Pediatric Malpractice: What It Is, Cases and Implications August 8, 2023.

pediatric malpractice attorney

Pediatric malpractice can happen to any family, and the results can be devastating. If a doctor did not provide proper care to your child, you may have a case. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics explains pediatricians have the lowest number of malpractice cases in the medical community but the highest payout on lawsuits. The common causes of errors in this field include longer work hours, more time in the career, and an increase in critical care and emergencies. 

Regardless of why a problem happens, you shouldn't have to suffer because a healthcare provider made a mistake when caring for your child. The Mellino Law Firm has worked with people in your same situation to defend their rights and hold physicians accountable. Contact us today to discuss your case and see how an experienced medical malpractice attorney can assist you with getting the compensation you deserve. 

What Is Pediatric Malpractice and Its Scope

Pediatric malpractice covers all child patients, including neonatal patients up to those in their teens. It also covers all types of services, including physical, mental, and social care. Any healthcare professional, from doctors to nurses, could be the responsible party in a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

Malpractice claims have specific rules. The Ohio Revised Code states you must bring all claims within one year of discovering the injuries were a result of pediatric care provider error. You also have the burden of proof, which means you must prove all the claims you make in the lawsuit. 

You will have to show the doctor or provider had a duty to provide your child with medical care, and in the course of this relationship, they failed to follow the standard of care or deviated from standards. These actions led to injuries to your child, and you suffered damages. 

The first part explains that you must show that a provider had a duty of care to your child, which is just showing your child was a patient of this particular provider. 

You need to understand providing a standard of care issue is more than being unhappy with a doctor or disagreeing with how the physician treated your child. You have to show that the medical providers did not follow the standard of care in your child's situation. This could be due to medical errors or simply because the provider was not acting responsibly. 

Finally, you also must suffer some type of damage because of these actions. You could have some financial loss or claim emotional and psychological issues resulting from the situation. 

Common Cases Involving Pediatric Malpractice

Pediatric malpractice can occur in any type of medical situation. It is most common in labor and delivery and emergency treatment. It can involve a range of injuries, including temporary issues and long-term problems. 

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis of Pediatric Conditions

A physician has to use due diligence when making diagnoses. Any diagnostic errors can result in a more serious medical issue for the patient, making these types of mistakes some of the worst. 

Misdiagnosis occurs when the provider fails to discover the ailment. It could involve not making any diagnosis or could result in a misdiagnosis. 

Another common diagnostic error is a delayed diagnosis. When this happens, the provider takes too long to come up with a diagnosis. Generally, this occurs when the medical professional is not providing the right standard of care. 

Diagnostic errors cause the most harm to patients because they can result in delayed treatments that allow a medical condition to get worse. It could also expose patients to needless testing or treatments. 

According to the Patient Safety Network, the most common diagnostic issues in pediatrics include:

  • Meningitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Pneumonia

Such medical negligence is most common in emergency care

Surgical Errors and Anesthesia Mistakes in Pediatric Procedures

Surgical errors, including anesthesia mistakes, are often a result of inadequate training, miscommunication, and the failure to follow set protocols. They can lead to severe injury during or after surgery. 

Anesthesia mistakes may include:

  • Breathing machine disconnection
  • Erroneous gas flow adjustments
  • Improper equipment use
  • Intravenous needle disconnection
  • Wrong time extubation 

Surgical errors include:

  • Foreign items left in the body
  • Specimen mislabeling
  • Wrong site, procedure, or patient operations

Medication Errors and Prescription Mistakes for Pediatric Patients

Medication errors and prescription mistakes include a range of issues, from giving patients the wrong medication to providing compromised medication that wasn't stored properly. 

A study showed such errors may occur in a few different stages of the process of giving patients medication:

  • Prescribing
  • Documenting
  • Transcribing
  • Dispensing
  • Administering
  • Monitoring

Prescribing errors are the most common. 

The types of errors related to medication include:

  • Administering expired products
  • Directing patients to take medication for too long or not long enough
  • Preparing medication incorrectly
  • Giving patients the wrong strength
  • Using the incorrect rate for IVs
  • Providing medications at the wrong time
  • Giving the wrong dosage

While there may be many reasons why medication errors may occur, the most common include issues that are all preventable, such as illegible handwriting, communication issues, and distractions on the job. 

Birth Injuries and Obstetric Malpractice Affecting Newborns

Birth injuries occur during labor and delivery and represent a large portion of all medical negligence cases. They include injuries to both the mother and child and may result in nerve damage, broken bones, dislocations, and skull damage. Some injuries will restrict blood or oxygen flow to the baby and result in life-long issues. 

Most birth injuries are completely preventable. They often result from improper monitoring and care and doctor errors, such as not paying attention to the mother's medical history or ignoring symptoms that could indicate an issue.  

Legal Implications and Consequences of Pediatric Malpractice

Pediatric malpractice can cause serious consequences for the victims and the healthcare provider.

Those who have had a child injured by bad medical treatment may have to deal with financial, emotional, and physical effects. A provider facing accusations of pediatric malpractice could face:

  • Medical negligence claims - A lawsuit against the provider that could cost them millions of dollars if they lose. 
  • Professional reputational damage - If a doctor gets a reputation for malpractice issues, they could have a difficult time keeping patients and continuing their medical career. 
  • Financial liability - While providers typically carry malpractice insurance, they may have to pay some out of pocket for awards in a lawsuit. In addition, the professional damage could impact their practice and ability to continue working in the field.
  • Criminal charges - In some of the most egregious situations, a doctor might also face criminal charges for their malpractice actions. 

Both victims and providers are at risk of suffering emotional and psychological impacts from the situation. Dealing with causing harm to someone could greatly affect the provider's ability to continue working. For families, the toll of the situation can lead to serious effects with lifelong impacts. 

The Best Pediatric Malpractice Attorney for Your Medical Malpractice Claims

If a medical provider injured your child because they did not properly do their job, you need to speak to an attorney. You have the right to ask for payment for medical expenses and the suffering you and your child have gone through. 

Let Mellino Law assist you with putting together your case and holding the medical professional responsible. Contact us now for legal advice and experienced insight into how to get the compensation you deserve.