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Approximately 30 percent of cellulitis cases misdiagnosed

A professor of dermatology speaking at Hospital Medicine 2019 revealed that cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, is being frequently misdiagnosed. More specifically, California residents should know that approximately 30 percent of presumed cases of cellulitis are misdiagnosed because hospitals do not have one single standard for diagnosing the condition. The condition is behind many cases of hospital admission and, what's more, of 30-day re-admissions.

The professor of dermatology brought up a study where 79 out of 259 patients were misdiagnosed with cellulitis. Out of those 79, 44 were unnecessarily hospitalized, and 48 were given unnecessary antibiotics. Each year, the cost of these mistakes ranges from $195 million to $515 million, and approximately 9,000 cases of nosocomial infection arise.

Cellulitis can be acute, creating a fever and an elevated white blood cell count in patients. It also tends to improve quickly once patients take antibiotics. However, there are cellulitis "mimickers" that do not show these characteristics although they may be bilateral like some cases of cellulitis. "Mimickers" can include allergic contact dermatitis, psoriasis, shingles and Lyme disease. Medical professionals may want to keep these in mind before they diagnose someone with cellulitis.

As the results of the study above show, misdiagnoses can lead to medical costs and even injuries, some of them arising from allergic reactions to antibiotics. If it is clear that the injuries could have been prevented had the doctor been more careful, victims may have good grounds for a medical malpractice claim.

This is where hiring an attorney may be advantageous. Malpractice attorneys might have a network of professionals who can investigate the matter and gather evidence to show how the doctor failed to live up to an objective standard of care. The attorney may be able to negotiate for an out-of-court settlement.

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