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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cells Gone Wild: A Case Report on Missed Acute Leukemia and Subsequent Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation in the Emergency Department


Introduction: Emergency physicians must maintain a broad differential when seeing patients in the emergency department (ED). Occasionally, a patient may have an undiagnosed, life-threatening medical condition not related to the presenting chief complaint. It is imperative to review all ordered laboratory tests and any available previous laboratory values to assess for any abnormalities that may warrant further evaluation.

Case Report: This case report is regarding the missed diagnosis of acute leukemia and subsequent disseminated intravascular coagulation in a 27-year-old male who presented to multiple EDs with the unrelated chief complaint of finger ring entrapment. This patient ultimately succumbed to his illness.

Conclusion: When evaluating patients in the ED, it is important to review any prior available test results for abnormalities, even if the results do not specifically correlate with the chief complaint. Emergency physicians must remain vigilant to avoid missing a critical diagnosis.

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