, African American women are three times more likely to get lupus than white women. Minority women must be extremely careful that they are not misdiagnosed since their symptoms also tend to be more severe than white women.
Despite the fact that lupus can be so devastating it is easily misdiagnosed. The variety of symptoms and cultural differences between patients and doctors make this disease a prime candidate for a failure to diagnose case. When women come to the doctor with lupus-like symptoms, doctors should investigate all options.
Women whose doctors fail to diagnose lupus, should make sure they know their legal remedies. If a doctor was negligent in the woman’s treatment, then the woman may be entitled to compensation for the damage this failure caused.
Source: The Skanner News, “Lupus Disproportionately Affects Women of Color; Local Woman Tells Her Story,” Bruce Poinsette, May 31, 2013