A medical clinic in Toledo, Ohio has been shut indefinitely after it was booked for misdiagnosing at least 50 individuals with Alzheimer’s. The false diagnosis led to prolonged duration of uncalled-for therapy for many of them. Unfortunately, one of the individuals, not being able to live with the misdiagnosis, committed suicide.
According to the lawsuits filed against the Toledo medical clinic, Sherry-Ann Jenkins, director of the facility, was diagnosing and treating patients without possessing any valid state license. She was using the name and license of her spouse, Dr. Oliver Jenkins, for diagnosing, treating and billing her unsuspecting patients.
The suits filed against the clinic alleged that Jenkins lacked appropriate education, training, experience and credentials for running the cognitive center. A lot of doctors and additional staff members of this clinic were aware of Jenkins’ quack practice but they remained silent, thereby aiding and abetting this fraud.
Shawn Blazsek, one of the then patients of the center, stated that at 33, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The diagnosis was so shocking to him that he started preparing his wife and three young children for his impending demise. He was so dismayed and disoriented that he kept a stack of sleeping pills beside him to commit suicide when he would lose his memory. Jennifer, his wife started living a hopeless life thinking who would take care of her and the boys once Blazsek was gone. However, nine months into the unneeded treatment, Blazsek realized that he had been misdiagnosed and that he had never had had Alzheimer’s. However, not everyone was as lucky as him.
A retired train dispatcher and U.S. Air Force vet, Gary Taynor was shattered when Jenkins diagnosed him with stage three Alzheimer’s. He could not bring himself to accept this and shot himself. He was survived by a wife, children and grandchildren. A complaint filed against Jenkins stated that Taynor never had this disease but people at the clinic left him in no doubt. Numerous complainants in the suit stated that they contemplated taking their lives after Jenkins misdiagnosed them with the disease.
Jenkins and the clinic’s sham
The clinic had recruited Jenkins in 2014 and in 2015, a cognitive center was started with Jenkins as its director. Jenkins had a doctorate in physiological science, however, she didn’t possess any sort of medical license.
Despite this, she promoted herself as a licensed physician and psychologist and the clinic promoted her façade. She would misdiagnose her patients and hype her holistic and all-natural therapies. The board of directors was approached by the center’s neurologists and apprised of Jenkins’ incompetence but the board compelled them to approve her treatments.
In February 2016, the cognitive center started rolling out mails for its abrupt closure without stating any reason. In addition, the caregivers or the officials from the center never informed patients about their misdiagnosis or never suggested them to seek an additional opinion on their diagnosis. Some patients even started getting refunds from the center without any clarifications.
A compensation amount of $1million for each plaintiff has been demanded by the lawsuit. The clinic appeared reluctant in returning calls and messages when approached by the press. Jenkins and her husband also remained unavailable for comments. She and her husband have not been charged with any criminal offense yet and both have been listed as defaulters.
Help is available
Doctors are yet to develop an evidence-based disease altering therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by 2050, an estimated 14 million people are suspected to be affected by this disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is having a rapidly growing impact on American society. Alzheimer’s death rates have been rising steadily over the past 15 years, increasing 40 percent since 2000.
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