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Study finds factors for misdiagnosis of optical tumors

Optic nerve sheath meningiomas, or ONSM, are a rare type of tumor that develops around the optic nerve. Though they are considered benign, ONSM cause vision problems as the tumor grows and presses on the optic nerve. Optic nerve sheath meningiomas account for one-third of all optic nerve tumors. The tumors can be difficult to treat as they are often initially misdiagnosed until loss of vision has occurred.

A new study by researchers at Emory School of Medicine looked at the reasons that patients with ONSM in Pennsylvania and across the United States are initially misdiagnosed. The researchers found that doctors often don't order the correct tests, fail to interpret magnetic resonance imaging tests properly, give erroneous funduscopic assessments and form a biased diagnosis before further looking at symptoms.

The researchers also looked at the unnecessary treatment that the patients had received as a result of being misdiagnosed. The study found that 48 percent of patients had received unnecessary tests, 24 percent had received unnecessary steroid treatments and 20 percent received unnecessary lumbar punctures. Researchers hope that the new study will reduce misdiagnosed cases in the future.

Patients who are misdiagnosed with a condition may go through unnecessary, costly and uncomfortable tests and medical treatments. Doctors have the ethical responsibility to thoroughly examine their patients and take the time to order the correct tests in order to make a proper diagnosis. When this doesn't occur, the doctor may have acted negligently and committed medical malpractice. A lawyer may be able to look at the details of a potential medical malpractice case in order to determine if the doctor acted negligently. In this case, a doctor who had formed a biased preestablished diagnosis before thoroughly examining the patient may have acted negligently. A lawyer may be able to help a patient receive financial compensation as a result.

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