Furr & Henshaw
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Eating disorder misdiagnosis puts many in danger

Although most people in South Carolina and across the country have heard of anorexia and bulimia, there’s a whole other category of eating disorders known as “Eating disorder not otherwise specified.” This catch-all phrase lumps together numerous patients with unhealthy eating behavior, but because it is so broad and the symptoms do not fit into typical categories like more mainstream disorders, patients are often left undiagnosed. Failure to diagnose is just one example of hospital negligence.

Failure to diagnose is dangerous for these patients because those fitting into the EDNOS category have the highest death rates when compared with all other eating disorders. As many as 60 percent of eating disorder patients are diagnosed with EDINOS. Although these patients face big risks, many do not appear too thin, leading some doctors to consider them to be in better shape than those who have bulimia or anorexia.

Failing to get to the root of the issue can have major ramifications for EDNOS patients. Without an intervention early on and especially when doctors assume that these patients are “healthier” or “safer” than other eating disordered patients, an individual might lose out on an opportunity to correct certain behavior or alter their habits.

Without clear indicators for bulimia or anorexia, a patient might never even consider themselves as having an eating disorder because the idea has never been presented to them by medical professionals. Not identifying these patients early may even lead to the patient’s death.

An attorney experienced in medical malpractice may be able to assist anyone who believes they may have been the victim of a doctor’s failure to diagnose or any other form of doctor error. In the meantime, hopefully medical professionals will find a better way to classify and diagnose eating disorders that currently go unnoticed or untreated.

Source: The Atlantic, “The Girl Who Wouldn’t Drink Water,” Susie Neilson, April 24, 2014

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