Pediatricians are the doctors who dedicate their careers to the diseases and conditions of childhood. We entrust them to take care of our young ones when they’re sick, and to do the best job that they can in treating and managing the many illnesses of youth. However, when a doctor fails to uphold the standards of the medical profession and someone is hurt or dies as a result, a medical malpractice suit may be necessary to hold the doctor accountable for his or her actions.
Here’s what you should know about medical malpractice suits against pediatricians, including examples of situations that could be malpractice, how to make your case in a court of law, and the damages you may be able to recover with a lawsuit.
Pediatric Medical Malpractice Situations
Not all poor patient outcomes are considered medical malpractice. Even when the doctor faithfully executes the duties of the job perfectly, unforeseen things can happen, sometimes with tragic results. Medical malpractice happens when a doctor acts negligently or carelessly in his or her responsibility to the patient, causing an injury that could have been prevented, such as the worsening of a condition, or an entirely new set of medical issues. Some examples of this behavior can include the following:
- Failure to diagnose a disease. In some cases, the signs of a disease are hidden or non-obvious, even to a trained medical professional, until it’s too late. However, when the doctor overlooks something obvious or fails to perform routine tests that could have caught the disease, failure to diagnose a disease could be considered medical malpractice.
- Failure to monitor a condition. Doctors have a duty to their patients to not only diagnose correctly, but to follow through with management and treatment of disease, as well. If the doctor isn’t appropriately following through, it could result in liability.
- Failure to manage medications. Doctors are responsible for the prescriptions that they write to patients. If a doctor isn’t providing routine monitoring to ensure that the right medication has been prescribed, the medication is working, assessing side effects and effectiveness, and so on, the doctor can be held legally liable.
One of the most common medical malpractice situations in children is due to meningitis, a potentially lethal infection around the brain. A delay in treatment can lead to long-term health issues, including deafness, seizures, cognitive or behavioral problems, and death. Pediatric doctors should be well-versed in the early signs of this disease and able to recognize them, or they may be held liable if they misinterpret symptoms or make an incorrect diagnosis.
This holds true for other dangerous childhood diseases, as well, including appendicitis, leukemia, and many types of cancer.
Making a Medical Malpractice Claim
To make your case in a court, you and your attorney will work together and gather the evidence to establish three key pillars of a malpractice suit:
- Breach of duty. The doctor had a duty of care to your child and failed to uphold it, by acting in a manner inconsistent with the accepted practices of other medical professionals with similar training.
- The breach resulted in harm. The doctor’s failure to uphold medical standards is what lead to the harm that your child suffered.
- There are damages. The consequences of the harm that the patient suffered must be able to be compensated for financially, so you must show that the harm caused losses.
Some examples of the types of damages that result from medical malpractice include the cost of hospital bills, surgeries, follow-up care, medications, skilled nursing care, physical therapy or rehabilitation, medical equipment needs such as the cost of prosthetics or wheelchairs, and other expenses related to the injury.
Get Legal Help
Medical malpractice cases are complicated and can require extensive legal experience and knowledge of the medical field. A medical malpractice attorney who understands the challenges of a pediatric case can investigate your claim by looking at medical records, the doctor’s education and history, consult with expert witnesses, and will represent you and your child in court so that you can seek the compensation that your family deserves.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP are here to stand up for the rights of hurt children and their families by holding negligent medical professionals responsible for the injuries that they have caused, and we would like to help your family begin the recovery process today. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional at Wayne Wright LLP, call us by phone, use our online contact form, or click the live chat box on this page right now.