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Misdiagnoses can cause further health problems

According to a study that was published in the journal JAMA Dermatology on Nov. 2, around 33 percent of people in New York and throughout the country may be misdiagnosed with cellulitis when they do not have it. The research was done at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and examined data on 259 patients over two and a half years. They found that 79 of the patients did not have the disease, 85 percent were unnecessarily hospitalized and 92 percent were needlessly given antibiotics. These unnecessary hospitalizations and antibiotics may have resulted in further infections.

One issue is that a condition that closely mimics cellulitis is called pseudocellulitis. Labs and imaging cannot reliably distinguish between the two. One expert suggested that a way to reduce the incidence of misdiagnosis might be a dermatology consult prior to hospital admission.

The bacteria that causes cellulitis infections, which affect the skin and tissue underneath, invade the body through injuries such as cuts and burns. Symptoms of cellulitis include a painful red rash along with fever and chills and swollen lymph nodes or glands.

Many other diseases may be frequently misdiagnosed as well. For example, misreading tests or ignoring certain symptoms could lead to a delayed cancer diagnosis. There might be a failure to perform a timely biopsy, or a doctor might not pursue a potential colon cancer diagnosis because the patient is younger and does not have a family history of the disease. Failing to diagnose cancer can result in a spread of the disease. Patients who have been harmed in this manner may want to speak to a medical malpractice attorney to see what recourse for seeking compensation they may have.

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