Couple sues medical professionals for delayed diagnosis

An Oregon couple has introduced civil litigation against a number of health professionals for failing to diagnose their son with a serious illness.

It was not the son, the middle of three, was 7 years old that doctors finally uncovered the fact he suffered from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. During the course of time the boy went undiagnosed, a period between 2003 and 2010, the couple had a third son without knowing of the possible genetic defect. As a result, that third son was also diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

This incurable disease generally cripples children by the time they are teenagers and causes premature death. Inflicting roughly 3,000 boys, the disease is usually diagnosed by the age of 5. Some of the common symptoms of the disease include trouble going up stairs and delays in a child learning how to walk.

The middle of the three sons was born with clear abnormalities and possible symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, but he was not diagnosed until the youngest son was 2 years old.

The lawsuit, which is asking for more than $23 million in damages, claims that if doctors would not have been negligent and accurately diagnosed the middle of the three sons sooner, the couple could have sought alternative reproductive options.

The lawsuit details that $10 million being sought is to help cover the costs incurred by the physical demands of the disease. The couple also asks for $13.2 million to compensate for the physical effects of the disease on the youngest son.

The couple has named staff members of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and the clinic as a whole as defendants.

Source: The Oregonian, "Portland parents sue Legacy Emanuel, pediatrician for failing to diagnose Duchenne muscular dystrophy in son," Helen Jung, Sept. 29, 2011

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