Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Doctor Accused of False MS Diagnosis For Hundreds of Patients

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | Sep 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Every year, thousands of patients are devastated to learn that they have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). There is no known cure for MS and scientists are still not clear what causes the disease. Diagnosing MS can help manage the disease, treat some of the symptoms, and try and prevent new attacks. It is unconscionable that a doctor would falsely diagnose patients with MS; however, that is exactly what patients in Colorado are alleging against a doctor who has now lost his license to practice medicine.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease where insulating covers of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. When nerve impulses travel through the central nervous system, the impulses can be distorted or interrupted where the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged. This can cause a variety of symptoms for the individual, including fatigue, weakness, vision problems, bladder problems, walking difficulty, numbness or tingling, involuntary spasms, brain function, and emotional changes.

It is estimated that more than 2 million people suffer from multiple sclerosis. Mercedes Aragon is not one of those people. However, her doctor diagnosed her with MS, and treated her for the disease she did not have for the next five years. Aragon went to see Dr. Gary M. Weiss at Weiss Medical Associates in Aspen, Colorado. She was complaining of dizziness and neck pain. Dr. Weiss began treating her for MS and continued treating her for years.

After another doctor bought Weiss's practice in 2013, Dr. Mark Pithan told Aragon that he was not sure she had MS, and sent her to another doctor who performed a cerebral spinal fluid analysis. Dr. Simon Oh then told Aragon that she did not have MS, another doctor confirmed the false diagnosis. Over the years of her treatment, Weiss had Aragon undergo 23 MRIs at a facility owned by Dr. Weiss, showing no change over that time.

Brenda Culhane had a similar experience with Dr. Weiss. She initially went to see Weiss in 2007, complaining of upper extremity weakness. After an MRI, Weiss diagnosed Culhane with MS. She continued treatment for MS with Dr. Weiss for the next seven years, receiving more than 100 Tysabri infusion treatments and at least seven MRIs from the Weiss-owned facility. After Dr. Pithan took over the center, he recommended Culhane get a second opinion on her diagnosis. A test of her cerebral spinal fluid confirmed she was negative for MS.

These two women have filed a federal lawsuit against Dr. Weiss, claiming he negligently diagnosed them with MS and improperly treated them, resulting in pain, depression, and insomnia. Dr. Pithan has also filed a lawsuit against Dr. Weiss, alleging that the practice he bought had a large percentage of the profits from MRI and EEG tests that were not medically needed. It is unclear how many other former patients of Weiss have been similarly misdiagnosed, but Dr. Pithan has overturned the MS diagnosis of about 20 former patients of Dr. Weiss.

Others have complained to the Colorado Medical Board about his treatment of MS.In 2014, Dr. Weiss entered into a settlement agreement with the Colorado Medical Board, agreeing not to apply for reinstatement of his medical license in the future. However, Dr. Weiss has since moved to Florida, and still has a license to practice medicine in that state.

If you have been harmed as the result of medical misdiagnosis or mistreatment, the Gilman & Bedigian team is fully equipped to handle the complex process of bringing a medical malpractice claim on your behalf. Our staff, including a physician and attorneys with decades of malpractice litigation experience, will focus on getting your family compensation, so you can focus on healing and moving forward.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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