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What is Pediatric Malpractice? 

It is often said that there is nothing more precious than a child. From entering our lives, they become our primary and constant focus. We attempt to meet their many needs and prepare them for their eventual life without us. The healthy development of children is essential for their personal well-being, their families, and the future of society.

Part of caring for children is ensuring they have adequate and appropriate medical care at each stage of development. First, there is the birthing process. Then, there are all kinds of accidents, illnesses, and maladies throughout childhood that affect even the healthiest of children. Finally, there are the unfortunate children who develop serious diseases, infections, and disorders. 

While Oregon is blessed with numerous top-notch pediatricians and other medical care professionals, it is also true that they sometimes make mistakes. Unfortunately, some mistakes can result in long-term repercussions, irreparable harm, and even death. In this blog post, we will discuss pediatric malpractice.

Defining Pediatric Malpractice.

Pediatric malpractice generally refers to medical malpractice involving a minor. It indeed can be committed by pediatricians, but it can also be achieved by other specialists, such as an obstetrician, who negligently harms a child. Essentially, the definition revolves around the age of the patient.

What Are Some Common Types of Pediatric Malpractice?

All in all, medical malpractice is, ultimately, rare. However, that doesn’t mean it never occurs. You might be surprised to learn that some of the top types of malpractice committed against children are the same or similar to those committed against adults. Below are some examples: 

Diagnosis errors can involve either misdiagnosis, which involves making an incorrect diagnosis, or failure to diagnose, which is a failure to make a diagnosis when it should have been made. Common failures to diagnose claims in pediatric medicine involve pneumonia, meningitis, brain damage to newborns, and appendicitis. 

According to Relias Media, quoting a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Medical Liability and Risk Management, 40 percent of claims brought against pediatricians are based upon allegations of diagnostic errors, representing the most common form of claim. The analysis further states that diagnostic error claims represent about half of all claims that result in payouts. In 2011, the average claim paid exceeded $630,000.00.

Obstetric injuries – many births occur without a hitch. However, the birthing process and a relatively short time thereafter can be fraught with complications. If the doctor makes an error, the results can be devastating to the child. Brain injuries, fractures, and brachial palsy are a few of the birth injuries that can occur. 

Providing Inadequate Care – in some instances, a doctor simply fails to treat the injury or condition of the patient properly.

Proving Pediatric Malpractice

Proving medical malpractice requires proof that the doctor involved failed to meet the applicable standard of care and caused harm to the patient. Once proven, the patient may be entitled to recover damages. 

Establishing the standard of care to which the doctor is held, and whether the standard has been breached, are complicated issues that mix law and medicine. Expert testimony is required and may ultimately require a jury to make the final determination. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield can help you with this issue.

Call with Questions

A child’s involvement in any personal injury case can be a frightening and distressing situation.. At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we are happy to answer all of your questions in a free consultation. Cases involving pediatric malpractice can be complicated, and you will assuredly need guidance. We are here to help, help you understand your case, and gather the right information. Contact us today.