When you have a young child, something you want to do is to make sure that they receive the right care all the time. You found a pediatrician in your area that had great reviews.
The first few visits seemed fine, but when you went in over concerns about your child’s breathing, the doctor said that your child likely had a viral illness. They did no tests, and they sent you away telling you to use simple techniques, like steam, to loosen up mucous.
Later that night, you found your child struggling to breathe. By the time you’d called 911 and had the emergency team arrive, they had stopped completely. The emergency team was fantastic and was able to revive your child after several attempts, but it wasn’t without a cost. At the hospital, imaging showed that some hypoxia had taken place, and your child could have a permanent brain injury as a result.
Research has shown that brain injuries account for the highest percentage of medical malpractice claims across all ages of children. In your case, a misdiagnosis of a completely treatable condition, childhood asthma, left your child near death. Your child’s injuries could have been prevented with hospitalization and the appropriate medications, but that didn’t happen soon enough.
Diagnosis-related allegations are among the most common in all age groups (except for neonates). Diagnosis related claims make up around 34% to 44% of all claims and lawsuits for children of most age groups.
Interestingly, only around 37% of cases resulted in payments to the victims. Brain injuries accounted for most of the claims with 48% involving neonatal children. In 36% of cases, the child was a year old or younger. Teens made up 11% of brain injury claims, while other children made up 15% of cases.
Tragically, it is children within their first year of life who are at the highest risk of death after an error. Their death rate is approximately 30% under these circumstances.
There is no question that creating the perfect diagnosis for a child who cannot speak or say what’s wrong is difficult, but that is what medical providers are trained to do. If a doctor doesn’t know why your child is unwell or needs more information, they should send you on to a hospital for emergency care or to a specialist when more testing is needed. If your medical provider doesn’t do their due diligence, then you may have a claim for their negligence and mistakes.