Flu Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose or Treat Pediatric Influenza
Lawyers Representing Children Injured by Flu Malpractice in New Jersey
No doubt, everyone has heard of the flu. It is that achy, runny nose, and fever illness that can range from irritating to devastating in individuals young and old. Like older adults, however, children can become seriously ill with influenza, especially if they have underlying health conditions or are victims of medical negligence, including misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or delayed treatment. When the flu worsens or is allowed to progress without timely medical intervention, the consequences can be severe for a child. Chronic medical conditions may begin to spiral out of control, companion infections may develop, and in the most tragic of all scenarios, a child could lose their life.
Our New Jersey pediatric malpractice attorneys have seen too many cases involving children who have been permanently harmed by the failures of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other medical facilities. If this happened to your child because healthcare providers misdiagnosed, did not diagnose, insufficiently or improperly treated the flu, we can investigate the case to determine if you may have a lawsuit. Contact us for a free consultation by filling out our convenient online form or calling (866)-708-8617 now.
Signs that a Child may have the Flu
The flu, or influenza, is a respiratory virus characterized by high fever, cough, body aches, and runny nose, among other symptoms, such as headaches or body chills. Early symptoms in babies and toddlers include pain in the chest or muscles, bluish lips, breathing difficulty, heaving chest while breathing, dehydration (check diapers for urine), lethargy or confusion, seizures, high fever, and cough. Most prevalent in the winter, this seasonal viral infection can simply pass through your child in a few weeks, or land them in the hospital with severe complications. Sadly, some flu viruses affecting children are fatal.
The seasonal flu usually occurs in one of two types: Influenza types A or B. These two contagious flus are responsible for annual flu hospitalizations, deaths, and widespread illness. Often spread by coughing, sneezing, or touching infected items, influenza has the potential to cause serious health problems for infants, toddlers, young children, and adolescents. It ravages the population each winter, mutating as it infects people. Influenza type C, on the other hand, is a mild virus that usually does not spread as widely. Regardless of the type they carry, children often do not show flu symptoms before they spread it to others, whether adults or their peers. And since they touch things and put their hands in their mouths and noses so often, children can be super-spreaders.
The severity of symptoms or likelihood of catching the flu depend on age and health. Young children and sick children are more often hospitalized for severe forms of the flu. High fever, typically considered 103 degrees Fahrenheit and above, headache, sore throat, body aches, cough, fatigue, and runny or stuffy nose are frequent symptoms, but some children experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as well. Fatigue, the more debilitating of symptoms, may linger for weeks.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Pediatric Influenza
While cold symptoms may manifest similarly to the flu, a cold is much milder than the flu. In fact, the flu can be mistaken for other illnesses, like a cold or other virus. When you suspect that your child is sick, a trip to the doctor should include a physical exam and report of patient symptoms to diagnose the flu or another condition. Treatment generally depends on age, health, and severity of symptoms. And since the flu is incurable, treatments aim to ease symptoms, often with over-the-counter Acetaminophen and cough medicine. For a healing boost and symptom abatement, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to prevent the virus from replicating. Of course, rest and fluids are a must. These treatments may alleviate mild to moderate flu symptoms, but sometimes children with flu complications require hospital treatment and care for pneumonia and other serious health issues related to the influenza virus.
The best flu treatment remains prevention, however. If your child has underlying health conditions, making them more susceptible to severe flu, your doctor may recommend a flu shot. Doctors often recommend preventative flu shots, despite the variable strains that evolve yearly or even in a season, for anyone older than 6 months, but especially for those children with chronic health issues. Children under six months cannot be vaccinated, so the people around them should be vaccinated. Additionally, children at risk often need two doses, four weeks apart, and children with egg allergies require a special flu vaccination.
When Influenza (the Flu) is Serious in Children
Children under 5 are more susceptible to significant flu complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children under the age of 5 in the U.S. have been hospitalized on between 7,000 and 26,000 occasions since 2010. And children six months to five-years-old are at high risk for complications, as are children six months to 18 months with preexisting conditions such as asthma, diabetes, weak immune systems, obesity, blood disorders, kidney and liver disease, chronic lung and heart disease, neurological problems, like cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
Young children, those under 5 and especially those under 2 years of age, may experience complications from the flu that have long-term consequences. Children with severe cases of influenza may suffer from:
- Pneumonia, a serious lung infection
- Dehydration (severe water and salts loss)
- Worsening heart problems
- Brain damage
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
Hospitalization for the flu or flu complications in children under 5 number in the thousands annually, with up to 187 deaths in a single year.
Pediatric Complications from Medical Negligence Diagnosing and Treating the Flu
Neither doctors nor other medical providers and facilities should take the flu lightly, as delayed or misdiagnosis of the flu in children can be seriously harmful, especially for those most at risk. In fact, undiagnosed or untreated pediatric influenza may turn into bronchitis, pneumonia, respiratory distress disorders, or collapsed lung. In the worst cases of all, these types of medical errors can be fatal. Other sources of malpractice may likewise occur when a hospital releases a child patient suffering from the flu too early or healthcare providers fail to recognize flu complications. When any of these unconscionable mistakes result in injuries or death for a child, parents and families can pursue recourse by filing a lawsuit.
Do I Have a Child Flu Malpractice Lawsuit in NJ?
If your child suffer complications due to an untreated, misdiagnosed, or improperly managed flu illness in New Jersey, the seasoned pediatric malpractice lawyers can help you file a lawsuit seeking reimbursement for your medical bills, lost wages, future medical costs and expenses, in addition to compensation for the pain and suffering that your child endured unnecessarily. Seek experienced counsel to discuss and evaluate your child’s case by contacting us today. The consultation and case evaluation is free and available immediately.