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Contradicting diagnoses can be just as bad as a failed diagnosis

Most people know that failing to diagnosis a medical condition can be problematic because it can delay treatment, causing a person's condition to deteriorate faster than if they were receiving proper medical care. But few realize that contradicting diagnoses can be just as damaging as a misdiagnosis or failed diagnosis.

This was highlighted for residents here in Florida by a case out of Virginia where two psychiatrists will go before the state Board of Medicine to defend their actions in the case of a deceased 24-year-old man. Not only will the doctors have to explain why they both diagnosed him with attention deficit disorder but they will also have to explain why they both prescribed but failed to monitor his intake of the prescription drug Adderall.

This particular case has grabbed national attention because it highlights a problem many may not consider: contradicting diagnoses. In the case of the 24-year-old man, the two doctors diagnosed him with ADD while a neuropsychologist diagnosed him with schizotypal personality disorder. While both conditions do have some overlapping symptoms, according to WebMD, both may require completely different treatments.

The young man’s parents believe that their son was wrongly diagnosed and prescribed Adderall to which he became addicted. And even though his condition deteriorated while on the prescription drug, both doctors failed to recognize their potential mistake, which the man’s parents believe ultimately led to their son’s suicide.

Though the man’s parents have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, their case is not scheduled for trial until July 2015, meaning they will have to wait another year before finding out if justice will be served or not.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Va. Beach doctors to go before board in Adderall case," Elizabeth Simpson, July 26, 2014

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