Misdiagnosis of Diabetes in Infants and Children
NJ Lawyers Representing Victims of Misdiagnosed, Undiagnosed, and Mismanaged Child Diabetes
Diabetes is a widespread chronic illness among Americans. Diabetes affected 11.3% of the adult population in recent years and 35% of those under 20. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of the three main types of diabetes, type 1 affects children more often and is known as juvenile diabetes. The rarer of the two types of diabetes affecting infants and children, type 1 diabetes, occurs when the body’s immune system malfunctions and prevents insulin production. Type 2 diabetes is more about poor blood sugar regulation and predominantly affects adults, although children may also develop it. In fact, juvenile Type 2 diabetes has become increasingly common in recent years. The third type is gestational diabetes, which affects pregnant women. All three can be life-threatening if left untreated, but diabetes in infants and children is especially dangerous if misdiagnosed for another illness, left undiagnosed and untreated, or mismanaged.
The negligent diagnosis or treatment of Type 1 or 2 in a baby, toddler, or child at any age can lead to severe complications and even death. When such unconscionable acts of medical malpractice cause harm to your child, we encourage you to discuss your case with a knowledgeable pediatric malpractice attorney who can answer your legal questions, explain the process of filing a lawsuit to recover compensation from those responsible, and investigate your child’s diabetes case to determine whether you have a viable claim for damages. Call 866-708-8617 for further information and to speak to a skilled lawyer free of charge.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Children that Often Lead to Misdiagnosis
Since children get the flu and infections frequently, doctors sometimes miss the signs of juvenile diabetes, mistaking the disease with more common illnesses. Symptoms may appear like viruses such as mononucleosis, complicating the diagnostic process for doctors who may or may not recognize the signs. Children who are unusually thirsty and urinate frequently may be presenting with significant signs of the disease. Increased appetite, accompanied by weight loss, fatigue, irritability, and breath odor changes, are signs that should trigger a pediatrician’s suspicion about diabetes. Overlooking these symptoms or confusing them for another problem can be dangerous. For instance, a medical professional who confuses the onset of diabetic symptoms with stomach flu, urinary tract infections, viruses, or strep throat, risks the child’s well-being.
Misdiagnosis of type 1 diabetes will result in the wrong treatment. Since a child needs insulin injections to survive type 1, the treatment for infection, viruses, and strep throat may be antibiotics or antivirals, but certainly not insulin. Those medications not only do nothing to supply a child’s body with insulin but also prolong the disease’s damage to the body. And since type 1 diabetes can accelerate quickly and is more severe than type 2, a misdiagnosis of type 1 diabetes for type 2 can lead to a child’s death.
Undiagnosed and Untreated Juvenile Diabetes
The production of insulin is essential to integrating blood sugar into the body’s cells to use as energy. Without enough insulin, the blood sugar pools in the blood, resulting in high blood sugar, which can lead to bodily damage and life-threatening complications. Unregulated diabetes can damage feet, sight, and kidneys, among other problems. While diabetes treatment involves maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels with diet and medications, those who do not know they have it may not experience symptoms until more serious conditions develop. Worse yet, children and their parents may not know that the child has the condition for years until symptoms appear, which can happen quickly.
What Causes Type 1 Diabetes in a Child?
The cause is uncertain, although possibly genetic, and the cure is yet undiscovered.
How do Doctors Diagnose Pediatric Diabetes?
To confirm a diagnosis, a doctor must run a blood test looking for autoantibodies, indicating type 1 diabetes. In addition, a urine test reveals ketones, which are also a sign of diabetes.
Treatment of Infant and Child Diabetes
For children, treatment typically occurs at home with healthy meals, insulin, and blood sugar level tracking under the supervision of their doctor. After diagnosis, a primary care doctor may prescribe a method of insulin intakes, such as shots or pumps, and refer the patient to specialists to monitor food, teeth, and eye health. Regular blood sugar checks are critical to avoid complications, as are keeping active and eating a low cholesterol diet. Type 1 requires immediate insulin administration, while type 2 diabetes does not require emergency additions of insulin. The body can produce some, just not enough. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys cells that produce insulin. Thus, the body has none or very little insulin.
Complications if Childhood Diabetes is Misdiagnosed or Undiagnosed
When childhood diabetes is misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, untreated, or improper treatment is given, the consequences can be seriously damaging to a young person. Complications of type 1 diabetes include hypoglycemia, which comes from too much insulin, fasting, and under-eating or overdoing physical activity. Another complication is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is the opposite. Too little insulin due to getting sick or missed insulin doses can cause DKA, a potentially fatal condition. In addition, young, lean children who suffer infections and mental disorders are more likely to get DKA. Misdiagnosis, resulting in treatment delay of hypoglycemia, also increases the risk of DKA. In fact, DKA is the number one cause of type 1 diabetic death among children. And if they survive, they may have brain and neurological changes leading to more medical care and costs. Permanent damage to the brain may lead to cognitive disfunction that alters the trajectory of their life forever.
Quick and early diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is critical to achieve optimal outcomes with juvenile diabetes. The sooner the diagnosis, the less likely a child is to develop related conditions like hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis.
Untreated Diabetes Causing an Infant’s or Child’s Death
Importantly, in all cases of juvenile diabetes, a child’s life may depend on a pediatrician’s expertise. Thus, when a doctor fails to run the proper tests, neglects to verify the results of blood or urine tests, misdiagnoses a child’s diabetes, or delays treating it, a child’s life may hang in the balance. They could suffer complications that require emergency treatment instead of simply medicating and monitoring that juvenile diabetes requires. It may even cause their untimely demise.
Your Right to Obtain Compensation if Negligence with Pediatric Diabetes Harms Your Child
When a pediatrician fails your child, leaving them worse off than if they had seen a more competent pediatrician, they must pay for the consequences. The law holds negligent doctors liable for damages they cause when they do not practice medicine as they should. If your child suffered the effects of medical malpractice with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, it is crucial to seek the advice and counsel of a highly qualified pediatric malpractice attorney. Without the legal knowledge and practical experience with crafting and carrying out the process to obtain financial compensation on behalf of children and infants in malpractice lawsuits, you may not know what you must do to get your child the help they need to live their best life under their condition. Perhaps you may be seeking compensation for their life loss, an irreversible tragedy that need not go unaccounted for.
You and your family may have extensive medical bills that left you in debt, or mountains of unpaid bills for services that insurance does not cover or partially covers. Perhaps your child needs special treatments and therapies due to the complications of their mishandled diabetes, or suffers from the long-term effects of cognitive damage after worsening Type 1 diabetes caused catastrophic consequences. The compensation obtained through a medical malpractice lawsuit on your child’s behalf may help to cover the costs for organ damage, kidney transplants, and therapists to help your child recover or improve from brain or neurological conditions.
A medical malpractice compensatory award may also include your costs for caring for your child and the loss of income that you and your family experienced during and after their injuries. And in the event of your child’s tragic passing, a wrongful death claim can also cover funeral expenses, burial costs, and many of the other losses inflicted upon your family.
Seek Compassionate New Jersey Attorneys for Help with Your Child’s Diabetes Malpractice Case
Our team of pediatric malpractice attorneys cannot reverse the damage that a doctor caused for your child, but we can help you seek the resources for your child to better their condition and enjoy the best possible life. Contact 866-708-8617 for a free consultation with a New Jersey malpractice lawyer representing infants and children on a regular basis to discuss your legal options following pediatric diabetes misdiagnosis. Our lawyers can counsel you about how to recover the losses from your child’s juvenile diabetes malpractice case and offer some consolation to you and your family after medical errors cost you far too much.
You can also reach us online for trusted, compassionate, informed guidance. Our lawyers have vast experience representing babies and children injured by malpractice throughout New Jersey. With decades of experience, we also serve as legal resources for pediatric malpractice and birth injury cases nationwide.