Could You Sue for a Wrong Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Serving Victims of Wrong Diagnoses of Alzheimer’s in New Jersey

Alzheimer’s disease is a mental disorder that causes memory loss and deterioration of other mental functions. It typically onsets in old age, and by some estimates as many as three million elderly Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every year. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating for the patient and his or her loved ones; and, while there are medications and other palliative treatment options available, there is currently no known cure.

Recent studies, however, suggest that Alzheimer’s disease may be grossly over-diagnosed. For example, one widely reported study released in 2016 found that as many as 20 percent of Alzheimer’s diagnoses are incorrect. According to the study, 10.8 percent of diagnoses are “false positives” (when a patient who has a different disease or condition is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s), and another 10.8 percent are “false negatives” (when a patient who has Alzheimer’s is diagnosed with another form of dementia).

So, if you are concerned that your elderly loved one may have been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, what should you do? What if you are concerned about Alzheimer’s but your loved one’s doctor has ruled out the diagnosis?

Seeking Compensation for Misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease in New Jersey

Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are among the most common forms of medical malpractice. In New Jersey, a patient or family seeking compensation for a misdiagnosis of Alzheimer’s must prove three key elements:

  • That there was a doctor-patient relationship between the patient and the physician who provided the misdiagnosis;
  • That the physician’s failure to accurately diagnose the patient’s condition fell below the medically accepted standard of care for patients in similar circumstances; and,
  • That the misdiagnosis caused the patient quantifiable harm.

While each case presents its own unique challenges, patients who are misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or who have their Alzheimer’s misdiagnosed in New Jersey will frequently be entitled to compensation. Although there are no blood or scanning tests available to detect Alzheimer’s with 100 percent accuracy, differential diagnosis, and other techniques – when used properly – can detect Alzheimer’s with significant reliability. As researchers continue to learn more about Alzheimer’s, doctors’ ability to accurately diagnose the disease should increase as well.

How can you determine whether a family member has received an inaccurate diagnosis? The simplest answer is to seek a second (or third) opinion. It is also important to know the other medical conditions that have symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease – and which are also frequently misdiagnosed. These include:

  • Brain atrophy
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Vascular dementia

In any case, if you are concerned about a possible misdiagnosis, you should also consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney. The consequences of a misdiagnosis can be devastating, and you may need to take legal action in order to protect yourself and your family from years of financial and emotional stress.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

With offices in Teaneck, the malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. provide experienced legal representation for patients and families suffering due to misdiagnoses and other medical mistakes in New Jersey. If you would like to speak with a malpractice attorney about your options, call us at (201) 834-7043 or submit our free online form today.