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Failure to diagnose trigeminal neuralgia can be medical malpractice that can cause extreme pain to a patient

Distribution of the maxillary and mandibular nerves, and the submaxillary ganglion. Source: Wikipedia

Facial nerves, Source: Wikipedia

Failure to diagnose a rare disease called trigeminal neuralgia (TN) can be medical malpractice. The disorder can cause pain so extreme to a patient that it has been nicknamed “the suicide disease”.

In a recent article in the Washington Post, Sandra G. Boodman describes the story of a 59 year old man who almost died after a cohort of doctors he visited were unable to make a proper diagnosis.
Trigeminal Neuralgia, also called tic douloureux, is a painful condition that affects the trigeminal nerve (the fifth cranial nerve) which transmits sensations from the face to the brain. Someone who suffers from this condition can experience excruciating pain just by washing his or her teeth or eating.  The condition which is rare is often caused by a blood vessel pressing on the nerve or an injury to the nerve which may have occurred during a sinus surgery or a dental procedure. Pain killers are not really effective in treating the pain and surgery remains the best option.

In her article the author, describes the nightmare that 59 year old Kim Pace and his wife Carole went trough.  Bouncing from one doctor to another, they finally went to the John Hopkins Trigeminal Neuralgia Center where Kim was proprely diagnosed. Kim underwent surgery there. He was was back at work 6 weeks later.