Complications of a Pneumonia Misdiagnosis February 24, 2012.

If your or a loved one was the victim of a pneumonia misdiagnosis, you may be able to hold the doctor liable. If you suffered serious or life-threatening injuries as a result, compensation may be available. With the different types of medical malpractice, it can be difficult to know if you have a valid case. Contact a Cleveland pneumonia misdiagnosis lawyer to learn what options may be available.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is not an uncommon medical condition to develop. It is generally caused by an infection and leads to the lungs becoming inflamed. Symptoms typically include fatigue, cough, chills, and fever. Pain is often felt in the chest, muscles, and head.

Antibiotics can usually treat the disease. However, if it is not properly diagnosed or if treatment is delayed, it can become serious or even fatal. This is especially true if the patient’s immune system is already compromised with other health problems.

Diagnosing pneumonia is usually done with a physical examination. The doctor may use a stethoscope to listen for sounds in your lungs. An x-ray can help detect the source of the infection. The doctor may also run blood tests, which check your white blood cell count.

Consequences of Failing to Diagnose & Treat

Pneumonia can be treated easily with antibiotics. However, if it is not properly diagnosed or if there is a delay in a diagnosis and/or treatment, it could lead to serious, life-threatening complications.

Complications of pneumonia can include:

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome – lung disease that reduces oxygen and makes breathing difficult;
  • Bacteria in the bloodstream – infection spreads through the bloodstream;
  • Septic shock –an infection spreading through the bloodstream can lead to organ failure and shock;
  • Abscess in the lungs – a cavity with pus may form; and
  • Fluid accumulation – fluid can collect around the lungs, leading to infection.

Some of those who are most at risk when pneumonia isn’t properly diagnosed or when there is a delay in diagnosis include children and the elderly. This is due to an undeveloped or compromised immune system.

However, individuals with serious health conditions are also at risk, such as those with certain types of cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

A pneumonia misdiagnosis could lead to filing a medical malpractice claim. To learn if you may be entitled to receive compensation, contact us at (440) 333-3800 to schedule your free consultation.