Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Doctors could be missing many cases of asthma

Maryland residents who are experiencing respiratory distress might have asthma, even if they have another diagnosis. Researchers from GlaxoSmithKline in Italy investigated the accuracy of respiratory diagnoses and found that asthma appeared to be missed by general practitioners for as many as one-third of patients who had been diagnosed with another respiratory disease.

The research team studied 2,090 patients. Among these patients, 991 already possessed an asthma diagnosis. The remaining 1,099 people had been diagnosed with other conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic or acute bronchitis. After researchers assessed the second segment of the study group, they discovered that 365 of the patients had responses consistent with asthma even though their physicians had not diagnosed them with it.

The authors of the study expressed concern that these missed diagnoses could be leading to inappropriate and ineffective treatments. When asthma goes undiagnosed, the morbidity and mortality associated with the disease rises. Early detection and therapy, however, are linked to better long-term results in patients.

When a person suffers harm because of a physician's failure to diagnose a disease, the potential exists for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If the person can show that a typical physician exercising reasonable care and using established methods should have made the diagnosis, then negligence might have occurred. Because of the complex standards that must be met to file a malpractice case, the person may find it advisable to have the assistance of an attorney who is familiar with these types of medical legal issues when seeking appropriate damages for the losses that have been incurred.

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