A study published in the journal Neurology on Aug. 31 suggests that multiple sclerosis is routinely mistaken for other common medical conditions in patients in Oregon and around the country. The findings were the result of research done by 24 MS specialist neurologists across the United States. One of the reasons why MS is commonly misdiagnosed is because there is no blood test or biomarker that can be used to find it in a patient.
However, human error in general was cited as a cause for most cases in which a medical professional made an incorrect diagnosis. The study found that there were five common syndromes or diseases that were incorrectly diagnosed as MS. Among them were neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder , migraine and physiological issues. Of those who were misdiagnosed, 72 percent would take medication over a period of several years that they didn't need, and roughly one-third would remain undiagnosed for up to a decade or more.
A failure to diagnose a patient correctly can have significant implications for their current and future health. For instance, one medication used to treat MS could cause a brain infection while others required daily injections that could be painful and inconvenient. On top of that, the patients who were being misdiagnosed were not receive treatment for what actually ailed them.
If an incorrect interpretation of patient data leads to a worsened condition, the affected patient may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what recourse may be available. An attorney can review the patient's records and confer with medical experts in order to determine whether there was a failure by the health care professional to exhibit the requisite standard of care.