According to the latest findings, children suffering from chronic illnesses, such as asthma, epilepsy, diabetes or cancer, may be more susceptible to a high risk of medical errors or medical malpractice, even if the patient is under the supervision of a doctor. Statistics show that 44 percent of all children admitted to the hospital suffer from chronic illness. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics states that those patients are more prone to being the object of pediatric medical malpractice during their treatment compared with other pediatric patients who do not suffer from a chronic illness.
Among the total number of children who were hospitalized with no chronic illness, 1.3 percent of children were affected by a medical error and in the case of children with a chronic illness; the number was approximately five percent.
A bad reaction to medication, an infection immediately after surgery and bedsores are some common examples of the kinds of avoidable issues that may fall under the category of medical malpractice. As stated by the researchers, everyone needs to be knowledgeable about the high risk involved when children suffer from chronic health problems. The level of risk grows with the number of conditions from which a child suffers. Among children with one chronic illness, the risk of medical mistakes was around three percent, while for those with two chronic illnesses; the rate was close to seven percent.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has been providing funds for projects to improve the safety of hospital patients, such as avoiding infections, which is the most common issue that result from hospital stays throughout the United States. AHRQ also suggests that hospital patients, or parents of the patients, should help themselves by inquiring about treatment standards of care as they relate to the young patient.
If a child suffering from a chronic illness has been a victim of medical malpractice, parents can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital or the doctor in charge of the child's treatment to pursue financial compensation for the child's illness, medical costs, suffering and pain and other damages. If you have questions about pediatric malpractice, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your options.
Source: Reuters, "More hospital errors when kids have chronic ills," Amy Norton, Sept. 11, 2012