Diagnosis and Medical Reaction
Diagnosis Prior to Discovery of CO
Figure 33 showed that GPs rarely diagnosed chronic exposure to CO on the basis of the symptoms alone. This section explores the diagnoses that were given to sufferers, both during the exposure and after the exposure to CO was known.
Figure 37 shows that 57% of the chronic group and 75% of the unconscious group were given no diagnosis for the symptoms experienced during exposure. The most common misdiagnosis was flu/virus. Thus 14% of the chronic group and 17% of the unconscious group were told they were suffering from the flu or a virus. 8% of the chronic group were diagnosed as suffering from depression, and 5% from ME. 8% of the unconscious group were told that they had a psychological problem or were suffering from a psychosomatic illness.
Figure 37: Diagnosis prior to discovery of CO
After the identification of CO exposure, patients were treated for a wide range of illnesses. These included depression, ME, heart problems/angina, asthma, Parkinsons, diabetes, arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia, crohnes disease, and anaemia. Some of these illnesses may have been brought on as a result of exposure to CO, some may be a mis-diagnosis of the consequences of CO exposure, and some may be unrelated.
Figure 38 examines the reaction which patients felt they received from their doctors. It shows that only 29% of the chronic group and 34% of the unconscious group considered their doctors to be supportive, either moderately or very supportive. A substantial proportion felt that their doctors did not know how to help - 26% of the chronic group and 33% of the unconscious group.
Many of the doctors believed that exposure to CO has no long term effects: thus 45% of the chronic group and 58% of the unconscious group have been told this by their doctors. In the light of their continuing symptoms, it is not surprising that 42% of the chronic group believed that they were getting little or no support from their doctor, as did 33% of the unconscious group.
Figure 38: Doctors reaction
Figure 39 examines the specialists consulted by those exposed to CO. Nearly 25% of the chronic group consulted a cardiovascular/respiratory specialist, and 22% consulted a neurologist. 12% of the chronic group saw a psychologist, and lung disease specialists and rhuematologists were consulted by a further 9% of the group.
Figure 39: Specialists consulted
The proportion of the unconscious group that consulted neurologists and toxicologists was significantly higher than for the chronic group. Thus 42% of the unconscious group were referred to a neurologist and 25% saw a toxicologist. The other category for this group included a medical specialist and a child specialist.
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