Second Opinion for Lubbock Soldier - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Second Opinion for Lubbock Soldier

NewsChannel 11 has been exclusively following a local soldier that is trying to get answers on his rare disease. Keith Huffaker was diagnosed by the Army with Spinocerebellar Atxia, a rare genetic disease that put him in a wheel chair. But tonight we visit a local doctor that has a conflicting second opinion.

Doctor Randolph Schiffer agreed to volunteer his services in order to answer Keith's questions about a possible mis-diagnosis that could end up getting him medical benefits and disability that he feels he's entitled to. After weeks of waiting, Keith finally made it to get his second opinion.

Local Soldier Battles Mysterious Disease
A mysterious illness has a local soldier fighting for his health and looking for answers. Private First Class Keith Huffaker returned to Lubbock last year after his tour of duty in Iraq to come home to a major illness.

Dr. Schiffer says Keith had high a intensity fitness being a part of the Army Rangers, and he said he had to be normal to be a part of the team. Dr. Schiffer examined Keith and it didn't take long for him to make his observation. "It couldn't be a genetic syndrome as the Army is saying."

To show us how he got to this conclusion, the doctor gave Keith a few simple tests. The first was to put his arms out in front to show that the coordination was off. He did another similar test to show how hard it was for Keith to focus on putting his pointer finger on his thumb. It is the loss of coordination that the doctor believes happened while Keith was serving in Iraq. "It seems wrong, he was normal when he went in, but he's not normal now, this is not pre-existing."

Community Helps Disabled Soldier
Wednesday night on NewsChannel 11, we introduced you to a 22-year-old Lubbock soldier who came back from Iraq to face a mysterious disease that left him in a wheel chair, now we have an update.

Keith was very happy with the first visit. "It takes a big load off for someone to say, 'No that isn't it," But the doctor's opinion is just the first step, Keith still has to get a diagnosis then try and convince the Army that his illness is not genetic. "I still want to know what it is, even if I have to get congressional help."

The best news out of the visit, Dr. Schiffer says after a few tests, and after he figures out Keith's exact diagnosis, he believes there's a chance that Keith's condition could improve with proper treatment.

Keith's next appointment is this Monday where they'll do a spinal tap, and an MRI.

NewsChannel 11 Special Reports
Take a look at the special reports on NewsChannel 11 from the past.

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