Potential Medical Malpractice Liability in Death of Child

Ocala News reported this week on steps being taken by a family to file a medical malpractice lawsuit following the tragic death of their nine-month-old child in 2010. The underlying allegations involve the failure of an attending physician to order appropriate tests, diagnosis errors, inappropriate treatment plans, and a failure to refer the family to a specialist. Each Illinois medical malpractice lawyer at our firm knows that diagnosis errors are particularly lethal, as failure to provide treatment in a timely manner is often the difference between life and death.

The Med Mal Case
According to the story the young child suffered from Kawasaki Disease. It is an autoimmune disease that can lead to various problems. For this child, it cause coronary arteritis–the inflammation of the heart artery walls. If appropriate care had been provided, the complaint filed with the state’s Department of Health alleges, then the child might have survived.

The infant’s mother first brought him to the local emergency room in the summer of 2010 after noticing a rash on the baby and that he was suffering a fever. The first doctor that the family saw diagnosed the child with viral exanthema, fever, and rash. He prescribed pain medication an an anti-inflammatory medication.

The next day things had gotten worse. The baby’s rash was still there, fever was persistent, his eyes were irritated, and his appetite had gone. The second emergency room doctor diagnoses the child with measles, thrush, and pediatric viral syndrome. Unfortunately, that diagnosis and treatment would also prove ineffective.

A few days later the child again returned to the emergency room. On top of the original problems the baby had swelling below his knees and on his hands. The emergency room doctor diagnosed pneumonia, fever, and rash–various fluids, steroids, and medications were prescribed. In addition, the child was admitted to the hospital
Yet, only a few days later the child’s attending physician thought that the child was fine and sent him home. Oral steroids and antibiotics were prescribed. Only four days later the child was dead as a result of the untreated disease.

Medical malpractice lawyers appreciate that few tragedies are as stark as those involving the death of a child as a result of inadequate medical care.

Diagnosis Errors
Unfortunately, errors in diagnosis (and subsequent treatment) are far more common than most community members expect. Obviously identifying an underlying medical problems is one of the most fundamental roles of a medical provider. Everything stems from that diagnosis. There are certain situations where doctors do everything they could reasonably do without a proper diagnosis. But on many occasions the missed (or delayed) diagnosis is caused by basic lapses in protocols on the part of the caregivers. Some of the most common problems include failure to order tests appropriately, reading those tests incorrectly, or missing symptoms which would yield a certain diagnosis.

If you suspect that you or a loved one might have been hurt by a diagnosis error, contact an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer at our firm.

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