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The symptoms for the flu and flesh-eating bacteria are similar

Some people in Iowa might have heard of flesh-eating bacteria, but they may not be aware that the symptoms indicating its presence could be confused with the flu. This happened to an Arizona woman who visited her doctor complaining of pain under her arm and flu-like symptoms. However, her husband says that within two days of the flu diagnosis, her pain was unbearable.

The woman was hospitalized and reportedly underwent seven surgeries for necrotizing fasciitis that infected 30 percent of her soft tissue. While necrotizing fasciitis can be treated with antibiotics, it may require surgery as well in some cases. The condition is fatal in more than a quarter of all cases. Reports say the woman will need reconstructive surgery and skin grafts to repair the damage.

Several types of bacteria can cause necrotizing fasciitis after a break in the skin allows its entry, and it can spread rapidly. Vomiting, fatigue, fever and chills are all symptoms that the condition shares with flu that could lead to the two being confused. However, with necrotizing fasciitis, people also report excessive pain associated with a wound. Sometimes the skin changes color from infection.

A misdiagnosis involving the flu, flesh-eating bacteria and many other conditions can be dangerous or even fatal if it causes a delay of the proper treatment. In some cases, a misdiagnosis might even constitute medical malpractice. A person who has suffered harm because of a misdiagnosis or has a loved one who has received an incorrect diagnosis might want to consult an attorney about whether medical malpractice has occurred. In a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, the error must be the result of some type of negligence. This means a court would consider whether the patient would have received a similar standard of care from most medical professionals. A medical malpractice suit might also be settled out of court.

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