Of the forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, meaning the progressive wasting away and death of brain cells characterizes it. This disease typically begins with memory loss; changes occur in the part of the brain that affects learning, making it difficult for people to remember newly acquired information. Alzheimer’s disease impacts parts of the brain associated with memory, language, and thought control. This disease can lead to the inability to carry on conversations, respond to environmental stimuli, and impair someone’s capabilities of performing daily activities.
In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, deaths due to Alzheimer’s have increased by 145 percent between 2000 and 2017. In the United States, more than five million people live with Alzheimer’s disease, with nearly 97 percent being older Americans, aged 65 and up. Alzheimer’s is a prevalent cause of declines in health and disability. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is a crucial, life-changing one that doctors need to get right.
What if they don’t get it right?
Surprisingly, medical researchers suggest that there is a nearly 20 percent discrepancy between the pathological diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the clinical diagnosis.
Misdiagnosed Alzheimer’s can cause stress for patients who do not have the disease but hear that they do from a professional. Following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, patients and their families can become emotionally overwhelmed. They begin making caregiver arrangements, and some even start planning their deaths. If patients are falsely diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but have a different disease, this misdiagnosis can prevent patients from receiving proper treatment for the illness they have.
A new brain scan for Alzheimer’s optimizes early detection of the disease. Researchers assert that this noninvasive scan detects changes in the brain that signal Alzheimer’s disease without the use of radiation. According to experts, changes in brain function correlate with changes in glucose metabolism and blood flow. For this reason, the new scan, using a technique called arterial spin labeling (ASL-MRI), detects alterations in blood flow and glucose uptake in the brain’s memory centers.
A brain scan, especially one using ASL-MRI, can improve the detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that only sixteen percent of older adults receive cognitive assessments at regular health check-ups. Brain scans and cognitive assessments can benefit older adults and younger adults alike.
An incorrect diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be grounds for a patient to sue a doctor or hospital. Why? Misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to medical errors that are harmful to patients. The negligence and the failure of a doctor or medical professional to competently perform their duties lead to medical errors. When patients and their families think the medical treatment given was inadequate and resulted in damages, they should consult medical malpractice lawyers and pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit. A legal expert, such as a malpractice lawyer practicing at Cummings Injury Law, can help patients receive the compensation they deserve for damages they incurred.
A patient must be able to prove duty, dereliction, direct causation, and damage at the hands of the doctor that treated them to have a valid medical malpractice claim. A malpractice lawyer can provide expert legal advice and help a patient prove that the negligence and incompetence of a doctor directly harmed them physically, mentally, or emotionally. In malpractice cases, patients and their lawyers must demonstrate that harm would not have occurred if the patient were treated under the same or similar circumstances by a competent doctor.
Clients seeking a medical malpractice suit should inform their lawyer if they lost the ability to work following treatment. Additionally, they should make a note of any changes they have had to make to their lifestyle and any medical expenses. Medical malpractice lawyers can provide support to clients while fighting on their behalf for fair compensation. A medical malpractice lawsuit catalyzed by a misdiagnosis holds doctors and medical professionals accountable for harmful actions that can have a severe impact on the lives of their patients.