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Medical Students struggle to diagnose skin conditions in people of color

In Ohio, patients depend on the correct diagnosis of dermatologic skin conditions. This is especially important when there are problems such as skin cancer that depend on a timely diagnosis and treatment. However, medical students, who eventually end up in a position where they can be diagnosing skin conditions, have difficulty when it comes to patients who have skin of color.

There was a study performed on medical students from two different schools. The study asked the prospective physicians to diagnose conditions with lighter skin as well as skin of color. The results indicated that the students made the correct diagnosis more often with skin of color. The disparity in the diagnosis among the two control groups was among the most pronounced when it came to squamous cell carcinoma. This is a common form of skin cancer, and it is worrisome that the students could not diagnose the condition the same in people with different skin colors.

Another relatively common condition that the medical students could not properly diagnose as well in people of color was the hives. There were some conditions such as herpes zoster and psoriasis that the students could properly detect equally. The results of this study do not bode well for the proper treatment of skin conditions in people of color.

If these medical students perform the same misdiagnosis when they graduate medical school and are licensed, they could be liable for malpractice in a lawsuit. A medical malpractice attorney may help their client file a lawsuit where the misdiagnosed patient could receive financial compensation for the harm that was caused by negligent medical care. Misdiagnosis is one of the most common grounds in a malpractice suit as the doctor wastes valuable time in treating a condition and it impacts the patient’s chance to be properly treated.

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