Lack of diagnosis leads to lawsuit

Here’s an interesting case. A Portland couple is suing a hospital, clinic, doctor, and nurse practitioner for not diagnosing Duchenne muscular dystrophy in their second son. The couple had a third son who also has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The couple says if their second son had been diagnosed earlier, that is, before they had their third son, they may have decided NOT to have the third child. This is because Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is due to a genetic defect, is not curable and is often fatal.

Let’s take a look at the timeline. The couple’s second son was born in 2003 and the third in 2008. The second son had some developmental issues from infancy but wasn’t diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy until 2010. The disease is usually diagnosed by age 5 and affects only boys. It is relatively rare, though, and afflicts about one in 3.000 boys. Diagnosis is done with a muscle biopsy or a blood test and is not complex, but most doctors wouldn’t think to test for it unless they made a connection between the symptoms and the disease. Symptoms include frequent falling, difficulty ascending stairs, delays in walking, and large calf muscles.

The Portland couple, Kerry and Scott Tomlinson, blame their medical providers for failing to recognize the symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy in their second son and thus failing to properly test him and diagnose him. They are seeking a total of just over $23 million.

For more information on this story, see this article.