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3 common misdiagnoses that emergency room doctors make

Many physicians who decide to practice emergency medicine do so because they like the idea that no one day will be like the next. While doctors who work in the emergency room may appreciate the adrenaline rush that comes with working there, they have to be prepared to diagnose patients who come in with a variety of conditions. It shouldn't come as a surprise that they tend to make many diagnostic errors.

Inaccurate readings of X-rays

Emergency room doctors who order X-rays often read them themselves to determine the severity of a patient's condition. When radiologists review the films the following day, they often come up with a different diagnosis from the doctor the previous day. By the time a patient finds out this, they may be experiencing increased complications associated with their condition.

Pulmonary embolisms

If an artery that runs through a person's lung becomes blocked, then it's possible for a blood clot to develop within it. It can then travel to a patient's arms or legs.

Tell-tale signs that a person may have a pulmonary embolism is if they develop chest pain or a rapid heartbeat, begin having swelling in their legs or start coughing up blood. Wheezing, shortness of breath and lightheadedness are also signs that someone may be suffering from this condition.

Doctors who order CT or lung scans, pulmonary angiograms and chest X-rays may be able to better home in on an appropriate diagnosis. Blood tests, venographies, ultrasounds or MRIs can help doctors identify blood clots more easily as well. Even if they perform these tests though, they may still not be able to definitively diagnose a patient with a pulmonary embolism.

Rectal bleeding

Patients who appear in the emergency room complaining of rectal bleeding should immediately be tested for colon cancer. They're often diagnosed with hemorrhoids though. Patients who have consistent bleeding may benefit from getting a second opinion to rule out colon cancer as the condition can kill you if it's not identified and treated aggressively.

Emergency room doctors see patients with varying ailments in a single day as they walk in. Since they often juggle many cases at once, it's easy for them to get confused and make mistakes. If the quality of your medical care has been affected by this, then a Biloxi medical malpractice attorney can advise you of your right to compensation for your pain and suffering.

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