Patients in New York and across the country often visit a doctor when they notice an unusual blemish or spot on their skin. Some skin imperfections are nothing more than sun spots or acne. However, others may indicate something requiring immediate attention. If initial signs of skin cancer or similar conditions are overlooked, a delay in treatment could have serious consequences for patients.
According to a board-certified dermatologist at New York University School of Medicine, there are four skin conditions commonly misdiagnosed. A doctor misdiagnosis of basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer in the United States, sometimes occurs because the resulting small, pink bumps resemble acne. Affecting 16 million Americans, rosacea may also be misdiagnosed as acne. The chronic skin condition’s characteristic redness can vary greatly in the shades and tones displayed, which may make it difficult to detect from appearance alone.
A dry, flaky scalp could be a sign of psoriasis. This is a skin condition caused by a reaction within the immune system where skin cells are seen as invaders. The resulting flaky plaques typically appear on elbows, knees or the scalp. The microscopic cracks that can indicate a patient has an inflammatory skin condition known as eczema may be mistaken for ringworm, a fungal infection. Misdiagnosis of skin conditions like these sometimes occurs when patients visit a dermatologist with an inaccurate assessment from another doctor.
The failure to diagnose a skin condition is sometimes considered a form of medical malpractice. An attorney familiar with cases of this nature can help patients determine if there was negligence involved by the medical professionals who failed to correctly diagnose a skin condition, especially one that typically responds better to early treatment. The responsible party may be required to provide compensation for pain and suffering and medical expenses.