One-Third of People Diagnosed With Cellulitis Don’t Have It

Connecticut health care practitioners may misdiagnose their patients with cellulitis when they actually have a condition called pseudocellulitis. Cellulitis is a bacterial skin condition that can begin when a cut, burn or bruise is infected with strep bacteria. The symptoms of pseudocellulitis are so much like cellulitis that it can be difficult for doctors to distinguish between the two conditions.

A study by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that around one-third of cellulitis diagnoses are wrong. Researchers studied the medical records of 259 people who were hospitalized for cellulitis and found that 79 of the patients had been misdiagnosed. The study also found that 92 percent of the patients who were prescribed antibiotics didn’t actually need the antibiotics, and 85 percent of the patients were hospitalized unnecessarily.

When patients are hospitalized after being misdiagnosed with cellulitis, they are placed at risk for infections that can be contracted in the hospital. The unnecessary use of antibiotics for misdiagnosed patients may also contribute to thousands of infections every year. Researchers believe that the misdiagnosis of cellulitis contributes to about $515 million in unnecessary medical spending each year.

The misdiagnosis of a disease can result in harm to patients in a few different ways. They may suffer a worsened condition due to the failure to treat the disease that they actually have, and they may be harmed by the regimen they are required to undertake for a condition that they do not have. Patients who have been in this position may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney and discuss their options for seeking compensation.