In a world filled with germs, infections are not uncommon. They can be minor or severe, depending on the cause, affected area, time of discovery and treatment.
However, when an infection goes unnoticed, even a small one can rapidly become a major problem. When doctors fail to diagnose an infection promptly, it can lead to serious consequences for the patient.
One of the primary consequences of a missed infection diagnosis is a delay in appropriate treatment. Infections, if left untreated, can spread rapidly throughout the body and worsen. This can lead to complications, such as sepsis, abscesses or organ damage. These can be life-threatening, requiring intensive medical intervention, including surgeries, strong antibiotics or other advanced treatments to manage the condition. They can also cause increased pain, discomfort and even impairment of bodily functions.
Certain infections are highly contagious. If a doctor fails to diagnose and isolate a patient with a contagious infection, it can spread to others, leading to outbreaks within communities or healthcare facilities. This puts not only the patient at risk but also the general public.
Chronic infections, if not diagnosed and treated promptly, can result in long-term health issues. For example, untreated urinary tract infections can lead to kidney problems, and undiagnosed dental infections can cause systemic health complications. Dealing with prolonged illness and complications due to a missed diagnosis can also result in emotional and psychological effects on the patient. Feelings of frustration, anxiety and mistrust in the healthcare system can arise.
According to KFF Health News, an average of over 600,000 individuals suffer from complications or die because of diagnostic errors each year. Those who develop further issues because of an undiagnosed infection may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. It is important to seek the opinion of more than one doctor if there is reason to believe the original doctor is wrong.