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My Fibromyalgia Was Misdiagnosed: Can I Sue for Compensation?


According to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research, the condition of fibromyalgia is frequently misdiagnosed. Researchers examined clinician diagnosis with published criteria to see if the disease was being misclassified, comparing clinical diagnosis and criteria-based diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

Out of 497 patients who completed the Multidimensional Health Assessment Questionnaire and the 2010 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) preliminary diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia questionnaire, a university clinic found that 121 (24.3%) patients met ACR criteria for fibromyalgia. Meanwhile, 104 (20.9%) received a clinician diagnosis of fibromyalgia. While the agreement between clinical and criteria-based diagnosis was 79.2%, clinicians could not identify 60 (49.6%) criteria-positive patients and misidentified 43 (11.4%) criteria-negative patients.

Investigators concluded that, “There is considerable disagreement between ICD clinical diagnosis and criteria-based diagnosis of fibromyalgia, calling into question ICD-based studies.” They also stated that, “Fibromyalgia criteria were easy to use, but problems regarding clinician bias, meaning of a fibromyalgia diagnosis, and the validity of physician diagnosis were substantial.”

What Can I Do About My Fibromyalgia Misdiagnosis?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition. Because fibromyalgia is not life-threatening (you cannot die from it,) it would not usually qualify as grounds to sue for misdiagnosis.

However, because the pain of fibromyalgia is so severe, you may still have a case depending on various circumstances related to misdiagnosis. For instance, there have been reports among the medical community of fibromyalgia-related pain becoming so intense that individuals suffering from it actually committed suicide. One Danish study found that suicide rates among those suffering from fibromyalgia was 10 times higher than the normal average.

Fibromyalgia often exists alongside other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular joint disorders, migraines and other types of headaches, and interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome. This is significant because failing to diagnosis fibromyalgia on top of these other issues may exacerbate chronic pain to the point where it becomes unbearable. It’s also important to remember that the effects of fibromyalgia go beyond the body to affect the mind, too.  

In addition to extreme musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia sufferers may also experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sleep
  • Memory problems
  • Mood issues

If your doctor has failed to diagnose your fibromyalgia for an extended period of time, and you have suffered from chronic pain, mental issues, and thoughts of suicide, it may be possible to secure compensation.

Conversely, you should consult with a lawyer as well if a more serious condition has been wrongly diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Because the pain related to the condition is so severe, it could possible for an inexperienced doctor to diagnose what is actually a life-threatening disease as something manageable like fibromyalgia.

It’s also worth noting that certain studies cite fibromyalgia as a contributing factor in cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and liver disease.

Consult with a Lawyer to Seek Compensation for Your Pain

At The Law Offices of David Henderson, I promise to fight for the people of Alaska when they are in pain. As an Anchorage misdiagnosis lawyer, I have spent years advocating for those who have suffered because of medical professionals’ negligence. I have a range of experience in medical malpractice cases, and promise to fight till the very end to secure you maximum compensation.

Call (888) 295-6566 now to schedule your free consultation, or contact me online 24/7.