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Diagnosis failure results in jury award

New Mexico patients who are concerned about whether their illnesses have been properly treated may be interested to learn of a case in which a hospital was required to pay $29 million to a patient because of a failure to diagnose her condition. The patient, who has Wilson's disease, is now suffering from significant complications because of a delayed diagnosis. According to the jury, the rare condition the woman had may have been treated with little difficulty if the hospital had given a diagnosis and treatment in a more timely fashion.

Wilson's disease is a genetic disorder that results in an accumulation of copper in critical organs and occurs only rarely. The brain and the liver are the organs that are most affected, and it can result in permanent neurological disorders and brain damage and the deterioration of speech, cognitive and motor skills.

The physicians had diagnosed the patient with depression and anxiety despite assertions from her and her family that her symptoms, which included the loss of balance, fainting and tremors so severe she was unable to write, were not related to those disorders. According to the patient and the family, the diagnostic tests for Wilson's disease were conducted only at their insistence. The patient's mother repeatedly demanded neurological testing, which the physicians refused, stating the symptoms were related to anxiety and depression. Five months later, the patient had impaired speech, muscle spasms, dysphagia and multiple other conditions that left her permanently unable to walk and needing a feeding tube.

Victims of doctor negligence may have legal recourse and should speak with an attorney who has experience with these types of matters. Medical malpractice litigation is complex, and attorneys could have access to medical experts who give their opinions that the practitioner or facility should be held financially responsible for a patient's losses.

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