Navigating Medical Catastrophe

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“Navigating the Healthcare System During a Catastrophic Illness” is a four-part Conversations from Studio B program about Doug Mann and his journey through the complex healthcare system while suffering from a debilitating illness. Hosted by Jackie Wolf, Professor of Social Medicine in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University, she invites Doug to talk about his experience, the hardships, and lessons learned.

In October 2013, Doug Mann, a recently retired Ohio University professor of Social Medicine who played tennis and biked regularly, noticed tingling and numbness in his feet, calves, buttocks, and groin. Doctors offered an initial diagnosis that turned out to be wrong. By Thanksgiving, Doug was wheelchair-bound. His initial symptoms grew worse even as other symptoms appeared. What followed was medical detective work worthy of a television medical drama. The lessons to be learned from Doug Mann’s complicated case—including the need to do your own homework, challenge your doctors, and gather family and friends for support—will help anyone who is facing a serious illness.