Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Misdiagnosis of Epilepsy

Despite the seemingly endless number of high-tech diagnostic tests available to modern medical professionals, diagnosing a patient's condition is still far from a fool-proof process. While doctors usually get it right, sometimes patients are told they suffer from one disease or condition when their symptoms actually have an altogether different cause. In the best case scenario, this is a temporary inconvenience for the patient, causing them to receive the unnecessary treatment, but not leading to any long term suffering. In other cases, though, a misdiagnosis can be much more serious. If a physician's negligence is responsible for a serious misdiagnosis, the patient may consider legal action as a legitimate way to receive compensation for monetary loss and suffering.

When an individual is diagnosed with epilepsy, it can seriously affect their life in many ways. The drugs prescribed to treat epilepsy and suppress seizures can have unpleasant side effects and be very expensive, especially if the person does not have good medical insurance. Furthermore, there still exist unfair social stigmas surrounding epileptics and their condition, especially when the individual is a child. If a person is incorrectly diagnosed as having epilepsy, they will suffer all of these unpleasant consequences for no reason. In addition, the true cause of their symptoms will remain untreated.

Many people who are misdiagnosed with epilepsy actually suffer from a condition known called syncope. Syncope is a quickly passing loss of consciousness that is caused by the blood flow to the brain being disrupted (which may itself be caused by a variety of different medical conditions). This disruption can cause the victim to suffer from muscle jerking and fainting or blacking out that may be mistaken for epileptic seizures during diagnosis. While syncope can be successfully treated in most instances, if it is misdiagnosed as epilepsy, there may be serious consequences for the patient.

Some studies have shown that as many as 30% of patients that are told they have epilepsy may actually suffer from some other condition. The true cause of their symptoms can lie in many other conditions, such as cardiac arrhythmia, basilar artery migraine, narcolepsy, stroke, or syncope, as discussed above. If a doctor is too hasty in their diagnosis, these conditions can be ignored and develop into serious and painful issues for patients.

For more information about negligent misdiagnosis and other forms of medical malpractice, visit the website of Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys Lowenthal & Abrams, P.C.

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