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One misdiagnosis reveals importance of second opinions

| May 18, 2018 | Firm News

You have likely heard of people wanting to receive a second opinion when they are doubtful about a first diagnosis. Wanting a second opinion does not mean you are distrustful of the first doctor, it simply means you want to get the full picture of your medical condition and want as much professional input as possible. One woman from Nebraska learned the importance of a second opinion the hard way when she discovered she had cerebrospinal fluid leaking from her brain over the course of several years. 

After a car accident, the woman experienced a chronic runny nose accompanied by headaches. The doctor she went to initially diagnosed it as simple allergies. She lost approximately eight ounces of cerebral fluid a day for several years, but fortunately, she was able to get the diagnosis she needed and is currently recovering. 

What is cerebrospinal fluid?

Cerebrospinal fluid is the substance that surrounds your brain. It partly serves as a buffer between the brain and the skull, offering you some protection in the event of a physical impact. However, thousands of cases occur every year in which a person experiences a crack in the skull, allowing fluid to leak out. Occasionally, a leak is completely spontaneous with no apparent cause. However, many people experience leaking after a traumatic event, such as a car crash, which is what happened in this instance. 

How did the misdiagnosis occur?

While the Nebraskan woman made headlines, many people receive a misdiagnosis for their conditions. The reason comes down to the fact that doctors believe the fluid to be mucus, and allergies are a common condition. However, even allergies will get better over time with medication or the changing of the seasons. If your condition, whether it is cerebrospinal fluid leaks or something else, does not improve over time, then you should absolutely receive a second opinion. It is unknown if the woman will pursue legal action against the doctors, but anyone who received a misdiagnosis should consider filing a medical malpractice claim.