The Law Offices of John Phebus

Misdiagnosing fibromyalgia

Arizona residents who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia may want to know that only a small number of people who receive the diagnosis actually suffer from the condition. As many as two-thirds of diagnosed fibromyalgia patients have been misdiagnosed and are actually suffering from another medical condition. Fibromyalgia is only correctly diagnosed when all other functional and medical conditions have been considered and eliminated.

Physicians tend to refer to a host of symptoms that can have multiple causes as fibromyalgia. In addition, they may prescribe the same type of treatment to all of their patients who have been erroneously diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Other than classic fibromyalgia, the medical conditions that may cause extensive pain and fatigue can be separated into three broad groups. They include non-fibromyalgia medical conditions, functional or metabolic disorders or musculoskeletal issues. The standard treatment that is used for classic fibromyalgia is not effective for the patients who suffer from these three other conditions.

In order to prescribe the right treatment, it is necessary to determine the cause of the pain and fatigue. Physicians must rule out the existence of medical conditions that can cause the symptoms of classic fibromyalgia. This may entail conducting a number of laboratory screening tests, including standard blood chemistry, complete red and white blood cell count with white cell differential, and Lyme, autoimmune and rheumatic profiles.

Individuals who have been misdiagnosed by a physician may suffer from worsening symptoms of the actual medical condition, be provided with improper medication or incur harm in other ways. This type of doctor error might constitute medical malpractice if it can be shown that the practitioner did not provide the requisite standard of care, and an attorney for a patient will endeavor to demonstrate that through the use of opinion testimony from medical experts.

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