When you hear people talk about doctors giving the wrong diagnosis, it is often regarding adults. For instance, a doctor failed to diagnose someone’s cancer or heart condition. Yet, doctors can get it wrong with someone of any age, and if the misdiagnosis causes harm, the patient or their family may need to bring a medical malpractice claim.
A recent report found that the second most frequent reason for medical malpractice claims involving babies under one month of age was due to “A missed, failed or wrong diagnosis.” It was the leading reason for children aged one month or over.
Why do these medical mistakes happen?
Doctors make diagnosis mistakes for many reasons. If you are an adult, who can speak to the doctor, you can help them get closer to the correct diagnosis by talking and giving more information. The younger someone is, the less capable they are of doing that. Babies can only respond to a doctor’s questions with smiles, gurgles, cries or tears.
There is no doubt that getting the correct diagnosis can be challenging with children, yet that what’s doctors are paid for. Often, doctors make diagnosis mistakes with children for the same reason they do with adults. These could include:
- Not asking the right questions
- Not reviewing previous reports adequately
- Deciding on an answer and not looking further
- Focusing on proving a theory correct, rather than questioning why it might be wrong
- Not allowing sufficient consultation time
- Dismissing what family members say because they are not medically trained
If your child has suffered harm due to a doctors’ diagnosis errors, you may need to find out more about bringing a medical malpractice claim. Errors can be costly and damaging, and while mistakes can happen, many should not.