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Study suggests way to prevent cellulitis misdiagnoses

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2018 | Medical Malpractice |

Anyone in Kentucky who has been diagnosed with cellulitis will want to know about a new study regarding the condition. Cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, tends to be misdiagnosed as pseudocellulitis, which is another condition that superficially resembles cellulitis. Both cellulitis and pseudocellulitis cause the skin to become red and swollen in a similar way. However, cellulitis can lead to blood infections if left untreated, so misdiagnosis can be a serious issue.

There is currently no way to accurately diagnose cellulitis except by looking at the skin and taking down the patients’ symptoms. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, however, believe that early intervention from dermatologists can help reduce the number of misdiagnoses. That is, patients who are presumed to have cellulitis should be examined by a dermatological expert.

Researchers came to this conclusion after providing dermatologist consultations for 165 patients diagnosed with presumptive cellulitis. The patients were set to enter the hospital’s emergency department even though one third of them were diagnosed with pseudocellulitis. Moreover, the dermatologist recommended that 83 percent of those patients stopped using antibiotics, and they did not show any worsened symptoms afterward.

These early consultations will save hospitals unnecessary hospitalization costs and provide more room in emergency departments for those who are really in need. Nationwide, they may prevent between 34,000 and 91,000 cases of unnecessary antibiotic exposure.

However, in facilities that cannot provide dermatologists early on when caring for patients, cases of cellulitis misdiagnosis still arise. Victims who believe that the misdiagnosis arose from medical negligence will want a malpractice attorney to evaluate their claim. The lawyer will most likely request an inquiry with the medical board and hire experts to lay out all the evidence against the other side. The attorney can also handle all negotiations on the victim’s behalf and litigate if these fail to result in a settlement.