When a doctor misdiagnoses his patient with a life changing condition, it can be pretty serious. The patient and his or her family members may be struggling with figuring out how to handle any potential changes to diet, care, or other aspects of an action plan. The patient could be at a loss regarding how to handle next steps, especially if major changes need to occur. Extensive plans can be put into place, all for not, and leave patients confused, depressed, anxious and unsure of where to turn. This is exactly what happened at a cognitive center in Ohio. Patients at the Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center were recently wrongfully diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Clinicians at the center are tasked with treating individuals who come to them after having experienced traumatic brain injuries, potentially impacting their mental health, or short term memory loss. Alzheimer’s is a serious progressive disease that destroys the memory and other important mental functions in those who have the condition. The patients who were wrongfully diagnosed with diminished mental function have indicated they’ve been dealing with profound depression, some even quitting there jobs and selling off household items in anticipation of having to move into a more controlled, monitored environment. One patient, Gary Taynor, even committed suicide following the news. An autopsy was performed on Gary’s body, and medical personnel found no signs of the disease.
A lawsuit was filed by Toledo attorney David Zoll initially against the center on behalf of three former patients and their spouses, with many others joining soon after it was issued. In investigating the matter, it was discovered that one of the physicians at the clinic, Sherry-Ann Jenkins, doesn’t even possess a medical or psychology license, although she does have her doctorate in physiological science. Jenkins hadn’t worked first hand with most of the patients in the suit, yet she was often listed as the referring physician in paperwork and approved their medical tests which led to the Alzheimer’s diagnoses. She was referred to patients after the memory loss diagnoses and began to treat these individuals for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
When interviewed, the clinic admitted to the fact that Jenkins was unlicensed, but refused to admit to any of the other allegations listed in the case. Michael D’Eramo, Chief Administrative Officer of the Toledo Clinic stated, “It is our hope and expectation that Dr. Jenkins will get her legal due process and the ability to demonstrate that helping patients has always been her priority.”
Zoll said he felt the clinic was simply trying to make a profit by issuing the misdiagnoses. The medical testing prescribed and reoccurring appointments issued under Jenkins would bring in a great amount of money for the center. The lawsuit has been assigned to Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook and claimants are seeking more than $75,000 in compensatory damages in addition to $1 million in punitive damages each, as well as their individual attorney fees. The monetary gain obviously will not completely rectify the damage done to those misdiagnosed or bring lost loved ones back.