While pneumonia is serious and potentially life threatening, it’s also relatively common. In fact, more than three million cases are diagnosed in the United States every year. Unfortunately, pneumonia is the second most misdiagnosed condition leading to readmission after a previous hospitalization, second only to congestive heart failure. Pneumonia misdiagnosis is both common and deadly. BMJ Quality & Safety reveals more than 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed every year. This translates into five percent of all patients receiving the wrong diagnosis or having a diagnosis missed.
What is pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infection typically causing inflammation in the air sacs in the lungs. Pneumonia is dangerous and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other causes, and should always be treated as a serious illness. In general, pneumonia is easily treatable, but if left undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as another medical condition, it can become life threatening.
If your physician fails to treat your pneumonia, or misdiagnoses you and thus treats the wrong condition, your situation can quickly spiral out of control. Pneumonia symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, chills, aches, fatigue, heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute, and cough. Advanced pneumonia can put patients into respiratory distress, which can have fatal consequences.
Can a doctor misdiagnose pneumonia?
Pneumonia misdiagnosis is so common because its symptoms are very similar to many other illnesses, many of which are much less serious. And doctors and hospitals are often rushed to see as many as patients as possible during the sickly winter months when respiratory conditions are extremely common. Medical professionals make mistakes; and, pneumonia is often mistaken for medical conditions such as:
- A respiratory infection
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Common cold
- Heart attack
- Legionnaire’s disease
- Pulmonary embolism
- Seasonal virus
- Sinus infection
- Strep throat
- The flu
Pneumonia Misdiagnosis Lawyers
If your doctor or medical professional is negligent or careless, and you or a loved one suffers serious injury from undiagnosed or misdiagnosed pneumonia, you may be a victim of medical malpractice. If you or a loved one suffered injury because of a pneumonia misdiagnosis, you should contact the medical malpractice lawyers at Lopez McHugh. We will review your claim for free during a complimentary and confidential consultation.