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Patients diagnosed with Parkinson's could suffer wrongful death

It often seems as though the number of aging California residents diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's is growing all of the time. These diseases are serious and can typically yield better life outcomes for those who are diagnosed and treated as early on as possible, but just how accurate are some of these diagnoses? As it turns out, a significant number of older Americans have been wrongly diagnosed with these diseases, putting them at potential harm for serious injuries and even wrongful death.

It might be difficult to overstate how important it is to get the right treatment for the correct illness, which is why one out-of-state woman sought a second opinion for her husband. Her 66-year-old husband began to forget small things and went from walking to shuffling. According to her, she witnessed her husband appear to age by decades over the course of a mere three-month period. Her husband's first diagnosis was Parkinson's.

Unsatisfied with this conclusion, the couple sought a second opinion and received a very different diagnosis. Her husband did not actually have Parkinson's, but instead a disease called normal pressure hydrocephalus. This disease causes the body to no longer absorb the correct amount of brain fluid and results in symptoms that mimic those of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Unlike those diseases, though, it is very treatable and often yields favorable outcome for patients.

Sadly, the outlook is not bright for patients suffering from normal pressure hydrocephalus. The Hydrocephalus Association reports that approximately 80 percent of all patients suffering from this disease go without treatment because they never receive the correct diagnosis. California patients who receive treatment for the wrong illness can have serious complications and even ultimately succumb to something that might have been treatable in the first place. When a patient suffers a wrongful death because of a misdiagnosis, surviving family members are often left to pick up the pieces and address any remaining financial concerns, such as unexpected funeral expenses. Many families find that the easiest way to handle the related damages is through the successful navigation of a medical malpractice claim.

Source: wpxi.com, "Thousands of older Americans being misdiagnosed with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's", Feb. 25, 2016

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