Does anyone really need more than one ‘guess’?
Hundreds of people say a Michigan doctor falsely diagnosed them with epilepsy. He wouldn’t be the first to lie to patients about how sick they are.
Olga Khazan, Aug 15, 2019
The Atlantic – The headaches started when Mariah Martinez was 10 years old.
It was 2003, and she was living in Dearborn, Michigan, with her mother and two sisters. Whenever a headache struck, she would want to put her head down, stay in the dark, and be alone.
Martinez saw her primary-care physician, who referred her to Yasser Awaad, a pediatric neurologist at a hospital that was then known as Oakwood Healthcare.
Right away, Martinez told me, Awaad ordered an electroencephalogram, or EEG, a test that uses electrodes to detect abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
In a small room, Martinez was wrapped in bandages and had wires placed all over her head.
The procedure required her to be sleep-deprived; she came in on one or two hours of sleep after staying up much of the night watching TV.
After performing two EEGs a week apart, Awaad, according to court documents, told Martinez’s mother that her daughter had what are called atypical partial absence seizures.
Rather than full-body convulsions, absence seizures are those in which a person stares off into space, blinks, or makes small, repetitive motions.
Martinez was confused by the diagnosis; she didn’t know what epilepsy was. Awaad, she said, told her that headaches or staring spells could be signs she was having a seizure, or had just had one. So each time she caught herself daydreaming, she thought, Oh my God, I had a seizure!
Awaad put Martinez on the anti-seizure medication Lamictal. Several months later, her headaches had gotten even worse, and Awaad increased her dose, court documents say.
Over the next four years, Martinez underwent 10 more EEGs … Read more.