As child-care specialists, pediatricians are expected to provide your child with prompt, correct, effective medical care. As is true of any doctor, however, a pediatrician can make negligent errors or decisions that may result in serious injury to your child.
If your child has suffered an injury because of a pediatrician’s malpractice, pediatric malpractice lawyer Jeff Killino can help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled for your child’s injuries. For a free evaluation of your legal options, contact attorney Killino at 877-875-2927 to schedule an appointment.
Types of Pediatric Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a pediatrician fails to provide a reasonable standard of care to your child. If your pediatrician failed to properly diagnose your child’s illness, for example, and the failure was a result of the pediatrician’s negligence, the pediatrician may be liable for the injuries sustained by your child as a result of the misdiagnosis. Instances of pediatric malpractice may result from
- Delayed Diagnosis
- Prescription Error
- Treatment Errors
- Failure to warn of known risks of treatment
Consequences of Pediatric Malpractice
Because children are generally more fragile and vulnerable than adults, pediatricians carry a heavy weight of responsibility. The consequences of a careless mistake or lack of attention can be severe or even fatal. If your child has suffered from any of the following due to pediatric malpractice, you may be entitled to damages in compensation:
- Undiagnosed meningitis
- Misdiagnosed appendicitis
- Misdiagnosed pneumonia
- Allergic reaction to medication
Legal Liability for Pediatric Malpractice
Medical-malpractice law involves actions for malpractice of general practitioners as well as medical specialists, such as pediatricians. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one in three pediatricians are sued for medical malpractice at least once during their medical careers.
Medical-malpractice actions, including those brought against pediatricians, generally allege that the negligent care of the defendant doctor or other health-care provider was a cause of injuries sustained by a child who was under the medical professional’s care. Though medical malpractice laws vary from state to state, all medical malpractice actions require proof of certain elements.
- Duty of Care
As is true with respect to the duty of care owed by any doctor to a patient, a pediatrician’s duty of care arises as a result of a doctor-patient relationship that has been formed between the patient and the pediatrician. Once the relationship has been formed, a pediatrician owes his or her patients the duty to provide the level of care that is considered reasonable and adequate for a pediatrician to provide. Expert testimony may be required to establish the duty of care owed by a pediatrician to his or her patients.
- Breach of a Pediatrician’s Duty of Care
Medical negligence occurs when a pediatrician breaches the duty of care owed to a patient. If the pediatrician exercised reasonable and competent care, as such care is defined for purposes of pediatrician medical malpractice liability, the pediatrician will not be found liable for injuries sustained by the plaintiff while under the pediatrician’s care.
A breach of a pediatrician’s duty of care that may lead to liability in an action for medical malpractice may occur, for example, if a pediatrician fails to order the tests a reasonably prudent pediatrician would have ordered under the same or similar circumstances, and the failure to order such tests is found to have been a cause of the child’s injuries.
- Injuries and Causation
The breach of a pediatrician’s duty of care toward a plaintiff child is not sufficient to impose liability on the defendant physician. The plaintiff must also establish that the plaintiff suffered injuries and that the breach of duty was a cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must prove this as well as other elements of a medical malpractice claim by a preponderance of the evidence, which requires a showing that it is more likely than not that the pediatrician’s less than adequate care was a cause of the injuries sustained by the child plaintiff. Such proof may also require expert testimony related to the particular injuries sustained, the possible causes of such injuries, and the likelihood that the injuries sustained by the particular patient were caused by the doctor’s breach of the duty of care owed by pediatricians to their patients.
The plaintiff in a medical malpractice action will also be required to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the plaintiff suffered legally compensable damages as a result of his or her injuries. Such damages may include such items as past and future medical expenses, costs of rehabilitation and therapy, pain and suffering, and loss or diminution of a child’s learning potential.
Vicarious Liability for Medical Malpractice
A hospital may be held vicariously liable in medical malpractice actions for the negligence of pediatricians who are employed by the hospital, if the pediatrician’s negligence is found to have been a cause of a child’s injuries. Sometimes, physicians themselves are employers of a pediatrician whose medical malpractice results in a child’s injuries. In such cases, the employer physician may be held liable under a vicarious liability theory while the pediatrician whose negligent care resulted in the injury is held liable under a direct negligence theory.
If your child has suffered an illness, infection, or injury due to medical error, contact nationally-recognized pediatric malpractice lawyer Jeff Killino at 877-875-2927 for compassionate and experienced assistance with your case.