Child Kidney Dysfunction Malpractice Attorneys in New Jersey
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common bacterial infections in children and infants. For preverbal children and infants, it may be difficult to diagnose, the only sign often being fever, which can be a symptom with many causes. While a simple urine test can find a urinary tract infection, it may not find more complex reasons for the infection, like kidney problems. Kidney infections, malformations, and disease may cause serious complications. The kidneys filter the body’s water and waste, regulate blood cell production and blood pressure, and maintain calcium and other minerals. So, when kidneys malfunction due to disease, dysfunction, or defect, the body is in trouble. The good news is, kidney problems can often be detected in the womb. In fact, standard prenatal care should involve testing for organ development, including the kidneys. If detected early, kidney defects can be surgically or pharmaceutically treated after the baby is born. The key is early detection.
Pediatricians or obstetricians who fail to diagnose or properly treat kidney defects in utero, at birth, or during childhood may negligently cause a child permanent damage, even a shortened lifespan. The costs of negligent oversight, failing to test, and incorrect treatment with the wrong medication can be devastating. If a physician’s negligence leads to harm for a child, undoubted economic losses for their family, and pain and suffering, they should be held accountable. Our experienced pediatric malpractice attorneys help parents whose children have been harmed by medical negligence with kidney issues throughout New Jersey, consulting on these cases nationwide. No one, least of all a child, should suffer kidney damage or medical complications due to inexcusable neglect on the part of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. If this happened to your loved one, call 866-708-8617 to discuss a potential claim for compensation. We offer free consultations to best serve you, and we encourage you to take advantage of yours today.
Symptoms of Kidney Problems in Babies and Children
A child born with damaged kidneys may have persistent urinary tract infections (UTIs), high blood pressure, or stunted growth. The whole body may be affected due to the kidney’s function since the kidneys eliminate water and waste through nephrons, or filtering units, but also recirculate minerals that the body needs into the circulatory system. The water is eliminated as urine through the bladder and out through the urethra. Kidneys are also responsible for hormone production essential for red blood cell production, blood pressure regulation, and Vitamin D-controlling calcium. As such, when the kidneys fail, wastes build up in the system. They may stop working as efficiently or stop working completely, which may happen suddenly or progressively over time.
Signs of kidney problems appear in various forms, such as:
- Swollen face and feet
- Burning with urination
- Frequent urination
- Urination accidents
- Bloody urine
- High blood pressure
- Slow growth
What Causes Kidney Failure and Malfunction in Newborns and Children
The causes of renal or kidney failure may be infection, trauma, heart failure, drug overdose, shock, or poison. When the kidneys lose functioning gradually, it may be due to one-time kidney failure, birth defects, disease, or persistent high blood pressure. Children with kidney disease are often born with defects. For example, a newborn boy may have a blocked urethra, the tubal opening from the bladder to the outer body. The condition, Posterior urethral valve obstruction, may be diagnosed in the womb or at birth, after which it can surgically repaired. Another defect in the developing fetus is fetal hydronephrosis, or enlarged kidney or kidneys due to an obstruction. Then there is vesicoureteral reflux, when urine flushes backward into the body instead of out. This condition may also be diagnosed before birth and is treated surgically if it does not resolve on its own or exist without causing problems.
Polycystic kidney disease is another cause of kidney malfunctioning. It is a genetic condition involving kidney cysts that multiply dramatically and may cause kidney failure. A child can live with the condition unnoticed, though some children frequently develop UTIs, kidney stones, and hypertension. Treatment is diet-based or in severe cases, dialysis or even kidney transplant. Dialysis technologically acts like kidneys by filtering the blood.
Other growth and development problems affecting the kidneys include the formation of double ureters. The ureter is the tube that leads into the bladder. A pair of ureters means twice as much risk of infection. Duplicate ureters may lead to UTIs, so must be fixed by surgery or managed with medication depending on the case. Yet another growth defect are blended kidneys that grow into a horseshoe shape. Two kidneys grown together may or may not cause problems later in adulthood, so the condition must be monitored. And all kidneys are affected by hypertension, kidney stones, UTI’s, and nephritis, which is an inflamed kidney caused by autoimmune disease or infection. The kidneys affect and are affected by all the other organs and systems.
How are Infant and Child Kidney Problems Diagnosed?
If caught early, certain types of kidney problems can be treated with medication, normalizing blood pressure, and diet. In extreme cases, a kidney transplant or dialysis may be necessary. Typically, the treatment plan is to slow down the deteriorating kidney function and address related issues. However, a medical professional must diagnose kidney dysfunction or defects first. While certain defects may be diagnosed in the womb, other types of kidney damage may not be detected until after birth.
A nephrologist, or kidney doctor, can diagnose kidney problems with urine, blood, and imaging tests. In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary. Excess red or white blood cells are indicated in urinalysis, showing inflammation or infection. And blood tests reveal defective kidney filtering by the imbalance of chemicals in the blood. A physician may order a biopsy to gauge kidney function and help diagnose nephritis and nephrosis. Biopsies involve taking a small piece of the kidney tissue for analysis. X-rays, ultrasounds, CAT scans and voiding cystourethrograms also aid in the diagnosis of renal disease. The tests must be ordered, however.
Medical Negligence with Childhood Kidney Conditions and Disease
If a medical professional diagnoses a UTI without further tests, the antibiotics prescribed to treat the infection, for example, may not treat the problem and may even worsen the issue. One type of medical malpractice occurs when a pediatrician fails to diagnose or properly treat a baby or child’s UTI. When a mother brings in her five-month baby with fever and vomiting, for example, the pediatrician may diagnose an infection. Fever and vomiting are common signs of infection. A pediatrician who prescribes an antibiotic without testing for the origin of the infection may cause repeat visits and eventual kidney damage if the origin of the infection is an untreated infection of the urinary tract. In addition, specific antibiotics treat specific infections. Not all UTI’s are alike as the bacteria that causes them are not uniform from person to person.
Prescribing the wrong antibiotic could also cause urinary tract or kidney damage when a UTI goes untreated for too long. More importantly, some bacteria are resistant to antibiotics and thus, must be treated with different medications. So, doctors who see children with several UTI’s within a year should run tests to discover the cause and refer the patient to a nephrologist if kidney problems are suspected. Otherwise, a child can end up with kidney problems for the rest of their lives or eventually require a transplant. They could even end up with renal failure. Failure to monitor a baby’s condition after being treated for a UTI is also substandard medical practice. It is not uncommon for an antimicrobial medication to partially defeat the infection, which, if left untreated too long, can lead to kidney scarring, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.
Failing to diagnose kidney disease or defects despite taking blood tests can also constitute malpractice if the doctor interprets the results based on adult criteria and not on children. This is all too common, often occurring when a doctor at an emergency room or walk-in clinic is not familiar with what to look for in a child’s tests if that is not their practice area. What may look normal for adult can be kidney disease for a child. Neglected kidney disease can end with kidney loss, transplant, or chronic illness. The child may also suffer seizures if the kidney disease is neglected too long.
Get in Touch with an NJ Attorney who can Help with Your Child’s Kidney Problem Lawsuit
Be sure to contact a seasoned pediatric malpractice attorney on our legal team if your child needlessly suffered kidney damage or worsening health due to undiagnosed or untreated kidney problems or renal failure. We will evaluate your baby’s case to ascertain if malpractice occurred and aggressively fight for compensation owed to help you and your child move forward after kidney issue-related negligence. It is our passion to achieve the highest possible damages to get future medical treatment covered for your child and compensate your family for unwarranted suffering. Contact 866-708-8617 for further information about your legal rights in a free consultation.