For parents in New Jersey, an emergency medical problem involving a child can be frightening. When a doctor makes things worse by failing to diagnose the issue properly, the situation can become a nightmare. According to a recent study by The Doctors Company, misdiagnosis is the most common cause of medical malpractice claims that involve children.
What is misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis is medical negligence that involves a doctor’s failure to correctly diagnose a patient’s medical problem. The doctor may fail to diagnose a patient altogether, or the doctor may incorrectly diagnose a patient with a condition that they do not have. In other cases, a doctor may correctly diagnose a patient after it’s too late to provide life-saving treatment.
How to avoid the problem
Inadequate communication often causes misdiagnosis involving children. When a patient is very young, it’s important for the doctor to have skills in extracting information about the patient’s symptoms from the child and the child’s family. The doctor must also be able to communicate clearly with the family about telltale symptoms that should prompt them to seek immediate medical care for their child.
What do the numbers show?
According to the medical malpractice study, obstetrics was the physician specialty named most frequently in claims. Since obstetrics is the branch of medicine that involves childbirth, we can assume these claims involved newborns. The study also showed that the highest mean and median indemnity payments were made for claims involving neonatal patients less than 1 month old. Brain injury was the most common type of injury in all of the claims, and it accounted for almost half of the neonatal claims.
When do patients file a claim?
According to the study, patients filed medical malpractice claims no later than three years after the injury in 76% of the cases. Waiting many years before filing a claim can pose challenges when it comes to documenting an event, though it may still be possible to reach a settlement. If you suspect that medical malpractice injured your child, it is never too early to begin speaking to a lawyer.