Pennsylvanians may be interested in a large-scale study completed by researchers in Europe. In the study, 2,090 patients from 540 doctors were surveyed about the patients’ diagnoses of respiratory conditions.

According to the researchers, almost one-third of patients who reported being diagnosed with respiratory conditions besides asthma should have instead been diagnosed with asthma. The researchers, from GlaxoSmithKline in Italy, said the finding is highly problematic. According to them, the high rate of failure to diagnose asthma increases the mortality rates for those suffering from the condition.

All of the patients who participated in the study were at least age 18, and 54.1 percent were women. They had all been diagnosed with some type of respiratory disease and had been prescribed corticosteroids. Out of the participants, 991 had diagnoses of asthma while 1,099 had been diagnosed with another disease. Of those diagnosed with another disease, the researchers found 365 should have been diagnosed with asthma. The researchers called for improved education for physicians about asthma diagnoses. They also indicated that something as simple as using scientifically valid questionnaires may help doctors to correctly diagnose the disease.

Failing to diagnose medical conditions like asthma could constitute medical professional negligence. When a failure to diagnose results in the patient suffering serious harm, the doctor may be held liable through a medical malpractice lawsuit. If asthma is not treated appropriately, people may possibly die from it. If that happens due to a diagnostic failure, the family may file a lawsuit. Families may want to consult with a medical malpractice attorney if their loved ones died because of a doctor diagnosing them with the wrong diseases.