Modern medicine, for all its wonderful qualities, is still very much a work in progress. Even the most highly skilled doctors can completely misdiagnose a condition, and when they do, the consequences can be severe.
24-year-old Susannah Cahalan underwent just such an ordeal when she was hospitalized for what doctors believed was insanity. Little did they know that there was much more to her condition than met the eye…
24-year-old Susannah Cahalan had a promising future. She was in a serious relationship, she had a new job, and her whole life ahead of her.
But one day, she started to experience strange sensations. At first she suspected she had bedbugs, but an exterminator found nothing. Soon she became lethargic and unable to work. Then, she began experiencing paranoia and hallucinations, followed by severe seizures.
She was admitted to the hospital, where she became aggressive and combative. She was violent with the medical staff and even with her own family and friends.
Doctors said she was having a nervous breakdown, and they began the process of admitting her to a psychiatric ward.
But then one ma, Dr. Souhel Najjar, had an idea. Before officially committing Susannah, he decided to perform one final test: he asked her to draw a clock.
The resulting drawing confirmed his suspicions: the young woman’s “insanity” was the result of a physical condition. Susannah had drawn all the numbers on the right side, indicating brain damage.
He diagnosed her with Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis, a disorder in which antibodies produced by the immune system attack the brain. If left untreated, Susannah would have fallen into a coma and likely died.
Thankfully, she received the proper treatment and was completely cured after spending a total of one month in the hospital. Now, she’s written a book to share her experience with others.
What a terrifying ordeal! Thank goodness Susannah is healthy again, all because of one doctor’s careful attention and refusal to give up.