According to Healthy Children, approximately 30 million children go to the emergency room for various illnesses, injuries, or other medical complaints annually. While emergency care is sometimes necessary, it can also be quite scary: Johns Hopkins estimates that 10% of all U.S. deaths are the result of medical errors and that 250,000 individuals die every year from preventable mistakes.
There are certain obstacles in place when it comes to treating children that are not typically present when treating adults. Babies and infants cannot communicate the physical sensations and pain levels they are experiencing. Even young children who speak can have difficulties clearly conveying what they are going through. As Healthy Children puts it, parents are the biggest support systems and lifelines for kids who are receiving emergency medical care. Not only do they know their children better than anyone else, but they can also be the best advocates for their children’s needs.
Researchers believe that medical mistakes happen even more frequently in emergency rooms because of how fast-paced and chaotic they can be. According to a study published in Contemporary Pediatrics, some of the most common causes of medical errors in pediatric emergency medicine and office practices are:
The culprits behind pediatric medical mistakes can lead to an array of different issues for children. Some of the errors lead to minor complaints, while others cause long-term problems and in the most tragic of cases, fatal complications. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 28,000 babies are born with birth injuries each year and that approximately one-half of them are the result of preventable medical mistakes. Common birth injuries from medical negligence include facial paralysis, clavicle and collarbone fractures, brachial plexus injuries (the brachial plexus is a nerve that controls hand and arm movement), caput succedaneum, or localized swelling that typically stems from the improper use of a vacuum extraction during birth, and cephalohematoma, which is a condition marked by cranial bleeding.
Birth injuries are by no means the only injuries that infants and young children sustain because of a medical provider’s failure to uphold a certain standard of care. Medical professionals cannot guarantee medical results, so even if something unexpected or unsuccessful happens it does not necessarily mean that any malpractice occurred. But when a child is injured as a direct result of a healthcare provider negligently performing or omitting something that is considered standard medical care, it is medical malpractice. If you believe your child was a victim of medical malpractice, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.
Galfand Berger LLP has offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.