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Diagnosing of Ataxia

A man who works in Pennsylvania suffers from Ataxia, and he is co-chairman of a support group for individuals afflicted with this syndrome. Unfortunately, Ataxia is not always easy to diagnose, and doctors often are guilty of misdiagnosis by telling such patients that they have multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease instead.

Ataxia can affect various movements of the joints, can create problems with balance, can affect speech and swallowing, and may eventually immobilize the patient and leave them confined to a wheelchair. Ataxia affects many different age groups, and the onset can begin in childhood or into late middle age.

The reason why a medical misdiagnosis is of such significance is that it so often prevents the patient from receiving the treatment they badly need. Though there is not currently known a cure for this disease, certain medications can treat specific symptoms related to Ataxia. Patients can also make certain lifestyle choices that help in living with such a condition.

Patients cannot receive treatment or make such adjustments if he or she is wrongly diagnosed. Difficult though a diagnosis may be, a doctor should make every effort to discover what the problem is concerning a patient to prevent needless suffering.

Most doctors will do all that they can to help their patients. However, some doctors will summarily conclude a patient's syndrome without providing the needed tests, examinations and analysis to accurately diagnose a patient's condition and formulate a treatment plan. Attorneys can help such patients determine whether the doctor did what every doctor should do in their position.

Source: Delaware Online, "Ataxia's war of mind and muscles," by William Bretzger, September 4, 2012

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