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A pair of recent news stores add up to a cautionary tale for clinicians inclined to assume ailments commonly identified in the urgent care setting pose no serious threats. One case resulted in the partial amputation of a child’s leg, while the other cost a child her life. In Akron, OH a 6-year-old girl’s strep throat was followed by a flu diagnosis. When her left leg began to swell and she begged her parents not to touch it or her right arm, it was evident something more severe was going on. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis. Doctors were forced to amputate the leg to save her life. The other case, in England, also involved an initial diagnosis of “influenza” but saw the patient become septic and pass away. Both cases underscore the importance of giving patients (and parents) clear instructions for supportive care and when to return to the urgent care center or head to the ED if symptoms grow worse.

Beware Deceptively ‘Simple’ Diagnoses
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