Getting the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is a crushing blow to patients and their families. The incurable disease that ravages fine minds and alters personalities is universally fatal, but not before it reduces patients to bed-ridden shells of who they once were.
As bad as the diagnosis is, it is a medical reality that many must come to accept, or at least endure. But what of those who are falsely diagnosed with this onerous disease?
That is the situation facing at least 50 residents in the Toledo area who were patients of a doctor at the Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center, an offshoot of the Toledo Clinic. Open for only the year between 2015 and 2016, the woman who doled out these devastating diagnoses allegedly had no medical license or training that qualified her to do so.
When a doctor is not really a physician
The woman's use of "Doctor" before her name came not from a medical degree but the Ph.D. she earned in physiological science. She was never authorized to write orders for medical testing, so her husband - a partner and licensed physician at the Toledo Clinic - signed the orders himself. His name was also found on some invoices as the physician who referred these patients for Alzheimer's testing, according to lawsuits filed by the misdiagnosed patients.
Each lawsuit seeks in excess of a million dollars for damages. Counsel for the defense, while denying many allegations in the pleadings, has not contested that the treating doctor was unlicensed.
Also named as defendant in the suit by former patients is the Toledo Clinic. Plaintiffs claim that those in charge at the medical center should have known the woman had no credentials or training to diagnose and treat patients. The chief administrative officer of the medical center declined to comment.
The terrible cost of false diagnoses
As a result of receiving a false diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, at least one patient took his own life. Others admit to contemplating - even laying the groundwork for - their own suicides. One plaintiff and former patient described filling up a bottle with pills and writing his future self a note to take when he could no longer recall his kids' names.
Others describe crushing depression and devastated family members struggling to come to terms with misdiagnoses fueled by unfettered greed, as alleged by examples of overbilling and other financial irregularities.
If you or a family member has been victimized by a physician's negligence in misdiagnosing a condition, you may need to turn to Ohio's civil court system to get compensation from the liable parties. A personal injury attorney can assist you with this endeavor.