Like most of us, diagnosis was definitely not easy for me. However, I believe it should have been much easier (as most of us do, I'm sure). In my case, I believe there may be Medical Malpractice involved and I was wondering what you all think about it. Here's my dx story (revised from my previous post...I have my Medical Record now so I can fill in the blanks better):
In 2006, I had an MRI for Migraines and to screen out M.S. because I have 3 members in my family with RRMS. Several lesions were found, but as far as I knew, I was asymptomatic at the time. I saw a few Neurologists between 2006 and 2007, and one of them ordered a Lumbar Puncture which came back positive (all numbers were highly elevated). So, now I have an MRI with positive signs and an LP with positive signs. I was also beginning to experience unexplained fatigue and was given a medication that they give to Narcolepsy patients, but at a much lower dosage. The name escapes me, but the medication worked a charm. The Neuro I was seeing at the time said that this medication rarely works in low doses for patients who do not have M.S. and he dx'd me with M.S. I began taking Copaxone shortly thereafter. A few months later, I was referred to an M.S. specialist at UCSF. He too felt that I should be on DMDs, but wanted me on Rebif, so I switched.
Later in 2007, the company I was working for as a temp decided to hire me full time and I adopted their Medical Insurance through Kaiser. This is when my trouble began. My new Neurologist felt that I did not meet the diagnostic criteria for M.S. and "suggested" that I stop taking Rebif. I scoffed, telling him that a specialist ordered the medication. He stood his ground and refused to prescribe DMDs on the basis that I did not "technically" have Multiple Sclerosis. Since the specialist was not covered under my insurance, I had no way of taking Rebi without having to pay out of pocket which I cannot afford. As it turns out, he was wrong. The unexplained fatigue that lasted for 3 months (longer than 24 hours), 2 MRIs more than 6 months apart with the 2nd having new disease activity, and a positive LP meet the 0McDonaldson dx criteria for M.S. as far as I understand. He said that since I was no longer experiencing the fatigue that this was not a symptom of M.S. and that I needed to have a definitive symptom before he would dx me.
Fast Forward to about 3 weeks ago. As you may have read in my other posts, I recently had my "first" exacerbation in the form of Optic Neuritis, ONI, Trigeminal Neuralgia, and difficulty walking due to spasticity/motor problems. I saw my Neurologist today who basically treated me like a new patient although I had just seen him 6 months prior for an MRI. He began explaining the benefits of DMDs to me when I interrupted him and said "I've already taken DMDs which you took me off of, remember?" He looked very shocked, opened his eyes very widely and said "I'm sorry". Long story short, I begin taking Rebif again tomorrow.
Is there anybody here that received a delayed diagnosis due to Medical Malpractice or knows somebody who has? I'm looking for a Malpractice lawyer in California who isn't afraid of Kaiser's arbitration process. It really irks me that the symptoms I'm experiencing now (and will probably continue to experience) would have probably been much less severe, and it is possible that I may have not even had an attack at all yet (or ever if I were very lucky). It is also a possibility that these symptoms will haunt me much more severely for the remainder of my life if they recur than they would have if I were on DMDs for an additional 2 years early in disease progression.
I will also be posting another story about a recent trip to the Emergency Room at Kaiser where I was crying in pain for 4 hours (not a long time on paper, but pain on a 10 scale is bad enough even for a minute) before being seen by a doctor due to the Triage nurse categorizing my pain incorrectly. I am curious about this as well.
Yeah, Ken, I gotta say what Sarah just said. I guess we'll see how much the government makes these companies straighten up. I certainly pray that you get the treatment you need and the respect you deserve.
Ken, I would consult with a malpractice lawyer who will give you a free initial assessment about your chances. They only take the 'good' ones to court, and generally will charge you only if you win. So that would be a way of gauging how viable your case might be.
Even though we feel that justice and logic are on our side, the legal system doesn't always work that way. You would just need to make sure you wouldn't be out any money up front.
Let me first say that your neuro that took away your DX of MS was a moron. What did he need to DX you with MS that you didn't already meet...lesions to brightly glow that formed the words MS? Didn't he realize that symptoms in MS can come and go..giving the name RRMS? Geesh!!
I would contact a malpractice lawyer in your area..just to see where you stand, and what kind of case they feel like you have. The problem is with malpractice lawsuits is that they can take years to settle and they can be hard to prove,, even when you have lots of evidence proving that a doctor/hospital/medical provider did something wrong.
The lawyer will take you on a contingency fee bases if they feel you have a good case, meaning, they don't charge a fee up front, but will take a % of the winning. If you do not win your case, they take nothing. That's why lawyers will only take malpractice law suits that are strong..because they don't want to lose.
One part of a medical malpractice law suit that has to be met, is that you had to have suffered damages from the action or lack of actions from a medical professional when it should have been clear to them. Medical professionals are held at a higher standard for their actions or lack of.
I've never myself, had a suit, but threatened one, when a hospital misdiagnosed me in the ER and sent me home, when it could have cost me my life. The next day they caught the mistake and called me back in, but didn't want to touch me. I was transferred to another hospital. They charged me for 2 ER visits, and I refused to pay, because of the mistake.I finally got in touch with a "higher up" and informed them of what happened and I would not be paying for these bills or I would be forced "to get in touch with my lawyer", and they agreed that I should not have to pay for these bills. They said that I wasn't asking too much.
There is a statue of limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits (a time limit when you can bring a lawsuit), so if you want to bring one, you need to act. Once the time limit is over, it's over. Most attorneys offer a free first visit/consultation by phone, or in person. It doesn't hurt to call and find out.
But I will warn you, and this is not to detour you in any way (I feel the same way you do about your situation. They should have never taken your DX away or the DMD, and I would want them to pay), but be prepared for them (the defense) to fight to protect their interest. Like I said before, it won't hurt to call a lawyer and find out where you stand.
In my prior life as a paralegal, I have had to sort through reams of e-mails to pull any and all correspondence that dealt with the matter involved in the case. It's amazing what I read and how much I had to present to court as evidence.
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