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Are You Watching Enough TV?

An East Meadows woman who was misdiagnosed with asthma credits a popular TV talk show for her medical recovery.
When she was a 10-year-old girl, doctors told 28-year-old Nicole LaCentra that she had severe asthma. For most of the next two decades, she used a wide range of inhalers, steroids, and nebulizers, but her breathing and health never improved measurably. That all changed when Ms. LaCentra watched an episode of CBS’ The Doctors that highlighted subhlottic stenosis, which is a narrowing of the airway that is often caused by scar tissue. She went in for tests and underwent corrective surgery. Doctors told her that her airway was 70 percent obstructed and that, if she had not had the procedure done, she might have suffocated in her sleep.
Dr. Travis Stork, the show’s host, commented that an early misdiagnosis often follows a person for years.
Misdiagnosis
Because they are afraid that the insurance company will refuse to pay for procedures that it does not deem medically necessary, doctors often do not order a full range of diagnostic tests. As a result, many doctors diagnose based on age, risk factors, and their intuition as opposed to the patient’s symptoms. In fact, a doctor listens to a patient for an average of 23 seconds before interrupting and asking questions.
These dynamics seem to have been in effect in the above story. When a 10-year-old girl comes in complaining of breathing problems, the harried doctor does not perform tests or think outside the box, but diagnosis asthma, writes a prescription, and ends the appointment. Future physicians review the medical records, and rather than second-guess the diagnosis and order time-consuming and expensive tests, they change the medicine or its dosage.
Cancer is commonly misdiagnosed for similar reasons, especially if the patient has no risk factors or family history. The doctor assumes that the patient’s symptoms must be caused by something else, and diagnose and treat it accordingly.
Misdiagnosed patients are entitled to compensation for both their economic damages, like revision surgery, and noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering. Punitive damages are also available, in many cases.
Doctors have a duty to diagnose based on facts and not on their own suppositions. For a free consultation with attorneys who hold negligent doctors accountable, contact our office. We have six locations in the Tri-State area.

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Mitchell Proner is an amazing and very experienced trial lawyer, who takes care of his clients. He represented me in a car accident case, kept me very informed during the lengthy legal process and got me the settlement that I expected. His friendly office staff was always willing to assist and answer any questions I had. I recommend Mitchell Proner to all my friends and family!

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