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Failure to diagnose child’s heart condition leads to brain injury

Individuals tend to visit the doctor or a hospital when they feel ill or are experiencing worrisome symptoms. Even in cases where an individual is coherent and competent, explaining exactly what’s wrong to a nurse or doctor can sometimes be difficult. Those individuals who are not able to express their concerns or discomfort must rely solely upon the diagnostic skills of doctors. This is especially true in cases involving infants and small children.

The parents of a child who was born with a heart condition were recently awarded a $7 million dollar settlement related to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Court documents show the lawsuit accused the hospital and doctor who treated the infant of medical negligence in failing to diagnose the baby’s heart condition.

According to the lawsuit, in 2008, the baby girl was born with a heart condition known as coarctation of the aorta. As with many conditions impacting infants and young children; early detection, diagnosis and treatment were critical to ensuring the baby’s condition did not result in an emergency medical event and permanent injury or death.

During two separate doctor appointments, readings of the infant’s vital signs showed a higher than normal heart rate. Despite this, however, the baby’s doctor did not order tests or refer the child to a cardiologist. Subsequently upon noticing that the baby was having trouble breathing, the child’s mother called paramedics. While en route to the hospital, the baby lost consciousness and had to be revived. As a result, she suffered permanent brain damage.

The parents of the girl, who is now five-years-old, recently won a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and doctor who they claimed where negligent in failing to help diagnose their daughter’s condition.

Source: Cumberland Times-News, “Jury renders multi-million verdict in malpractice lawsuit,” Matthew Bieniek, Oct. 25, 2013


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