When medical negligence occurs, patients who are already ill or injured may end up in a worse state than when they initially sought treatment. Children can also be the victims of medical malpractice, and the results may be devastating. Allegations of pediatric malpractice are much more common than one would think; and parents should understand their legal options if their child is harmed by the negligent actions of a pediatrician or other caregiver.
To successfully argue a pediatric malpractice case, the parents must establish that the pediatrician or other healthcare provider behaved negligently, and that their child suffered harm as a direct result of that negligence. Pediatricians must maintain a reasonable standard of care. While this standard varies from patient to patient, it is generally understood to mean that other doctors would have provided the same level of care in a similar circumstance. For example, if a physician could reasonably be expected to diagnose meningitis within a 12-hour period, failing to do so could be considered negligent if the child’s condition worsened.
Misdiagnosis Common in Pediatric Malpractice Claims
A large portion of pediatric malpractice cases involve misdiagnosis. Meningitis is the disease most commonly associated with malpractice claims, likely because it is difficult to diagnose in children. The early symptoms can mimic other conditions and lead doctors down the wrong treatment path. Meningitis progresses very quickly, and by the time the child receives a correct diagnosis, it may be too late.
Appendicitis is another common misdiagnosis. The American Association of Pediatricians (AAP) reports that about 27 percent of infant appendicitis cases are misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis is more common in female patients, as the symptoms can appear at first to indicate a urinary tract infection or pelvic inflammatory disease. If appendicitis is allowed to progress to a certain point without proper treatment, there can be permanent damage.
Pediatric Medication Errors
Medication errors are also common causes for malpractice cases, accounting for about five percent of cases. About 56 percent of these cases involve an error in ordering the medication, while 34 percent involve an error in how the drugs were administered. Transcription and dispensing errors each made up a small portion of malpractice cases as well. While in most cases, it is the physician who is at fault for medication mistakes, nurses or pharmacies may also be responsible for errors that occur.
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, almost one third of pediatricians will be sued for malpractice at some point in their career. The consequences of pediatric malpractice can be more severe and longer lasting than cases involving adult patients. If the family can prove that the child’s suffering was directly caused by negligent actions of their caregivers, they may obtain compensation to cover past and future medical bills as well as pain and suffering.
New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP Fight for Victims of Pediatric Malpractice
If your child has suffered due to medical negligence, call the medical malpractice lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to handle all types of malpractice cases, including pediatric malpractice, and we are committed to getting you the compensation you deserve. With offices conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, we help victims of malpractice and their families throughout New Jersey. Call us today at 732-777-0100 or contact us online for a free consultation with a seasoned and compassionate New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer.
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- Statute of Limitations for New Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP has purposely remained small in size, because it is important to us that we get to know our clients and their needs. Larger NJ injury firms may churn out case after case, but that’s not how we operate. Partners Barry Eichen, William Crutchlow, and Daryl Zaslow have created a firm with the resources to handle complex litigation, and a team that takes your case personally.
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