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Is failure to diagnose skin conditions a big problem?

When discussing or thinking about failure to diagnose, conditions that affect the skin are often overlooked. Because people can see most of their skin every day, they may think that nothing is wrong. However, many patients may not notice the symptoms associated with such conditions because they see their own skin so often.

As you age, you may not notice when wrinkles first appear because you look at your face every day in the mirror. Like the aging process, skin conditions evolve and change over time, meaning that many patients do not notice if a problem develops. On the other hand, some people see every new spot as a potential problem, but they may also feel that they are just being paranoid so they never seek a diagnosis.

Even worse, many skin conditions mimic one another, making an accurate diagnosis elusive. This is a huge problem in terms of receiving the right kind of health care. Examples of frequently misdiagnosed skin conditions include:

  • Rosacea, which mimics simple acne
  • Eczema, which mimics fungal infections like ringworm
  • Psoriasis, which mimics dry or flaky skin
  • Skin cancer, which can mimic acne and other minor conditions

This is where a medical provider's duty comes in. It is the doctor's responsibility to take the necessary steps required to make a timely and accurate diagnosis. Failure to diagnose any condition means that you do not get the treatment you need and may even suffer from additional health problems by receiving the wrong treatment.

The main takeaway here is that patients in Massachusetts have the right to ask questions about the diagnosis, get a second or third medical opinion and demand additional tests to confirm a diagnosis, You also have the right to pursue a legal remedy if your misdiagnosis occurred due to negligence or carelessness on the part of your medical provider.

Source: Allure, "4 Skin Conditions That Are Often Misdiagnosed, According to Dermatologists," Erin Nicole Celletti, accessed May 21, 2018

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