Urine testing can lead to misdiagnosis of dehydration

A new study suggests that many elderly individuals are being misdiagnosed of dehydration. Such a misdiagnosis is more serious for elderly individuals in Arizona than other residents due to impaired kidney function, medications, other medical conditions and unknown thirst sensations.

The study, which was done by East Anglia University in Britain, was conducted on 383 men and women who were older than 65 and living in a nursing home, residential care or in their own home. Researchers drew blood to determine the hydration status of the participants. They also conducted urine samples on the patients. A urine sample is a common way to detect dehydration when a physician notices symptoms such as plumpness of the skin, dry skin, dry mouth, fatigue and thirst. A person who is dehydrated doesn’t produce as much urine as someone who is properly hydrated. To avoid medical malpractice claims, doctors are expected to test for common possibilities when a person is seeking treatment.

According to the study, the blood and urine samples did not always provide the same results. The urine tests sometimes showed that the patient was dehydrated while the blood test did not. The reverse was also true. The doctor leading the research study said that blood tests are the more reliable measure when dealing with cases involving elderly patients. To avoid medical malpractice claims, doctors should also be aware of the medications that their patients are on since the accuracy of a urine test can be altered due to this information.

Individuals who believe that they were harmed by a doctor’s error may choose to discuss their case with a lawyer. He or she may explain the victim’s options and offer suggestions on pursuing a claim.