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Survey finds that multiple sclerosis is frequently misdiagnosed

May 12, 2017 | Failure to Diagnose

Multiple sclerosis is a serious disease that is often misdiagnosed. New York residents may be interested in the findings of a recent survey that found that many MS patients had to make repeated doctor or hospital visits before being diagnosed.

The study conducted by Health Union was the fifth annual "MS in America" survey. The 2017 survey involved more than 5,300 patients across the United States and was conducted between January 25 and March 1.

Nearly half of the survey respondents said that they had to visit doctors or hospitals at least five times before finally receiving a diagnosis of MS. More than 40 percent said they were initially misdiagnosed with other conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression and migraine disease.

The symptoms of MS can be similar to symptoms of other conditions. MS symptoms include depression, memory loss, fatigue, muscle weakness, numbness and vision problems. The survey concluded that fatigue is the most common symptom reported.

Once diagnosed, it can be difficult to find an effective treatment for MS. According to a patient advocate, there are many treatment options. However, a lot of trial and error is usually involved for each patient before finding a treatment that works.

The failure to diagnose a disease can lead to years of suffering or even immediate negative effects. When someone takes medication for a disease that they don’t really have, serious harm can be caused. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is not always a case of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice law is complex. Doctors are not required to be perfect or mistake-free. However, they are expected to provide a medical standard level of care to patients.