For some New York residents, getting diagnosed with a rare disease, like a mitochondrial disease, can be extremely difficult. In some cases, patients may see multiple doctors and undergo a variety of different tests before being diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease.
Researchers conducted a survey of 210 individuals who had been diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease. Patients reported that, on average, they saw eight physicians before they were diagnosed correctly. More than half of the patients reported that they were misdiagnosed before they received an accurate diagnosis, and 32 percent of these patients reported being misdiagnosed more than once. Of these patients, about 13 percent were misdiagnosed with a psychiatric disorder while 12 percent were misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Mitochondrial diseases are genetic disorders that result when the mitochondria fails. The mitochondria, which is comprised of intercellular compartments, is responsible for creating about 90 percent of all the total energy the body needs to sustain the base functions. The symptoms of a mitochondrial disease can range from difficulty walking, weakness, fatigue and droopy eyelids, among others. Because the symptoms can be so varied, getting an accurate diagnosis can be difficult, especially because the symptoms can also mimic other diseases. Further, many primary care doctors are not familiar or aware of mitochochondrial diseases.
Patients who suffer from chronic fatigue and other similar symptoms may have difficulty working or even completing normal tasks. A doctor’s failure to diagnose an illness or disease could prolong a patient’s ability to return to normal life or could result in causing the symptoms to worsen. When a failure to diagnose a disease results in serious harm to a patient, a medical malpractice attorney may assist with seeking appropriate compensation.