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Wrongful death might have been avoided with accurate diagnosis

For some California patients, seeking out an accurate diagnosis can be a journey that feels like it lasts a lifetime. For one young man's family, finally getting the right diagnosis actually did take that long. After 18 years misdiagnoses in what were possibly acts of medical malpractice, the 18-year-old young man ultimately succumbed to his illness in what might have been a wrongful death

His health problems became apparent almost immediately after birth. When his mother sought care for his troubling symptoms, which included difficult sleeping and near-constant crying, he was diagnosed with two separate hernias and underwent surgery to correct them. However, the problems did not stop there.

According to his parents, their son was misdiagnosed a total of six different times. At one point they were told he had cerebral palsy, while another doctor insisted he was suffering from ADHD. Other diagnoses included autism and the notion that nothing was actually wrong with him. His parents knew differently, citing various troubling symptoms and behaviors, such as social difficulty and the inability to comprehend personal space. Shortly after having an MRI, he suffered a cardiac arrhythmia and died.

The MRI revealed what he had been suffering from all along -- periventricular leukomalacia, or white matter death in the brain. It is believed that he was born with this disease, and the failure to correctly diagnose him resulted in a lack of appropriate treatment options. When a failure to accurately diagnose a California patient leads to their wrongful death, families often turn to medical malpractice suits as a legal avenue to achieve fair compensation on behalf of their loved one.

Source:, "Daniel Vance: Parent frustrated by years of misdiagnosis", Daneil Vance, July 18, 2015

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