Child Allergic Reaction Lawyers Representing Victims across New Jersey
Allergies are not uncommon, as many people young and old experience seasonal allergies, hay fever, and food allergies. Most live with them without life-threatening episodes, perhaps with annoying sniffles, watery eyes, or itchy rashes–unless they experience anaphylaxis. A severe allergic reaction to an allergen, like bee stings, medications, or certain foods, can quickly cause a person to go into shock and potentially even die. Allergic reactions work like this: an overactive immune system response produces histamines that cause the symptoms when the antibodies to ward off foreign, harmful invaders in the system, like bacteria and viruses, are overproduced in an exaggerated defensive response to protect the body against typically harmless food and medicine.
Generally, an adult or child going through anaphylactic shock cannot breathe or swallow, as their throat constricts. Some children experience wheezing, coughing, nausea, vomiting and rashes. The majority will have racing hearts and weak pulses, indicating that their bodies are going into shock. The episode may include hives, facial swelling, raspy throat, diarrhea, dizziness, low blood pressure, and fainting. Infants may act fussy, uncontrollably cry, drool, or become suddenly sleepy. When any of these possibly dangerous signs and symptoms arise, it is incumbent upon doctors and other medical professionals to diagnose the allergic reaction, initiate immediate treatment, and monitor the child to prevent further complications. Mere minutes in a case of anaphylaxis can cost a child their life. For this very reason, delayed diagnosis and lack of treatment for allergic reactions affecting children may form the basis of a medical malpractice claim.
If your son or daughter suffered injuries from an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis and you believe that a doctor or hospital was negligent, we can assist you. Our attorneys help infants and children who become victims of medical negligence throughout New Jersey, successfully securing maximum compensation through related lawsuits. For more information and a free consultation, contact us at 866-708-8617 today.
What Causes Allergic Reactions in Children
Children are most commonly allergic to ordinary foods, like peanuts, fish, eggs, milk, shellfish, and tree nuts. Less commonly, antibiotics such as penicillin, and other over-the-counter medications, like aspirin or ibuprofen, or prescription anti-seizure medication can trigger an episode. Bee, wasps, yellow jackets, and fire ant stings or latex also cause allergic reactions, as well as eating certain foods before exercise.
Children with severe allergic reactions must be carefully guarded from the source of their allergies if they even potentially suffer anaphylaxis, as allergic reactions can happen any time and at any age. Allergens that trigger reactions may be ingested or inhaled, so parents must follow a strict plan designed by their doctor to secure their home, school, and social environments. Others regularly in contact with an afflicted child must be alerted to a child’s food, insect venom, medication or other allergies that endanger the child’s health. Children with allergies must be taught to question what they are eating, and parents must be careful examiners of food ingredients. The consequences of an unknown and serious allergy can be life-altering, since anaphylaxis requires emergency treatment, often in a hospital.
Diagnosing Allergies and Pediatric Allergy Testing
Allergy testing to find the source of a child’s allergies may identify the allergens that cause an allergic reaction. These tests are conducted by specialists, known as immunologists, who review the patient’s risk factors, including previous allergic reactions, allergies, asthma, family history, and certain health conditions, like heart disease and abnormal white blood cells. An allergist or immunologist can administer tests, such as the skin prick test, oral food intake tests and blood tests, to find a child’s triggers. Upon identification of the allergen, they may attempt to desensitize the child to what the child may need, introducing medications gradually to control the reactions or immunotherapy for insect venom allergies, which is similar to desensitization.
A specialist should inquire about the child’s family history, history of allergies, asthma, and allergic reactions. They should also be alert to the fact that sometimes, children have other medical conditions that simply manifest like allergic reactions. A pediatrician may refer a child who has had anaphylaxis or is a potential candidate for the condition, to an allergy specialist to diagnose, test, and manage the child’s allergies with a plan for what to do if exposed to the trigger and how to live avoiding the dangers of anaphylaxis.
Treating a Child with Anaphylaxis
Epinephrine injections stop the symptoms of anaphylaxis and must be administered quickly at the emergency room or with an auto-injector of epinephrine on hand, plus a follow up at the emergency room. A second reaction can occur soon after the first, which is called biphasic anaphylaxis. After an episode is over, it is crucial to keep the allergen away from the child, as a second exposure can bring about an even worse reaction. If the allergen has yet to be identified, doctors and medical professionals must initiate the diagnostic process in a timely manner, as recognizing the source is the first step toward prevention.
Medical Negligence can Result in Anaphylaxis for a Child
Sometimes, a pediatrician may be responsible for a child’s anaphylaxis by prescribing medication that causes it. While allergies, and especially the severity of an allergic reaction, cannot be predicted in young children, there are risk factors that pediatricians must be alerted to before prescribing one medication over another. Childhood illnesses are often treated with antibiotics, for example, simple ear infections or other common conditions. If a prescribing physician knows that a penicillin allergy runs in the family, alternative medications that cure the infection are logically safer choices. However, overprescribing alternative antibiotics to avoid an assumed but untested penicillin allergy can lead to antibiotic resistance, which poses other healthcare risks. As such, uncertain pediatricians should refer patients to specialists to identify allergies, inform parents about possible negative signs of an allergic reaction, and remain acutely aware of a child’s response to any medication prescribed.
Misdiagnosis is another risk for allergic children, occurring when a pediatrician mistakes an allergic reaction for a virus or another illness. In addition, delaying the administration of epinephrine can quickly lead to severe complications and even prove fatal. Failure to provide comprehensive follow-up instructions also places children at risk of extreme harm. If your child suffered anaphylaxis due to your doctor’s negligent diagnosis, oversight, medication prescription error, failure to refer your child to the right specialist, or delayed treatment, it is very possible that they may be held liable for negligence. Diagnosing, prescribing, and treatment mistakes that ultimately cause or fail to address and alleviate anaphylaxis have the potential to result in severe complications and even permanent medical afflictions. In fact, medical errors involving anaphylaxis have been noted to cause permanent brain damage, cardiac arrest, life-long damage to the heart, extended treatment in intensive care units, and death. If this happened to your child, it is highly advisable to explore your potential entitlement to compensation.
Consult NJ Attorneys for Your Pediatric Anaphylaxis Case
When children experience injuries from anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, doctors, hospitals, medical staff, urgent care facilities, and other links in the healthcare chain may be responsible. To further investigate the sequence of events in your child’s case, call an experienced NJ pediatric anaphylaxis attorney on our team who can evaluate your case, work with leading medical experts, and file a lawsuit on your child’s behalf. You and your child should not have to suffer the pain and economic losses due to an avoidable, yet serious, mistake. Our lawyers concentrate on medical and pediatric malpractice litigation in New Jersey, consulting on these cases nationwide. We invite you to call 866-708-8617 now for a free consultation.