New Mexico residents should be aware that Parkinson’s disease, with its more than 40 symptoms, can be hard to diagnose. There is, in fact, no single test for it. The condition affects more than 10 million people throughout the world.

The research and support charity Parkinson’s UK conducted a survey of over 2,000 people with the condition and found that 26% were initially misdiagnosed. Of those respondents, 48% were given treatment for the condition that doctors believed they had while 36% were given drugs, and 6% underwent surgery. Another 6% had a combination of medications and surgery.

Many of those treated for a non-existent condition, 34%, experienced a worsening of their condition. The survey also found that women and patients aged 51 to 60 had the highest risk of Parkinson’s misdiagnosis.

Many patients are told by their doctor that their symptoms, which can range from tremors and shuffling feet to voice problems, are simply “in their head.” Parkinson’s can be mistaken for frozen shoulder, stroke or anxiety. As for what can be done to reduce errors, Parkinson’s UK does not say. It is a challenge that Parkinson’s researchers continue to struggle with.

This might make it hard for a Parkinson’s patient to sue doctors for the failure to diagnose their condition correctly. After all, a malpractice claim must be founded on a clear case of negligence: a failure to live up to an objective standard of care. Doctors may do all they can and still mistake the condition because of the lack of a single, definitive test.

If they believe they have grounds for a malpractice claim, victims may speak with an attorney. They may let their attorney speak on their behalf for a settlement covering past and future medical costs, pain and suffering and lost wages.