There are a lot of medical conditions out there. Depending on the type and the speed with which an individual obtains medical attention, these conditions can be extremely minor and easily curable, or devastating and long-term. In some instances, an untreated or improperly diagnosed minor illness can turn into something more severe, posing the risk of permanent disability or even death. For this reason, it is important that medical professionals diligently work to avoid a missed diagnosis.

One condition that can pose a severe threat is pneumonia. Pneumonia is a respiratory infection often obtained via the flu, though it can also be caused by bacteria. Though this is often thought of as a treatable illness that can be remedied relatively quickly, for some it proves fatal. There are more than 30 different causes of pneumonia, and many times the symptoms of multiple conditions may be present. This can make diagnosing pneumonia, and its cause, challenging, but not impossible.

Medical professionals need to first assess a patient’s symptoms. Symptoms of pneumonia can include coughing, fever, chills and shortness of breath. Some may also experience headache, sharp chest pains and excessive perspiration. Once a doctor has identified that a patient has pneumonia, he or she should try to figure out its cause. Though pneumonia may be treated with medication, the underlying issue may be something much more serious.

Despite their years, oftentimes decades of training and experience, many medical professionals make mistakes that leave patients with a worsened medical condition. In some instances, these victims are unable to recover. Those who have suffered harm caused by a missed diagnosis or wrong diagnosis may want to carefully consider their legal options, as compensation may be available to them.

Source: American Lung Association, “Pneumonia Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors,” accessed on May 27, 2016