Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition that affects many people in Tennessee and around the country. Usually caused by years of smoking, patients with the disease suffer with problems including shortness of breath and coughing. The symptoms progressively worsen, and the affliction is one of the leading causes of illness-related death in the United States. Accurate detection of the ailment in its early stages is crucial to helping individuals begin early treatment that may lengthen their lives and increase their quality of life.
The criteria that is currently being used to confirm a diagnosis of COPD may be resulting in both missed diagnoses and under-diagnosing in certain portions of the population. Currently, identifying COPD is based on calculating the ratio of the patient's forced expiratory volume in one second divided by the forced vital capacity. Additionally, repeated testing showing a trend that the airflow reduction is limited is necessary for making an accurate diagnosis.
Researchers have recently taken a second look at the current guidelines for diagnosing COPD and have concluded that the methods used for establishing the presence of the condition have resulted in over-diagnosing the disease in older men and failing to recognize its existence in younger women. As a result, between 10 and 15 percent of patients have been wrongly identified and are either being over- or under-treated.
People who have suffered physical consequences due to a misdiagnosis of COPD may be able to seek compensation for their losses. An attorney who handles doctor negligence cases may be able to help individuals who have been damaged due to the negligent actions of a health care professional. Compensation may be received by either reaching a settlement between the parties or obtaining an award at trial.