Dorian, Goldstein, Wisniewski & Orchinik
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Misdiagnosing a brown recluse spider bite

Pennsylvania residents may be interested to learn that there are about 40 different conditions that can be misdiagnosed as a brown recluse spider bite. Because these conditions can include skin cancer, Lyme disease, herpes, diabetic ulcers and even antibiotic-resistant staph infection, getting a proper diagnosis is important.

One way medical professionals can determine if a skin lesion was caused by a brown recluse is to use the mnemonic "NOT RECLUSE". For example, doctors look to see if there are numerous bites, the circumstances surrounding where the alleged bite occurred and the time of year. Only about 10 percent of brown recluse bites actually need medical attention, especially if there is pus or rotting skin around the area of the bite.

However, brown recluse spiders tend to only bite when threatened and the majority of bites look like a blister that heals on its own. Some people may also self-diagnose a skin abnormality as a brown recluse spider bite because it can be dramatic. Even further, doctors can misdiagnose a spider bite if they cannot diagnose it as something else. If it turns out that the abnormality is cancer or MRSA, however, the patient could be prevented from seeking timely treatment.

If a misdiagnosis leads to a worsened medical condition, patients could be facing more expensive medical bills and a poor prognosis. If the doctor or healthcare professional was negligent, a medical malpractice attorney may help them seek compensation for their pain and suffering in addition to other damages. The attorney may file the lawsuit and gather the evidence, such as medical reports, that show that the doctor or hospital was negligent.

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