Home LATEST NEWS HEALTH Unknown disease: four people received another diagnosis

Unknown disease: four people received another diagnosis


The New Brunswick Public Health Oversight Committee, made up of six neurologists, has begun mailing diagnoses to patients suspected of having an unknown neurodegenerative disease.

Luc Leblanc received one of these diagnoses. They concluded that it was severe anxiety and that I would have to be seen by a neuropsychologist, but the province I think has a great lack of neuropsychologists.

Luc LeBlanc sits on a lawn with his son.

Luc LeBlanc, a resident of Dieppe, New Brunswick, received a new diagnosis by mail.

Photo: Courtesy/Luc LeBlanc

Luc LeBlanc does not understand why he received this diagnosis by mail, without having seen a specialist first. I think the province has done a pitiful job, really, I’ve met several neurologists, I’ve never had a really blind diagnosis like that, without being seen, or at least having an appointment, I never saw one of the six neurologists who was chosen by the province.

At least four people would have learned, by mail, that they were not suffering from the unknown disease, according to what TurnedNews.com has learned. At the end of January, Johanne Boucher, from Caraquet, learned that she was rather suffering from a form of progressive aphasia. Carol Clark, who now lives in Ontario, also received another diagnosis.

Luc LeBlanc is skeptical. Not everyone believes what the province is doing, because there aren’t really many people with any research.

The importance of a second diagnosis

The head of the Moncton Hospital’s neuroscience department, Dr. Dhany Charest, is not surprised to see that the diagnoses of the monitoring committee are different. The initial diagnosis generated a lot of anxiety in the families, in the patients, and then I think that fortunately, we are starting to see answers, and then what is happening is not surprising, it is what we expected to see.

Dr. Charest says that even if initially a diagnosis could not be clearly established, this does not necessarily mean that it is an unknown disease. According to him, it is sometimes difficult to understand the symptoms that patients develop. Sometimes it’s easy to put that in a box, then other times it’s difficult, and sometimes you can’t put that in a specific box, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a new disease, it’s just a different presentation of a known disease.

The specialist therefore insists on the importance of asking for a second look, when the situation is not clear. It’s our responsibility as healthcare professionals, when we have something we don’t understand, it’s our responsibility to share our concerns with colleagues for a second opinion.

Release of the report

New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard says the oversight committee’s report will be released soon. But first, she wants to give patients time to discuss the findings with their family doctors. The minister also informed the families that they will be invited to a private information session the day the report is published.

The oversight committee, made up of six New Brunswick neurologists, has been working on this file for more than six months. This committee was to review the diagnoses of patients with the unknown disease.

Inquiry request

In a letter sent to the minister on February 15, the families of three patients who are believed to be suffering from the unknown disease say they want the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct an investigation. These families would also like an ombudsman to be appointed to investigate possible political interference in the case.

These families also want disclosure of the criteria used to determine when investigations into possible environmental causes are necessary. They are asking for new tests for patients.

Families lament what they see as a glaring lack of scientific efforts to find the causes of our disease.

A refusal from Ottawa

Earlier this year, a patient advocacy group, Bloodwatch, called on the chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, Sean Casey, to launch an immediate investigation into the unknown illness.

Sean Casey

The chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, Sean Casey, says the committee is highly unlikely to look into the case of the unknown disease.

Photo: TurnedNews.com

In a reply on February 15, Sean Casey responded that he There are currently no plans to study this issue.

With information from Nicolas Steinbach

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