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Understanding misdiagnosis and pediatric malpractice

A report from the Institute of Medicine reported that most, if not all, individuals living in the United States will experience a misdiagnosis within their lifetime. Unfortunately, this misdiagnosis can occur as early as birth.

As a parent, it is your job to secure your child's wellbeing. If you suspect a physician's misdiagnosis is the cause of medical issues for your son or daughter, you should understand a few things.

How it happens

Though physicians undergo years of training, there are still some issues they may not be fully familiar with. Also, in many cases, the diagnosis process begins with the patient or a parent informing the physician of any issues. At the infant stage, a physician depends greatly upon the parent's report. Therefore, if there is an issue the parent is not aware of, such as an internal medical issue with minimal to no external indicators, a parent will not know to inform a physician. In instances where there are physical indicators, those indicators may have several possible causes, especially within a child's developing body. Though it may not be easy for a physician to identify the problem to make a proper diagnosis, there are constantly new developments within the medical field. It is a physician's responsibility to stay current on these developments and keep his or her skills sharp. 

Prove it

The proving process for the misdiagnosis of a child must follow the same protocol as that of any other medical malpractice claim. The claimant must prove the physician's actions were negligent by showing how such actions veered away from proper protocol or the actions another prudent physician would take in the same position. This is not always easy to prove, as there is a thin line between actual medical malpractice and unavoidable medical conditions. Therefore, proper evidence is key.

Though the process can be stringent, in the case of true malpractice, it is worth it. Take some time to determine if your situation qualifies as a malpractice case and the best way to move forward.

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