What To Know About Pediatric Malpractice
If an adult suffers some type of medical harm or injury due to a provider’s negligence, legal recourse is possible and the patient has every right to be upset. Understandably, a person may be even more upset if the health care negligence involved their child. Unfortunately, pediatric malpractice can happen, and when it does, it can lead to serious or even permanent problems. In Tennessee, nearly 10% of medical malpractice claims involve young patients 13 years old or less.
Studies show that malpractice rates among pediatricians are low compared to other specialties. However, when pediatric malpractice occurs, the necessary payouts are among the highest in any specialty. Legal malpractice cases among pediatricians are among the least likely to be dismissed by a judge at the pretrial phase, and are more likely to go to trial than other health care negligence claims. Of all claims filed alleging pediatric malpractice, about 40% result in some type of payment to the claimant.
This is due to the risk of significant harm that can result from pediatric mistakes, misdiagnosis, and other forms of negligence.
Issues involving pediatric malpractice may include:
- Medication errors. Errors in prescribing or administering medication can happen not only in adults but in children as well. Failures to properly account for a child’s age, weight, and potential complicating factors can result in mild to severe problems due to the medication error.
- Meningitis. Meningitis can be caused by viral or bacterial infections and can lead to severe and life-threatening effects. This illness involves inflammation of the fluid and membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and can cause serious complications in children. With early and accurate diagnosis, antibiotics can rid the body of the infection. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, however, can allow meningitis to progress in children.
- Appendicitis. It is possible for appendicitis to occur even in young children, and failure to accurately account for and diagnose appendicitis can potentially lead to a malpractice claim. Young children may be misdiagnosed if a pediatrician mistakes symptoms of appendicitis for pelvic inflammatory disease or a urinary tract infection, for example.
- Pneumonia. An infection of the lungs leading to pneumonia can carry severe consequences for a child. However, if pneumonia is not diagnosed, or is misdiagnosed as part of a cough, cold, or other infection such as RSV, the pneumonia can progress and cause lasting damage.
- Misdiagnosis of other conditions. There are any number of other serious medical conditions for which children can be misdiagnosed or mistreated. If the pediatrician does not do their due diligence and follow the standard of care required of them, medical injury can occur due to malpractice.
To prove medical malpractice by a pediatrician, a Plaintiff must show:
- The pediatrician had a duty of care to the patient (usually defined as the standard of practice among other pediatricians in their community or region);
- The doctor breached that duty of care, by acting or failing to act in some manner;
- The breach resulted in medical harm to the patient and some type of measurable damage.
Damages can be physical, mental, emotional, and financial. Proving damages as part of a pediatric malpractice claim can be complex and time consuming, but an experienced Tennessee medical malpractice attorney can help you navigate the process and prove your case in court if needed.
Our Knoxville, Tennessee Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today Can Fight For Your Family’s Rights in a Pediatric Malpractice Claim
If you believe your child has suffered as a result of medical malpractice, you have a responsibility to not only protect your child but to make their voice heard. The legal system recognizes the serious nature of pediatric malpractice claims and permits financial compensation when damages can be proven. Our legal team at Atkins Brezina, PLLC , has helped many in your family’s situation, and will thoroughly review your case to evaluate your claim. Contact our Knoxville medical malpractice lawyers today for help.