Parents are careful about the people that they allow access to their children, including doctors, nurses, counselors and other health care providers. When a health care provider’s mistake causes injury to a child patient, the child’s parents may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the health care provider.
If you believe that your child was injured because of a pediatrician’s or other health care provider’s mistake, it is important to seek legal guidance. The Harrisburg medical malpractice attorneys at Schmidt Kramer can review the circumstances of your child’s claim and explain the legal options that are available to you.
Call (717) 888-8888 to talk to a member of our skilled legal team.
Types of Pediatric Malpractice
A child’s doctor or other health care provider can be sued for negligent care just like an adult’s doctor can. Common types of pediatric malpractice include:
Doctors often misdiagnose a child's illness, which means they diagnose the child with the wrong illness or fail to diagnose the child at all. Two commonly misdiagnosed illnesses in children include meningitis and appendicitis.
Meningitis is an infection in the central nervous system that can be easily spread through the air when someone sneezes or coughs. The three types of meningitis are bacterial, viral and fungal.
Unfortunately, infants and children can develop symptoms of meningitis and a pediatrician could fail to identify them. If this happens, the child's health could deteriorate quickly and the effects can become irreversible.
Another commonly misdiagnosed condition is appendicitis. Health care providers may read the symptoms as a urinary tract infection or pelvic inflammatory disease. When the condition is not properly diagnosed, the child’s health can progress to a stage that makes it difficult or impossible to reverse, and it can cause death.
This condition has previously only been treated by removing the appendix, but recent medical studies are showing promise in treating this condition with antibiotics in young children.
Health care providers may make fundamental mistakes regarding medication prescribed to the child patient, such as:
- Ordering the incorrect medication
- Giving the wrong dosage
- Improperly dispensing medication
- Failing to check for harmful interactions with other drugs the child is taking
Counselors may provide critical services to children dealing with trauma or mental health problems. However, they may make mistakes that have a significant negative effect on children.
Counselors may prescribe inappropriate drugs, make medication errors, fail to disclose information that would protect the child, or fail to alert authorities about someone who is abusing the child or committing other acts or inactions that cause injury to a child.
How to Prove Malpractice
Health care professionals are required to have a minimal amount of medical skill and to use these skills to help their patients. If the professional’s level of care falls below the accepted standard and the child patient is injured as a result, the child or his or her parents may be able to pursue a claim on the basis of medical malpractice.
Then you must be able to show that the treatment your child received did not meet the accepted medical standard for the situation. Using the child’s medical records, you must be able to link the doctor's negligence to an injury your child suffered.
You may be able to pursue a claim based on damages for the following:
- Medical bills
- Prescription costs
- Costs for long-term care
- Loss of future income
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Statute of Limitations for Child Medical Malpractice
The statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a lawsuit. If the deadline passes, you lose the right to file a lawsuit. Pennsylvania's statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from the date of the injury.
However, there is a different statute of limitations for children who are victims of medical malpractice. Under Pennsylvania law, minors who are victims of malpractice must file a lawsuit within seven years of their injury or two years of their 18th birthday, whichever date is later.
There are a few exceptions, including if a foreign object is left in a patient from surgery. Your attorney at Schmidt Kramer can evaluate your child's situation and determine whether it would be in your child's best interest to file a malpractice claim.
Contact a Lawyer for Help
If you believe that your child was injured by a negligent health care provider, contact the experienced Harrisburg personal injury attorneys at Schmidt Kramer for assistance. We can explain the proof necessary to establish this type of claim. We can also discuss your legal options during a free, no-obligation consultation.