When physicians tell patients in Oregon that fibromyalgia is the source of their pain, they might want to get a second opinion. In an interview published by the National Pain Report, a physician who has been caring for pain patients for two decades said that close to two-thirds of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia do not have the disease.
He explained that doctors often mistakenly ascribe a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to groups of symptoms that could indicate another real problem. Physicians then prescribe a routine treatment for fibromyalgia that could be inappropriate and ineffective.
Fibromyalgia can only be definitively diagnosed after a battery of exams have ruled out other possible causes for the pain. Conditions like thyroid disease, cancer or infections like Lyme disease can be detected with tests that measure white and red blood cell counts, thyroid function and c-reactive protein levels. Other ailments that might get misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia include musculoskeletal problems and metabolic disorders.
People who get treated for diseases they don’t actually have could receive drugs and therapies that produce no positive effects or even harm them. These individuals’ conditions could worsen as the unidentified problems continue to advance. A failure to diagnose could justify a medical malpractice claim in some cases. A person who believes that a negligent physician caused the delay of proper care could discuss his or her situation with an attorney. Medical malpractice cases must prove that negligence occurred, and an attorney could consult an independent medical expert to see if the records indicate a substandard level of care. If they can, then a lawyer could approach the health care provider and applicable insurance company with a lawsuit and file a claim for medical bills, suffering and lost income.