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Arlington Heights medical malpractice lawyersThere are a variety of ways that doctors or other medical professionals can make mistakes that affect the health and well-being of their patients. Misdiagnosis is one of the most prevalent forms of medical malpractice, and it can cause patients to suffer serious harm. If a person’s condition is not properly diagnosed, they may not receive the necessary treatment in time to prevent serious risks to their health, or they may receive the wrong type of treatment, which can lead to additional health complications. 

Conditions That Can Lead to Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis can occur for a variety of reasons. Doctors may fail to properly consider a patient’s medical history, they may not spend enough time examining a patient, or they may not give enough weight to the symptoms reported by the patient. In other cases, diagnostic errors, including mistakes at medical labs, failure to order the proper tests, or failure to properly review test results, can lead to an incorrect diagnosis.

Some of the illnesses and ailments that are most commonly misdiagnosed include:

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Rolling Meadows medical negligence attorney Legionnaires disease

A common cause for personal injury cases and medical negligence lawsuits, Legionnaires’ disease, originally discovered back in 1976, still continues to cause health problems nationwide due to building maintenance negligence and misdiagnosis within the healthcare community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 out of 10 people who contract Legionnaires' dies from the disease, and health departments recorded approximately 10,000 cases in the United States in the year 2018 alone. While these numbers represent official cases, experts say these statistics are not entirely accurate, as many new cases remain undiagnosed. If you fear you or your loved one has recently been exposed to the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease, it is important to understand how the disease is transmitted and how your health may be affected.

How the Disease Spreads

Manifesting as a pneumonia lung infection, Legionnaires’ disease is caused by Legionella bacteria, which grows naturally in fresh water supplies, such as lakes and streams. When this bacteria makes its way into a building’s man-made water management system and multiplies, it is at this stage that it becomes hazardous for humans to breathe in. If the plumbing system of a building or structure is not properly maintained, the bacteria can be inhaled via mist from showers, cooling fans, hot tubs, or even decorative fountains. Here are some basic transmission facts you should be aware of:

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Schaumburg medical negligence attorney Legionnaires disease

First discovered following a 1976 outbreak at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, Legionnaires’ disease left affected attendees with serious lung infections -- a type of pneumonia -- caused by bacteria known as Legionella. Research has shown that this bacteria grows in poorly managed water systems, often due to negligence on behalf of a building’s owner, such as those who own a nursing home facility that houses a complex water system. When mist from this infected water is inhaled, through showers or hot tubs, for example, residents can contract Legionnaires’ disease, posing grave risks to their health. The same bacteria that causes this disease was also responsible for cases of Pontiac fever that occurred in Michigan during the 1960s. 

The Prevalence of Legionnaires’ Cases Today

Although the disease earned its name back in the 1970s, cases of Legionnaires’ disease are still very prevalent today. The number of cases has fluctuated over time, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported there were nearly 10,000 cases in the United States in 2018. The CDC has also stated that this number is likely a misrepresentation of the actual number of people affected by the disease, as many cases are undiagnosed. 

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Arlington Heights medical error attorney

If you believe you have suffered in some way due to the negligence of a medical professional, you might want to consider filing a medical malpractice claim. While these cases might be complex, especially depending on which types of accusations are being levied, the actual elements of a medical malpractice claim—the parties, the proof, and the process—are relatively straightforward. Below is a brief summary of each component.

The Parties

The parties involved in a medical practice claim and the terms used to describe these parties are as follows:

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Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney Legionnaires' diseaseAlthough many people may have heard of Legionnaires' disease, they may not know that it is a severe form of pneumonia. In many cases, it is possible that the disease could have been prevented. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with the condition, you and your family may be entitled to compensation. In some cases, the misdiagnosis of this disease may even be the result of medical malpractice. Typically contracted through the inhalation of contaminated mist, the condition can be fatal, especially in those with compromised immune systems or certain lung conditions. Victims and their families may be able to pursue compensation for a Legionnaires' disease infection through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. 

Symptoms of the Disease

At first, Legionnaires' disease may look like the flu, as early symptoms include headaches, fever, and muscle aches. However, as the condition worsens -- typically by the second or third day after contracting the infection -- the victim may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal issues, confusion, and severe coughing, which may produce mucus or blood. If left untreated, the condition can (and often does) result in fatality. Those with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly and those with specific lung disorders, are not only at higher risk for fatalities, but they are also at an increased risk for contracting Legionnaires’ disease. A milder form of Legionnaires disease, Pontiac fever, can produce the early symptoms but may not progress in severity. Still, victims may be entitled to compensation for any medical expenses, missed time at work, or pain and suffering related to their condition.

How Is the Disease Contracted? 

Like other forms of pneumonia, Legionnaires' disease is an inflammation in the lungs caused by an infection. It is contracted through the inhalation of the bacterium legionella. Found in both soil and water, the most common method of intake is through a mist, such as via an air conditioning unit of an old building, where the bacteria is able to grow and run rampant. Other places and ways that the condition can be contracted include:

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