EUGENE, Ore. -- Charles Aston is finally living a life without painful leg braces that he says he never needed. Over 13 years ago Aston was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth, a disease often compared to muscular dystrophy, which is incurable and would progressively destroy his muscles.
After years of life with leg braces, surgeries and no relief, Aston went to get a second doctor’s opinion.
He discovered that he was misdiagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth back in early 2000.
Aston's story is not uncommon. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, misdiagnosis is the leading cause of malpractice payouts in the United States.
Practitioners say there are steps you can take to avoid being one of those victims.
Many doctors encourage patients to be persistent, calling a diagnosis a work in progress rather than something set in stone.
Patients can always request more tests, to look into other possibilities for the illness may be.
If you ever doubt a diagnosis, both Aston and many doctors agree on one piece of advice.
“Get a second opinion,” says Aston. “Because I didn’t. I went by this doctor because of how reputable he is."
Aston said he will start protesting outside Slocum Orthopedics on Monday.
Our news reporters tried contacting Aston's doctor at Slocum Orthopedics. Officials refused to comment on Aston’s case and the idea of misdiagnosis in general.