Pneumonia is a very serious condition, but it is also very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.5 million people were diagnosed with pneumonia in emergency rooms during 2018 alone.
Symptoms of pneumonia are very similar to other illnesses, making misdiagnosis very common. However, pneumonia misdiagnosis can be very dangerous and result in severe complications. If your condition was misdiagnosed by a medical professional, it is important to receive treatment as soon as possible.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Pneumonia?
Pneumonia is an infectious condition where air sacs in the lunge become inflamed. These sacs may fill with fluid or pus, resulting in symptoms like fever, child, shortness of breath, and a serious cough.
To diagnose pneumonia, doctors perform several diagnostic tests and look for five key indicators.
- A fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- A heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute
- Decreased breath sounds
- No asthma or history of asthma
- Crackling or a Velcro-like sound in the lungs, which the doctor detects through a stethoscope
If a patient has all five of these indicators, they have a very high probability of having pneumonia. If a patient only has one symptom, the patient likely has another condition.
The Dangers of Pneumonia Misdiagnosis
Because pneumonia symptoms are very similar to other types of respiratory conditions, doctors can easily misdiagnose it. Doctors often mistake pneumonia as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the flu, the common cold, sinus infections, and seasonal viruses.
There are many medical errors that may lead to a pneumonia misdiagnosis, including the following.
- Failure to order chest x-rays and other important diagnostic tests
- Failure to take a complete patient history
- Mixing up patient records or test results
- Rushing through the patient examination
- Failure to provide proper aftercare or follow-up instructions
- Failure to order the proper blood tests
- Failing to identify pneumonia as a potential complication of a previous illness, such as the flu
If a doctor sends a patient home with the wrong diagnosis, the patient cannot receive the treatment they need. As a result, the condition can worsen over time, leading to potentially life-threatening complications. According to the CDC, more than 40,000 people in the United States died from pneumonia in 2018.
Filing a Lawsuit After a Pneumonia Misdiagnosis
A misdiagnosis for pneumonia can be painful and dangerous. If your doctor failed to properly diagnose your condition and you suffered harm as a result, you could file a lawsuit against him or her and recover compensation for your losses.
Through a Missouri medical malpractice claim, you can secure a settlement for the following damages.
- Additional medical expenses related to the misdiagnosis
- Lost wages during your recovery period
- Loss of future earnings if your condition prevents you from returning to work
- Disability accommodations, such as live-in care
- Physical pain and suffering, such as chronic pain and disability
- Emotional pain and suffering, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder
To recover compensation and hold the at-fault provider accountable, you will need to show that his or her negligent actions led to the misdiagnosis and your worsening condition. In these situations, you need a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer on your side.
An attorney can help you prove the at-fault provider’s liability and secure the compensation you deserve. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible following the misdiagnosis to strategize your next steps.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured Due to Medical Malpractice in Kansas City, Missouri?
If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed due to medical practice you should speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.