The owner of a now-closed clinic in Ohio is being sued by more than 50 former patients after the patients claimed they were falsely told they had Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia.
Lawsuits filed late last month say that the owner of the Toledo Clinic Cognitive Center, Sherry Ann Jenkins, has a doctorate degree in physiological science, but did not have the medical or psychology license required to perform the medical tests involved or to diagnose patients with the disease.
Many of the patients said they have already received confirmation that they do not have Alzheimer's or dementia, but some lived with the life-changing diagnosis for nearly a year, undergoing treatments and trying to prepare themselves and their families for the worst. The devastating diagnosis led many patients to undergo psychological therapy. Tragically, one patient killed himself after receiving the news.
The Toledo Clinic Cognitive center opened through the Toledo Clinic, a larger medical facility with over 150 doctors. According to the lawsuits, Jenkins' husband, who is a licensed doctor and partner at the Toledo Clinic, signed off on the medical tests and referrals even though he had never seen any of the patients. The cognitive center was open for roughly a year, from 2015 through 2016.
The patients are also suing the Toledo Clinic, saying the clinic failed to do its research and administrators should have been able to easily identify that Jenkins was not qualified to treat and diagnose patients.
Attorney David Zoll, who represents the patients filing suit, said because of Jenkins' unethical practices, there may be others still out there who were misdiagnosed. "Many times she would see the first person and have them bring in their whole family," Zoll stated. "And many times she would diagnose the whole family." He also added that many of the patients were overbilled.
Kay Taynor, who was diagnosed by Jenkins, referred her husband Gary to the clinic after receiving the news that she had Alzheimer's. After Jenkins also diagnosed Gary with the disease, Taynor said he went into a deep depression before shooting himself in the head.
"He's got a smile that just lights up the room, and I never saw it again," Taynor said. "He just sunk in his chair. To me, he never stood up again. He was never tall again. He gave up."
She said the autopsy showed no signs of Alzheimer's. They were married 48 years.
There have been no criminal charges filed against Jenkins or her husband, according to the Associated Press. Attorneys would not indicate whether there is an open criminal investigation, but court records show the Ohio Medical Board has been in communication with some of Jenkins' previous patients. Each lawsuit filed against Jenkins seeks more than $1 million in damages.