ChatGPT helped a mother determine what was causing her son’s debilitating pain that had been ongoing for three years after 17 Doctors had failed to diagnose the cause of his chronic pain. Here’s the details of this miracle.
Symptoms Started at 4 Years Old
Courtney, who chose not to reveal her last name, told Today that her son Alex had symptoms when he was four during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The family’s nanny “started telling me, ‘I have to give him Motrin every day, or he has these gigantic meltdowns,’” Courtney said. The painkillers helped to subdue her child’s pain, but other worrisome symptoms started popping up.
Chewing on Things
Alex began chewing on objects, which caused his family to wonder if he had a cavity. A dentist examined him and didn’t find anything wrong; Alex was referred to an orthodontist who found his palate too small.
This can cause trouble sleeping, and Alex’s family thought this might be part of why he hadn’t been feeling well.
The orthodontist treated Alex by placing an expander in his palate, temporarily putting his family at ease.
“Everything was better for a little bit. We thought we were in the home stretch,” Courtney said.
He Stopped Growing
But Alex continued to suffer: Courtney soon noticed her son had stopped growing.
Bringing His Left Foot Along for the Ride
She also noticed he wasn’t walking as he should have been. “He would lead with his right foot and just bring his left food along for the ride,” she said.
Severe Headaches and Exhaustion
He was also experiencing severe headaches and exhaustion.
Saw 17 Doctors in Total
Courtney’s family saw many experts to figure out what was wrong with Alex, including a pediatrician, a neurologist, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, and more.
Courtney said they consulted 17 doctors but were left frustrated and without answers. None of the recommended treatments solved the problem.
ChatGPT to the Rescue
After three years of doctors’ appointments, Courtney turned to ChatGPT for answers. The chatbot, created by OpenAI in 2022, was made to “talk” with people in a conversational way.
Line By Line
“I went line by line of everything that was in his MRI notes and plugged it into ChatGPT,” Courtney said. “I put the note in there about how he wouldn’t sit crisscrossed…To me, that was a huge trigger that a structural thing could be wrong.”
A Miracle Diagnosis
ChatGPT led Courtney to discover tethered cord syndrome, which is a complication of spina bifida. She made an appointment with a new neurosurgeon who confirmed that Alex had a tethered spinal cord due to spina bifida occulta.
This congenital disability causes issues with spinal cord development.
Hidden Spina Bifida
This is the mildest form of spina bifida, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which states the condition is sometimes called “hidden” spina bifida and is often not discovered until later in a child’s life.
Every Emotion in the Book
The new doctors “said point blank, ‘Here’s [occulta] spina bifida, and here’s where the spine is tethered,” Courtney recalled. She subsequently said she felt “every emotion in the book, relief, validation, excitement for his future”.
Social Media – Dr’s Think They Are Gods
“ChatGPT reveals the lack of diagnostic skills in doctors who frequently think of themselves as Gods” one user posted.
A second simply declared, “ Wow! Incredible”
Doctors Will Have to Consult with AI
“Insane. I have a feeling this type of thing will start happening more and more often. Soon, doctors will probably be required to consult with AI.” was another reader’s opinion.
Can’t Afford Healthcare
A unique viewpoint came from one user on X, who said, “People who can’t afford health care and those in poorer countries will greatly benefit from this.”
Human Doctors Suck
“Personally I look forward to AI Drs. The human ones suck now.” one frustrated reader wrote.
ChatGPT Not There Yet
Experts agree that ChatGPT could help certain people navigate the healthcare system, but it’s not there yet.
As Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, president of the American Medical Association (AMA) said in a statement to Today, “While AI products show tremendous promise in helping alleviate physician administrative burdens and may ultimately be successfully utilized in direct patient care, OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other generative AI products currently have known issues and are not error free.”
He explained that AI can produce fabrications, inaccuracies, or errors that “can harm patients”.
Be Your Kid’s Advocate
For her part, Courtney said the technology helped her family provide the best possible care for her son. She told Today: “There’s nobody that connects the dots for you. You have to be your kid’s advocate.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock /Iryna Imago . The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.