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Misdiagnosis leads to unnecessary removal of kidneys

Readers in Houston, Texas, expecting to undergo surgery may be surprised to learn about what a recent international study published in The Lancet found. According to the study, certain misdiagnosis issues related to such procedures actually resulted in unnecessary kidney removal.

These misdiagnoses occur because many doctors are unfamiliar with what is known as tuberous sclerosis complex; benign kidney tumors are common among those who have the genetic disorder. However, because doctors are unfamiliar with it, they often incorrectly diagnose it as cancer-related and opt to perform ultimately unnecessary surgery. However, just because a kidney looks bad does not necessarily mean it is not functioning normally, as can be the case with those who have TSC. Luckily for these patients, a new drug that can help treat kidney complications is being tested to treat those with the disorder.

Although this type of misdiagnosis was identified in the study, misdiagnosis cases in general are not uncommon in Texas. They can cause unnecessary and expensive treatment that could lead to substantial harm to patients and their families. When a person dies or is harmed as a result of fatal misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis by a negligent physician, financial compensation for medical negligence is available under Texas law. Surviving patients, or families of the deceased, can pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against a physician or hospital to obtain compensation for damages sustained as a result of misdiagnosis, delayed treatment or other negligence in a patient's care and treatment.

To prevent future harm and loss of life to those in need of medical care, it is important that physicians are held accountable when they disregard a patient's symptoms or fail to make a proper diagnosis. Proper training and up-to-date knowledge on illnesses like Tuberous sclerosis can help avoid similar mistakes. However, when they do occur, remedies are available to help victims or their family recover financially.

Source: U.S News and World Report, "Kidneys Sometimes Removed Needlessly in Patients With Rare Genetic Disorder," Lisa Esposito, Jan. 10, 2013

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