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An Overview of Pediatric Malpractice

August 27, 2021

An Overview of Pediatric Malpractice

Pediatrics refers to the field of medicine focused on the treatment of children. Pediatric medicine can come with its own unique challenges in treating patients, especially infants and young children who cannot describe their symptoms or subjective complaints. As a result, there is always the potential for committing errors in treating children. In some cases, these errors may rise to the level of pediatric malpractice. Unfortunately, malpractice in treating a child can have long-term devastating effects.

Rates of Pediatric Malpractice

Compared to other medical specialties, the risk of malpractice occurring in pediatric care may be much lower than other specialties. One study found that pediatricians were sued at a rate of about three percent, compared with a rate of 7.5 percent for all physicians, ranking pediatrics 25th out of 26 specialties. However, the same study found that the average payment on pediatric malpractice claims was nearly twice as high as the average payment for all medical specialties combined.

Another study looked at the rates of pediatric malpractice claims based on patient age and found that nearly half of all pediatric malpractice claims involved a patient less than one month of age. About another quarter of claims involved children between the ages of one and 12 months, while the remaining quarter of claims involved children older than one year. 

Most Common Pediatric Malpractice Claims

Pediatric malpractice claims are more likely to be brought when negligent care results in serious harm to a child. Some of the most common injuries that give rise to pediatric malpractice claims include:

  • Brain injury
  • Meningitis
  • Birth injury
  • Respiratory conditions in newborns
  • Premature birth
  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Birth defects
  • Appendicitis
  • Failure-to-diagnose/misdiagnosis during routine check-ups

Why Are Financial Recoveries in Pediatric Malpractice Claims So High?

Even though the frequency of pediatric malpractice claims is lower than the rate for the medical profession as a whole, when claims are brought, they tend to result in much larger compensation figures. Financial recovery in pediatric malpractice claims is often higher than the average for a couple of reasons, including:

  • If a child suffers a permanent disabling injury, they may require round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives, which can last for several decades
  • Many pediatric malpractice claims involve injuries or damage that occurs during pregnancy or shortly after a child’s birth, which can have an outsized impact on a child’s developmental ability. Children who experience developmental delays due to pediatric malpractice may require care that goes beyond medical treatment, such as behavioral therapy or special education services to help the affected child reach their maximum potential.
  • Pediatric malpractice cases often involve a sympathy factor, as severe injury inflicted upon a child or death of a child is seen by most as a catastrophic event. As a result, if a pediatric malpractice case goes to trial, a jury may be likely to empathize with a child and their family and may want to award greater financial compensation in an effort to try to make the child and family whole or provide them with some measure of justice.

Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Pediatric Malpractice Case in Pennsylvania

Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh pediatric malpractice attorneys at Matzus Law LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Butler, Cranberry Township, Greensburg, and Washington. Call us today at (412) 206-5300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant St., Suite 3210, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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