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Minerva Medicolegale 2008 March;128(1):19-29

language: Italian

Headache as only symptom of adversely evolving neurological processes: missed diagnosis. Legal liability

Morello A. 1, Anania V. 2

1 Dipartimento di Neurochirurgia Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo
2 Consigliere di Corte d’Appello, Palermo


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Fatal neurological diseases may be heralded by poorly significant clinical symptoms such as a simple headache. Under these circumstances, the correct clinical diagnosis may be easily missed and, as a consequence, the evaluating neurologist risks a liability suit or may be even indicted for incompetence or alleged negligence not having he resorted to available CT investigation. Four such cases are examined by the authors, a neurosurgeon and a judge, taking into consideration the fundamental aspects of the problem. They draw the conclusion that these cases should be properly classified as of particular difficulty, thus rendering the misdiagnosis devoid of penal relevance

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