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Study shows results of erroneous diagnosis for skin condition

Pennsylvania residents may find interesting a study that showed that around 33 percent of people who have skin problems are erroneously diagnosed as having the bacterial skin condition known as cellulitis. As a result, many of these patients are prescribed needless medication such as antibiotics, while others are told that they must be hospitalized.

The study, which was performed in Boston, took two and a half years to complete. The researchers examined medical records belonging to 259 hospitalized patients who were told they had lower extremity cellulitis. The research found that about 80 of those patients did not have cellulitis. Further, more than 90 percent of them did not require antibiotics, and about 85 percent did not have to be hospitalized.

The misdiagnosis could also lead to thousands of patients becoming infected when they are hospitalized or given needless antibiotics, and such infections can be fatal. The researchers also estimated that each year, nearly 130,000 needless hospitalizations take place because people were wrongly diagnosed for cellulitis and that about $515 million may have been spent in unnecessary medical costs.

People who are diagnosed with cellulitis may actually be suffering with a condition known as pseudocellulitis. Diagnosis is difficult because the symptoms and signs of both conditions are similar. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that no imaging or laboratory studies have been done to distinguish the two conditions, according to a Boston doctor.

While some illnesses resemble others, patients expect their doctors to make a correct diagnosis. When a disease is not detected, it can result in a worsened condition. Patients who have been harmed in such a manner may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to learn about their options.

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