Published on:

Pediatric Medical Malpractice – Failure to Diagnose Appendicitis

A Minnesota jury has awarded more than $1.25 million to the family of a 21 month old boy who died due to an infected (gangrenous) appendix that a doctor failed to diagnose and treat. The family claimed that the boy was misdiagnosed on two separate occasions over four days, including the day before he died.

The family alleged that when the doctor examined the boy’s abdomen, the boy cried louder than ever, but the doctor told the boy’s father that the boy’s appendix was fine. Thus, the doctor did not order an ultrasound or CT scan which would have diagnosed the problem. The doctor then diagnosed gastroenteritis. Evidence presented at trial established that the doctor scheduled pediatric patients in 10-minute increments. Thus, the family claimed that he was too busy to give each patient the attention they needed and deserved.

The doctor’s diagnosis of influenza was made over the phone and the family was discouraged from bringing the child into the clinic to be seen. That day, the doctor’s appointment schedule showed that 45 children were scheduled to be seen, and that the doctor was behind schedule. A copy of the article regarding the case can be found here.

As an experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice lawyer, I have successfully handled a number of medical malpractice cases involving children (pediatrics) who have been injured or killed Most of these involve the failure to timely diagnose and treat certain medical conditions that can be fatal, such as bacterial infections and genetic conditions. These cases are always gut-wrenching because of the innocence of children and the parents’ desire to trust what the doctor says.

I also have successfully handled appendix cases. These have all been failure to diagnose and treat inflamed or ruptured appendixes, usually causing severe injury or death. Sadly, a simple and relatively inexpensive CT scan usually will diagnose an inflamed or ruptured infection. Sometimes these CT scans are not read properly, which is even worse because it sends the treating doctors on a wild goose chase looking for other causes of the patient’s symptoms. To see some of the cases I have handled, click here.