Balkan endemic nephropathy (BEN) is a kidney disease that was first identified in the 1920s in several small farming villages along the Danube River and its tributaries in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. For decades, it’s been a medical mystery, but the numbers affected are so few that the disease gets little publicity. One striking feature of BEN is its exclusively local occurrence. There are approximately ten small communities where it occurs. All of these villages are more or less rural, but nothing else seems to link the villages other than BEN.
Over the years, many theories have been put forth to explain the cause of Balkan endemic nephropathy, from cadmium poisoning and hantaviruses to toxic molds and chromosomal mutation. Uncertainty and controversy surround the most basic data, such as the number of people suffering the disease. One doctor puts the figure at 100,000, but Wikipedia says the figure is closer to 25,000. A recent Croatian study found that the disease is declining, while a Serbian report insists that it’s increasing. Obviously, more research is needed, but a disease that affects only middle-aged Balkan farmers isn’t exactly a priority for those making donations to medical research.
While Balkan endemic nephropathy is to a great extent a mystery, we know plenty about the kidney diseases that are common in the United States, and here the big threat to kidney disease victims is not a lack of knowledge – it’s medical malpractice. If you are a kidney disease patient and you were initially misdiagnosed; if you were prescribed the wrong medication or recommended the wrong treatment; or if you’ve been subjected to a wrongful or unneeded surgical procedure, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim and you should consult at once with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
About 200,000 people die every year in the U.S. due to medical malpractice. Thousands more suffer injuries and deteriorating medical conditions. It’s common, and if you struggle with kidney disease, malpractice is a genuine concern. If you are a victim of medical malpractice now or in the future, make the call right away to discuss your legal rights and options with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.