Meningitis is one of the most common issues in pediatric malpractice. The most common cause of litigation in meningitis cases is delay in diagnosis. The progression of symptoms is rapid, and usually the time between the initial examination by a provider and a confirmation of diagnosis can be up to twenty-four hours. By this time, significant progression of the infection may occur, resulting in prolonged hospital stay, septicemia, and even death.
Appendicitis is another area in which there is often a delay in diagnosis. Many times children present with atypical symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, and complain of little to no right lower quadrant pain. Some patients are seen twice before the correct diagnosis is made.
Medication errors, specifically allergy and respiratory medications and anticonvulsant drugs are commonly named in pediatric malpractice cases.
Emergency medicine in pediatrics is a common source of errors resulting in malpractice action. Failure to diagnose meningitis, delayed diagnosis of a neurological impairment in a newborn, and pneumonia in children less than two years of age, are often result in malpractice claims against pediatric emergency medicine providers. Cases in which death occurs are often related to meningitis and pneumonia that go undiagnosed.
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