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Five of the Most Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions

Medical Malpractice Claims Atlanta GA

Misdiagnosed medical conditions can lead to a decline in health and even death. If your family doctor or other medical professional has misdiagnosed a serious medical condition, you may have a case for medical malpractice. More importantly, however, is getting to the real cause of your pain and suffering, so you can receive the correct treatment.

The following five commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions can result in a risk to life and limb. If you believe that you have received a misdiagnosis, seek a second opinion from a relevant medical professional.

Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is defined as a blockage in a lung artery. You may experience chest pain, shortness of breath and a persistent cough. This condition may be misdiagnosed due to the fact that the symptoms are similar to pneumonia, asthma attacks, bronchitis and a heart attack.

A CT scan of the lungs should be ordered when a pulmonary embolism is the suspect cause of symptoms. In the majority of cases, a patient will present with deep vein thrombosis. It is important to monitor the patient closely, as blood clots can travel into the lungs. Treatment options generally include clot-busting and blood thinning medications. Blood oxygen levels are also monitored and oxygen is given when needed to maintain optimum levels.


An infection of the lungs can cause inflammation that results in the condition, pneumonia. Difficulty breathing, fever, chills and coughing are common symptoms of the condition. When misdiagnosed, pneumonia is often attributed to asthma, or the type of pneumonia is misidentified.

Doctors use a chest x-ray to diagnose pneumonia in most cases. However, a CT scan can also be used to detect the condition. Other tests include a sputum test to evaluate the seriousness of pneumonia and determine the cause. A rattle in the lungs or tests to establish blood oxygen levels are also useful. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, whereas viral infections are often treated with antiviral medications. If the patient has low oxygen levels, supplemental oxygen should be provided.

Abdominal Bleeding

If there is bleeding in the esophagus, small bowel, colon or stomach, time is often of the essence. Internal bleeding is commonly misdiagnosed because the issue is inherently difficult to pinpoint. Patients who present with a drop in blood pressure, coupled with a rise in heart rate, may be suffering from abdominal bleeding. Other symptoms can include vomiting up blood or passing dark stools that are tarry in consistency.

A doctor should take blood tests to determine whether there is low red blood cell count or anemia if abdominal bleeding is suspected. The patient should also be asked for a stool sample. More invasive tests may include an endoscopy to identify the presence of abdominal bleeding. CT and nuclear medicine scans are some additional tests that a doctor may order.


Aspergillus fungus grows on dead leaves and can cause either an infection or allergic reaction. There are a number of conditions that complications from aspergillus fungus closely mimic. Symptoms are commonly confused with asthma, tuberculosis, pneumonia and drug overdose symptoms among other things.

The fungal mass usually shows up in a chest x-ray or CT scan. However, a sputum test is often a more effective diagnostic tool for detecting aspergillus fungus. The patient may also need skin and blood tests to establish whether there is an allergic reaction that is causing symptoms.

Heart Attack

Last but certainly not least is a condition that is one of the leading killers the world over. Heart attacks are commonly misdiagnosed despite a patient presenting with common symptoms. Chest pain, dizziness, light-headedness, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and pain in the jaw, left arm, neck or shoulder blades are all potential symptoms of a heart attack.

The problem for doctors when it comes to arriving at an accurate diagnosis is that symptoms do not always present in combination, or present in a combination that indicates another condition. This can lead to a misdiagnosed heart attack that is confused with conditions such as heartburn, pulmonary embolism or a gallbladder infection.

If you have been misdiagnosed and it has resulted in you experiencing pain and suffering, the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown can help. We provide professional consultation with understanding and compassion in Atlanta and Montgomery, Georgia.

Posted on behalf of the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown

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