How Misdiagnosis Can Have Dire Consequences for Children

Posted on February 23, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group


Misdiagnosis has become a common occurrence in the health industry, and it is an inexcusable tragedy when it happens to our children. According to estimates by the National Center For Policy Analysis, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of all cases are misdiagnosed, and 28 percent of those cases were life-threatening or resulted in permanent disability. Another study done by John Hopkins University found that 40,500 patients die every year from misdiagnosis.

Bacterial meningitis can be among the most costly misdiagnosis cases because they either result in the death of a patient, or lead to extreme disability in the form of amputation and severe brain damage.

Misdiagnosis Can Lead to a Delayed Treatment and Death

In 2013, a North Carolina woman lost her son to bacterial meningitis after doctors misdiagnosed him with a sinus infection.

Nurses at the hospital dismissed the mother and her son, claiming that they thought he had sinusitis and not meningitis, and sent them home with Tylenol. Hours later, the boy was in a coma and later pronounced dead. An ER doctor ordered a spinal tap and revealed he had bacterial meningitis. The family was later told that they were “twelve hours too late” to save their son.

What Can Happen To Patients Who Survive A Misdiagnosis?

In the case of bacterial meningitis, survivors who are delayed proper treatment can suffer from permanent brain damage and loss of limbs. In the United Kingdom, a case of bacterial meningitis was misdiagnosed in a young teenager, and as a result, she had to have both of her legs amputated below the knee.

For any health care worker, time is of the essence, and any delay due to a misdiagnosis can mean life and death for many illnesses.

Shapiro Law Group – Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving the Tampa Bay Area

Did You Know? Up to 20 percent of cases are misdiagnosed, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis.


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