Headaches may signify a brain tumor. At least, one percent of the time.
Although unwanted, headaches are normal occurrences, even in healthy people. It’s only when the intervals between these episodes of pain grow shorter do they signify a deep-seated problem in the body. Doctors are often caught in a complicated issue regarding headaches. Most cases are just normal headaches, but doctors can’t risk being sued for a misdiagnosis.
In 2013, the American Academy of Neurology released a list of recommendations regarding the manner of diagnosing headaches and other neurological symptoms. One item that caught most experts’ eyes was the limit on using electroencephalography (EEG) on headaches. The release reports that “EEG has no advantage over clinical evaluation.”
As laudable as the AAN’s campaign for medical efficiency seems, some experts say it disregards critical knowledge about brain tumors. Ammar Hawasli, resident neurosurgeon at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, says potential brain tumor cases can be missed. In this case, doctors can be sued for a delayed diagnosis.
Supporting that stand is John Tonich, a brain tumor survivor. In 2011, he was rushed to the local hospital after suffering from headache and dizziness. Given that concussions aren’t uncommon in amateur wrestling, where Tonich participates, his parents thought that it’s nothing more but a hit to the head. A cautionary CT scan, however, revealed a tumor called a medulloblastoma.
There are other ways for medical facilities to cut costs, but reducing the quality of care isn’t one. Even if tumor-induced headaches happen only one percent of the time, doctors are obligated to take every precaution to detect diseases early. In fact, Elizabeth Loder, neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says the AAN’s campaign isn’t a cost-cutting initiative.
If proven that damage or death could’ve been prevented by timely diagnosis, the affected party can sue the hospital or medical facility. For Joseph Lichtenstein, a medical malpractice lawyer in Bronx, delayed diagnosis doesn’t only involve withholding test results but also failing to investigate the health concern thoroughly.
While the scientific community is still trying to demystify the mechanism behind headaches, it’s better to deal with it accordingly when it happens. It’s the doctor’s responsibility to investigate and understand symptoms as they occur, and they have the skill and equipment to do so at their disposal. A reputable Bronx medical malpractice lawyer demands nothing less of quality care.
(Source: “Limits on Neuroimaging for Headache Risky?” Medscape, January 6, 2015)