Anyone in New York who has suffered from a fungal skin infection should know about a survey recently published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. A dermatologist from George Washington University along with colleagues in clinical research have shown that fungal skin infections are all too frequently misdiagnosed.
In the survey, dermatologists were asked to review 13 clinical images and determine whether they should be classified as fungal skin infections or not. Only 50 percent of the participants could correctly classify most of the images, and only one image was correctly classified by 90 percent of them. The results are especially concerning for those with dermatophyte infections, the most common form of fungal skin infections. These have accounted for over 51 million U.S. outpatient visits in the last 10 years.
Further medical education on dermatophyte and other infections is necessary so that these conditions are not mistaken for inflammatory skin diseases like annular psoriasis and secondary syphilis. Dermatologists should also be trained on diagnostic methods like potassium hydroxide preparations. A misdiagnosis can lead to selecting the wrong therapy, a worsening of symptoms and additional infections in the skin and other soft tissues.
A misdiagnosis could form the basis for a medical malpractice claim. An individual who incurs injuries because of an incorrect diagnosis can discuss their case with a lawyer. The victim generally must show that there was a preexisting doctor-patient relationship, that the patient followed all the doctor’s instructions and that the doctor failed to live up to an objective standard of care. A malpractice claim could cover past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and more.