Asthma is a disease that causes chronic inflammation in the lungs. In a flare, the lungs and bronchial tubes swell, making it difficult, if not impossible, to breathe.
Being misdiagnosed creates a significant risk for the patient: Without bronchodilators, medications like albuterol or levalbuterol, asthma attacks can be fatal.
Why is asthma so dangerous?
Asthma is dangerous because of how quickly it can flare. According to one study, approximately one in four people with asthma can’t tell when they’re about to have an attack. By the time they realize they need help, it may already be too late.
Now, imagine being someone who was told they don’t have this dangerous disease. They may think their breathing problems are a panic attack or another condition that isn’t likely to result in death — which means they won’t get appropriate treatment.
Why is asthma misdiagnosed?
Asthma has the potential to be misdiagnosed because of how the disease works. Someone with this condition may be seemingly fine for weeks and then suffer an attack when exposed to a trigger. They may be misdiagnosed if they have an attack during a cold or a bout of bronchitis, which can make doctors overlook this serious, underlying chronic condition. They may also be ignored by a doctor who just doesn’t take their complaints seriously.
If you believe that you or a loved one has asthma, ask to see a lung specialist, and get the tests done. It’s only with specialty tests that a diagnosis can be confirmed.
What if you lose someone because of an asthma misdiagnosis?
Sometimes people with asthma are misdiagnosed with milder conditions. Other times, people with conditions like lung cancer are misdiagnosed with asthma. Either way, the mistake can cost them their lives. If your loved one died from a misdiagnosis or suffered irreparable harm, it may be time to speak to someone about a medical malpractice claim.