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Wrightsville Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

Gaucher disease, PMF and their misdiagnoses

Gaucher disease is a disorder where fatty materials begin to build up in organs like the liver and spleen as well as in the bone marrow. One of the primary symptoms is an enlargement of the liver and spleen; however, since this symptom is shared by another condition called primary myelofibrosis, the chances of a misdiagnosis are actually quite high. Doctors and patients alike in North Carolina may want to know more about this condition.

The journal Acta Haematologica has published a report that gives a particular case of misdiagnosis. In 1994, a 32-year-old woman who was suffering from an enlarged liver, an enlarged spleen and low white blood cell and platelet levels was diagnosed with PMF at a hematology center. This was mostly on the strength of a liver analysis and bone marrow biopsy.

How the health care system treats women differently

When a woman in North Carolina tells a doctor that she is experiencing pain, she might be told that the pain isn't real. In the event that the cause of a woman's health issue isn't easy to diagnose, some doctors may assume that its a gynecological issue even if that isn't the case. There are many reasons why female patients have trouble being heard by their doctors and getting an accurate diagnosis of what ails them.

In some cases, this is because there has been a lack of research into how women experience health issues differently than men. For instance, a man who is having a heart attack generally experiences chest pain as a primary symptom. However, a woman may experience pain in the neck or jaw. She may also present symptoms that resemble the flu or other health conditions.

Cause of knee and thigh pain often misdiagnosed

North Carolina residents who have children who routinely suffer from pain in the thigh or knee may be interested to know that researchers have determined that there is a strong link between pre-disease obesity, slipped capital femoral epiphysis and area-level socioeconomic deprivation. The researchers found that children who have pain in their thigh or knee, instead of in their hip, had a reduced likelihood of receiving a diagnosis of slipped capital femoral epiphysis.

For their study, the researcher identified 596 patients at or under the age of 16 who had received a slipped capital femoral epiphysis diagnosis from one of 650 primary care facilities in the United Kingdom. The time period in which the diagnoses were made spanned from 1990 to 2013. Diagnostic delay, missed chances for diagnosis and annual incidence were the primary outcomes. During the 23-year time period that was examined, it was determined that there was an annual rate of 4.8 SCFE cases for every 100,000 individuals who were no older than 16 years old.

Later diagnosis of diabetes may be cancer symptom

A new study has found that patients in North Carolina and across the United States who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after the age of 50 may actually be displaying an early symptom of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is currently one of the deadliest types of cancer with an average five-year survival rate of 8 percent.

The study, which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, looked at 50,000 Hispanic and African-American men and women over the age of 50 for a period of 20 years. None of the study participants had pancreatic cancer at the beginning of the study. Approximately 16,000 participants developed Type 2 diabetes during the course of the study; 400 of these individuals developed pancreatic cancer. The study found that people who developed diabetes after the age of 50 were twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer compared to those who didn't develop diabetes. In most of the cases, pancreatic cancer developed within three years of a diabetes diagnosis.

Researchers say many cancer treatments are unnecessary

The cancer death rate throughout North Carolina and the rest of the nation has been falling for the past few decades. According to some medical experts, however, many patients continue to be overtreated for the disease.

The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology was held in Chicago in June, and several professionals presented studies demonstrating that doctors need to change their treatment approach to many cancers. For example, one study found that women who are diagnosed with early-stage hormone-positive, HER-2 negative breast cancer do not benefit from chemotherapy. Researchers determined that anti-hormone therapy is enough. Meanwhile, scientists from France found that heated chemotherapy, which was introduced 15 years ago, does nothing for patients with severe colon cancer. Finally, a study found that surgery does not help patients with advanced kidney cancer. Removing the kidney just adds pain and expense to a patient's final weeks of life.

Dancing doctor sued by at least seven women

People in North Carolina might be interested in learning about a Georgia doctor who is being sued by seven women for medical malpractice. The doctor, a dermatologist, posted several videos of herself dancing and singing while standing over her patients when they were sedated.

The seven women filed lawsuits against the doctor after their cosmetic procedures went badly. One woman who initially went to the doctor to get Botox before her wedding in 2016 was convinced to undergo several additional procedures, including liposuction and several others. During the woman's surgery, she went into cardiac arrest. It took the doctor 30 minutes to close the woman's abdomen before she could be transported to the hospital. The woman suffered a severe brain injury and now has to be fed with a feeding tube. Her wedding was canceled.

Patient matching errors in the private health care sector

In North Carolina and across the U.S., numerous hospitals, medical practices and long-term and post-acute care providers are being plagued by patient matching errors. This leads to the electronic exchange of faulty patient information, which in turn means patients are at risk for being treated for the wrong conditions. Meanwhile, the diagnosis of their actual condition will be delayed or lost altogether.

In a recent letter to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, 33 health care organizations and stakeholders pointed out this issue, which they say will only grow as more facilities use data exchange. The organizations included the American Medical Association and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Surgical errors can cause serious damage

When people in North Carolina go to the hospital, they may hesitate to even think about the danger of a surgical error or another serious medical mistake. Surgery on the wrong part of the body, incorrect medical procedures or procedures intended for other patients are some of the most serious types of medical errors that can happen in a health care facility. No such mistakes should ever take place.

While many types of surgical errors could occur in the operating room, wrong-site surgery can be among the most dangerous. In such cases, an unnecessary or harmful procedure takes place while the ongoing medical issue receives no treatment. For example, one patient studied by researchers received heart surgery that was actually scheduled for another patient with a similar surname. These incidents are rare; however, the rate is higher when errors that take place in a non-surgical context are included.

The issue of misdiagnoses among mitochondrial patients

Mitochondrial patients in North Carolina may be interested in a recent survey published in the medical journal Neurology Genetics. Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center sent a 25-item questionnaire to 210 patients who had self-reported mitochondrial disease, and the results were rather startling.

On average, every patient had to see 8.2 different physicians and undergo multiple tests before even getting a diagnosis. For 55 percent, the initial diagnosis turned out to be wrong, and 32 percent reported being misdiagnosed more than once. The mitochondrial diseases were most often mistaken for psychotic disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis. However, these four only account for 42 percent of the misdiagnoses.

The truth about penicillin allergies

About 10 percent of people are informed that they have an allergy to penicillin at some point in their lives. However, it is possible that a North Carolina resident who thinks that he or she has such an allergy can actually use the medicine safely. According to data from the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, 76 percent of children labeled as allergic to penicillin had only minor symptoms.

This led to 100 children with low-risk symptoms such as vomiting or a rash going through a formal test. All of the children passed the test, and they were no longer labeled as allergic to the antibiotic on their medical charts. Of those children tested, 26 received penicillin in the next year, and only 1 of the 26 experienced symptoms. There are other health implications as well for those who are labeled as allergic to penicillin.

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