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Incomplete history leads to misdiagnosis of optic neuritis

Dec 20, 2017 | Failure to Diagnose

According to a recent study, more than one-half of patients diagnosed with optic neuritis may have another condition affecting their eyesight. The study also suggests that the misdiagnosis is usually due to a limited patient history. Individuals in New York receiving this diagnosis may consider a second opinion.

Optic neuritis is known as an inflamed optic nerve. The optic nerve system operates eye function. It sends visual data to the brain. It can be characterized by blurry vision in one eye, loss of peripheral vision, pain in the eye sockets and at times, loss of color vision. The condition is usually temporary.

The study was performed on reviewing records of 122 patients referred for optic neuritis treatment. The record review showed that more than half, 60 percent, actually suffered from a different condition. The source of the referral, whether through an optometrist or neurologist, had little effect on the number of mistakes.

When looking at those with misdiagnosed conditions, the study found the most common reason was a lack of a thorough history or ignoring pertinent items of history, occurring in nearly one-third of the subjects. The next most common reasons for the errors were inadequate or incomplete physical examination and misinterpretation of test results.

Improperly diagnosing a condition is a serious matter in the medical field. Not only can it lead to unnecessary treatment, but the true condition or illness will then go untreated. In an area such as multiple sclerosis, the patient’s condition may worsen and early treatment options are lost. In the case of a tumor, the misdiagnosis can be fatal. In these cases, misdiagnosis is a common cause of action for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Those who have been damaged due to failure to properly diagnose a condition may benefit from contacting an experienced malpractice attorney.