According to studies, cellulitis is a common and costly problem in North Carolina and nationwide. Making matters worse, the skin condition is often misdiagnosed, which needlessly exposes patients to dangerous complications and costs the United States millions of dollars annually.
Each year, over 500,000 Americans are hospitalized for cellulitis, which is an acute infection of the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. Studies show that around one in five cellulitis patients in the U.S. is misdiagnosed and needlessly hospitalized. Considering that each cellulitis admission averages $12,000, that error rate calculates to over $1 billion in wasted health care costs every year.
Overall, there are more than 18 million diagnostic errors each year in the U.S. To combat the problem, the Institute of Medicine recently published "Improving Diagnosis in Health Care." The report recommends that doctors strive to have better communication with their patients and other medical professionals. It also suggests that physicians obtain a complete patient history and conduct a thorough medical exam to reduce over-dependence on diagnostic testing. Continuous learning is also emphasized, meaning that doctors should view diagnostic errors as opportunities to increase their knowledge and adapt their performance.
North Carolina residents who have suffered a misdiagnosis, hospital negligence or surgical errors may decide to seek the help of an attorney. It may be possible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor and/or hospital to seek compensation for damages. A successful claim could bring the plaintiff a settlement that covers medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and more.
Source: VisualDX, "Reduce Diagnostic Errors, Improve Outcomes," 2015