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What Is Pediatric Malpractice?

What Is Pediatric Malpractice?

Pediatric malpractice is a devastating occurrence that affects the most vulnerable members of society. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to completely eliminate occurrences of pediatric malpractice, but victims and their families can seek valuable compensation to help offset the devastation. 

Understanding Pediatric Malpractice 

Pediatric malpractice is a form of medical malpractice. It is committed by healthcare professionals involved in the care and treatment of children’s injuries and diseases.  

Malpractice in this context occurs when a pediatric medical professional’s treatment and care of a patient falls below accepted standards of care. It can occur during any type of treatment and in many contexts from emergency department and urgent care settings to through the prescription of medication.   

Medication Errors 

Pediatric malpractice can occur during the prescribing and administering of pediatric medication. Children have higher sensitivities to various medications but sometimes get adult-sized doses of medication or adult-only medication during a course of treatment. These errors can lead to adverse and harmful reactions that injure a child. 

Surgical Errors 

Surgeons perform highly complex, delicate operations on adults. When it comes to children, the stakes are higher. Children have smaller bodies and body parts and require a higher degree of care. Children are also more fragile and delicate. A procedure well-tolerated by the average adult could be disastrous for a child.  

Sadly, pediatric surgeons sometimes fall below standards of care when operating and commit instances of malpractice, such as: 

  • Wrong-site surgery 
  • Erroneous amputations 
  • Wrong surgeries 
  • Unreasonably risky surgeries 

Surgeons may also fail to supervise surgical staff appropriately, leading to a child being injured.  

Diagnostic Errors 

Diagnostic errors include misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, and delayed diagnosis. A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor incorrectly diagnoses a condition as one disease or illness when it is another.  

For example, a patient presenting with symptoms X, Y, and Z should be diagnosed with disease 1. However, the doctor on duty diagnoses the condition as disease 3, and the treatment for disease 3 causes the child to become seriously ill.  

Missed diagnoses occur when a doctor fails to recognize a condition and does not diagnose it. They may chalk the symptoms up to a cold or pay them little to no mind. In these cases, the underlying condition eventually develops into a destructive illness.  

Keep in mind that more than one healthcare professional is typically involved in the diagnosis process.  

When a doctor sets out to diagnose, they check the child’s medical history, which includes treatment and notes from other medical professionals. There are also test results from X-ray and imaging professionals, all of whom must perform their work at accepted levels of care. Their negligence may play a role in misdiagnoses as well.  

Birthing and Postnatal Care Errors 

The birth process is perhaps one of the most delicate of medical procedures. Babies entering this world are entirely helpless and often in need of intervention to make the transition safely into this world.  

Birthing and postnatal care lapses have the potential to forever impact a newborn’s life and the lives of their parents and are much more common than they should be. They include: 

  • Failure to monitor  
  • Failure to respond to emergency conditions 
  • Failure to respond in a timely manner 
  • Improper use of birthing tools, such as forceps and vacuums 
  • Blunt-force trauma  
  • Anesthesia errors 
  • C-section errors 
  • Improper postnatal care 
  • Medication errors 

During birth, pediatric malpractice can often occur alongside medical malpractice cases affecting the mother. For example, failure to monitor the baby and mother during and after birth can lead to valid claims for both mother and child.  

What Can Be Done About Pediatric Malpractice 

Parents can seek compensation on behalf of their children in pediatric malpractice cases but must prove the following elements: 

  • Their child was in a professional care relationship with the healthcare provider 
  • The healthcare provider breached their duty of care when treating the patient 
  • The breach resulted in an injury to the child 
  • The child suffered compensable damages 

Compensable damages in these cases include: 

  • Expenses related to medical treatment 
  • Costs associated with medical devices and equipment 
  • Rehabilitation 
  • Lost future wages 
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 

Depending on the age of the child, calculating damages can be challenging. For this reason, it is essential for parents of pediatric malpractice victims to seek the services of a seasoned medical malpractice attorney with a demonstrated track record of client wins.  

Another important point to remember is that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases involving children is different from cases involving adults. While adults have two-and-a-half years from the date of the injury to take action, children have ten years or until they reach the age of 20 years and six months.  

Speak With a Pediatric Malpractice Attorney Today 

Pediatric malpractice devastates children and their families. Silberstein, Awad & Miklos is here to help you and your child get justice if your family has been the victim of malpractice.  

Contact us without delay to begin the process of compensation for the losses you and your child have suffered. Initial consultations are free, so reach out today.