When reporting new, troubling or ongoing symptoms, patients must rely on their doctors' expertise and knowledge in the world of health care. It is perhaps not unreasonable to expect that these professionals should take careful review of all symptoms before rendering a diagnosis or ordering further testing, but many patients in New Jersey are not afforded this treatment. Negligence continues to contribute to an alarmingly high rate of misdiagnoses.
A recent estimate put the number of Americans suffering from a sleep disorder at 70 million. Sleep can have a profound effect on a person's health and well-being, making the accurate diagnosis of such disorders especially important. Still, approximately 40 million people go undiagnosed, many of whom have sought help from their doctor only to be given the wrong diagnosis or treatment regimen. Some doctors even give the impression that sleep is not necessarily a medical problem.
For instance, many sufferers of restless legs syndrome -- RLS -- are diagnosed as suffering from arthritis, anxiety or even poor circulation. RLS causes sufferers to experience troubling sensations in their legs, many of which make it extremely difficult to fall and stay asleep. Many doctors misdiagnose RLS by looking at the lack of sleep as a side effect of another condition rather than the condition itself.
Patients with chronic insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea are also prone to being misdiagnosed. The failure to recognize these disorders leaves patients confused and unable to get the real help that they so desperately need. When negligence impedes a New Jersey patient's ability to receive an accurate diagnosis, it is sometimes necessary to seek compensation for related damages, including medical bills, emotional trauma and long lasting pain and suffering.
Source: richmond.com, "Consumer Reports: Millions in the dark about sleep disorders", April 2, 2016