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Skin conditions often misdiagnosed in patients of color

One study among medical students may raise serious concerns among people of color with skin conditions in Ohio and around the country. According to a report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, medical students are more likely to diagnose dermatologic disorders in patients with skin of color when compared to those with lighter skin. While the study involved medical students, attitudes and areas of misinformation may carry forward into years of medical practice as well. The study also follows reports by black patients and other patients of color about substandard health care and poor treatment, as well as the serious impacts of misdiagnosis. If you have been misdiagnosed by a doctor, the health effects can be significant and damaging.

Misdiagnosis can put patients’ lives at risk

Skin conditions can be painful, disabling, and even life-threatening in the case of skin cancer. A doctor’s failure to diagnose cancer can allow a serious disease to grow and develop a greater level of severity that could have been avoided with early detection and treatment. In other cases, you may receive the wrong medicine or other treatment for a misdiagnosed condition, which can come with harmful side effects of its own.

The impact of race on medical errors

Medical students who are not properly trained to treat patients with skin of all colors may be more likely to confuse one type of skin cancer for another or even miss its presence altogether. Doctors may rely primarily on the color of the skin to make certain diagnoses, meaning that patients with pale skin receive a correct diagnosis while those with darker skin continue to suffer. In addition, some doctors are unwilling to consider the limits of their knowledge, leading to ongoing errors.

When a doctor fails to diagnose skin cancer or another serious illness, you may face thousands of dollars of additional medical bills as well as a greater threat to your life and health. If you have been harmed by a medical error, a medical malpractice attorney may review your case and help you to pursue compensation for your losses.