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Woman with flesh-eating bacteria misdiagnosed with the flu

When New York residents visit their doctor with a health problem, they expect to be properly diagnosed and treated. However, heath care professionals sometimes get it wrong, causing patients to needlessly suffer.

For example, an Arizona woman visited her doctor on Jan. 11 for treatment of flu-like symptoms and a painful area under her arm. Her doctor diagnosed her with the flu and sent her home. Unfortunately, her pain greatly increased over the next two days. On Jan. 13, she was finally taken to the hospital and diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, more commonly known as "flesh-eating" bacteria. She was rushed into surgery, and doctors removed more than 30 percent of her infected flesh during a life-saving operation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis can be caused by multiple types of bacteria, including group A Streptococcus, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Typically, bacteria invade a person's body through a cut or wound and begin to spread rapidly, causing symptoms within hours. Affected patients can exhibit symptoms normally associated with the flu, including chills, fatigue, fever and vomiting. They may also experience intense pain, swelling and discoloration around the area of their wound. The infection is typically treated with antibiotics, but it may require emergency surgery in some cases.

Victims of a misdiagnosis who have been harmed as a result might want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney in order to see what recourse they might have. The attorney will need to demonstrate that the error constituted a failure to exhibit the required standard of care, and the opinion testimony of one or more medical experts might be used in this regard.

Source: FOX News, "Why flesh-eating bacteria can look like the flu", Rachael Rettner, Jan. 22, 2018

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