Daniel J Vance

Patricia Stroh has strong advice for parents of children with disabilities: “You know your child better than anyone. If you feel doctors are wrong or lackadaisical in diagnosing (your child), go somewhere else. Demand results.”

Her son, Derek, was born in 1989 in upstate New York. Within months, he was having trouble sucking, sleeping, and was crying constantly. Doctors found one, then two hernias, and operated. As he aged, one physician after another misdiagnosed Derek, a total of half a dozen times. His correct diagnosis wasn’t discovered until an autopsy after his death at 18, which likely could have been prevented had any doctor along the way diagnosed him correctly.

One doctor said early on nothing was wrong. Another diagnosed Derek at 5 with a form of cerebral palsy, and another with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when Derek was 7. Then came a mild autism diagnosis at 12 and later a professional decided on pervasive developmental delay.

They were all wrong.

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