A New York jury in a medical malpractice recently found that a pediatric endocrinologist was guilty of medical negligence that caused the wrongful death of a six-year-old girl, and awarded the mother an $8 million verdict. Sadly, the girl died shortly after a non-board certified pediatric endocrinologist misdiagnosed her diabetes.
This defendant doctor was recommended by the girl’s pediatrician, who thought she may have had diabetes. After administering a blood test, the specialist jumped to the conclusion that the girl had pre-Type 2 diabetes; she prescribed a regimen of weight loss and exercise. Following this initial misdiagnosis, the specialist failed to order a blood test at a second visit, and the girl became gravely ill about a month later. When the girl’s blood sugar eventually was tested at the ER, it was found to be five times higher than the normal limits. Unfortunately, all she really needed was insulin, but because her doctor misdiagnosed her with Type 2 diabetes, instead of Type 1 diabetes, she ended up not getting the insulin she needed and died. A copy of the article regarding the case can be found here .
At trial, doctors said there were other signs that the girl had Type 1 diabetes and asserted that the doctor’s negligence in failing to administer the girl insulin caused the girl’s wrongful death. One diabetes expert testified that when a six-year-old has diabetes, there is a 99.99 percent chance it is Type 1. This is crucial, as Type 1 require insulin; Type 2 normally can be treated with diet and exercise.
In the medical malpractice suit that stemmed from the six-year-old’s death, her pediatric endocrinologist was found 100 percent liable for her negligence. Jurors awarded the patient’s mother $100,000 for economic loss, $400,000 for her daughter’s pain and suffering, plus $7.5 million in punitive damages for the physician’s medical malpractice.
In the face of substantial evidence indicating Type 1 diabetes, this pediatric endocrinologist engaged in medical malpractice by making a tragic misdiagnosis that the little girl suffered from Type 2 diabetes. Sadly, such misdiagnoses can lead to the administering of improper treatments or even death.
Over the years, we have handled a number of cases involving misdiagnosis involving children. These cases are always tragic because the injuries usually are preventable. These days, too many doctors are so busy that they don’t have enough time to properly care for patients.