Parkinson’s Disease misdiagnosed in 25% of patients

  • January 8, 2020
  • Parkinson’s Disease in the UK

    A recent poll conducted by Parkinson’s UK has found that one in four people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease were initially misdiagnosed.

    The poll, which reviewed more than 2,000 people living with Parkinson’s Disease, found that 26% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease were initially diagnosed with something else.

    In addition, 21% of those reviewed had to visit their GP three or more times before being referred to a Parkinson’s Disease specialist meaning that treatment is being delayed.

    The poll also found that those who were most likely to be misdiagnosed were aged 51 to 60 and that women were more likely to be misdiagnosed than men.

    Failings in diagnosis

    One participant told Parkinson’s UK that she had suffered from a tremor for a little while, but attended her GP when she noticed that her left foot was dragging at the age of 26. She liaised with her GP and attended various appointments for four years to investigate the reason for her foot drag. During that time she was told that she was “doing it to herself”. She was incorrectly diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder and was told that her left foot dragging was a sign of learned behaviour.

    After four years she was eventually correctly diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and could finally start to receive the treatment she needed to obtain a better quality of life.

    Although there is currently no cure, delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis mean that patients are not being provided with the medication, physiotherapy and occupational therapy which can help them to live with Parkinson’s Disease.

    Unnecessary surgery

    As a result of misdiagnosis, treatment has been provided to people for illnesses which they do not have. Of the people involved in the poll, 48% of those who were misdiagnosed were given treatment for their misdiagnosed condition, with 6% undergoing unnecessary surgery or other procedures. A further 6% of people have received a combination of medication and surgery, all of which was entirely unnecessary.

    Over a quarter of those who received unnecessary treatment found that their health deteriorated as a result.

    Parkinson’s UK is currently undertaking research to find a diagnostic test, but until that time patients are reliant on health professionals to recognise the signs at the earliest stage possible and provide specialist support and treatment.

    Ally Taft, Partner at Medical Accident Group, said: “Undergoing surgery carries risks for everyone, regardless of the circumstances, and should not be undertaken lightly. Whilst Parkinson’s Disease is unfortunately difficult to diagnose, allowing patients to undergo unnecessary surgery and receive treatment for an illness which they do not have is deeply concerning.”

    If you or a family member have suffered as a result of misdiagnosis or an unnecessary medical procedure, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors who will guide you through the process of making a claim.

    Call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at [email protected].

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