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What’s the top cause of malpractice involving kids? Misdiagnosis

When you have a sick child — or a child that is showing unusual symptoms that are worrying you and keeping you up at night — you rely on your child’s doctor to give you an accurate diagnosis.

Well, you might want to get a second opinion if you have any doubts about that diagnosis or the treatment your child’s doctor ordered doesn’t seem to be working.

A study performed by The Doctors Company, which is the largest physician-owned malpractice insurance company in the United States, indicates that a wrong or missed diagnosis is the No. 1 reason behind malpractice claims involving children.

Why are wrong diagnoses and missed diagnoses so common with children? The Doctors Group says it’s largely the fault of the physicians involved — due to medical assessments that aren’t sufficient. Poor communication between doctors and patients (or the patients’ parents, depending on the age group involved) was a factor in up to 22 percent of claims. Other problems that led to lawsuits involved system failures — such as when doctors were never notified of significant test results and, as a result, a patient was injured.

Brain injuries are the most common type of malpractice complaint involving children, according to the study. In addition, the younger the patient, the more severe the malpractice results tend to be.

As a whole, the study indicates that doctors need to do more to improve the way that they handle their young patients — whether they are examining a newborn infant or a teenager. The need to communicate better with the parents of their young patients was also stressed — especially when it comes to when to come back for additional care or signs of problems with a treatment.

If your child suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, you may have a right to take legal action. The money you receive can go a long way toward giving your child a better future, despite his or her condition.