Considering Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Family Physician for Mishandling Your Child’s Care? Know the Leading Reasons these Doctors Get Sued
Taking your child to the doctor is an anxious experience. However, you chose your family doctor because you rely on them to give you the best advice on home care and diagnose your child’s condition competently and quickly. In addition, family practitioners can make your visit more reassuring since they know your family as patients. However, their mistakes affect the entire family for the same reason. While everyone makes mistakes, those that result from a family doctor’s failings are especially tragic when you and your loved ones suffer physical and emotional harm. Since most people depend on their family doctors for the first contact with any medical needs, the broken trust of a family doctor’s negligence often devastates families.
The Role of the Family Medicine Doctor
You expect your family doctor to be educated and experienced. A family practitioner is trained in general medicine and cares for adults and children alike. Thus, they perform pediatric medicine and internal medicine to diagnose and treat both populations. Family medicine doctors also know a great deal about women’s health, as they treat all family members, typically in outpatient offices and clinics. There, they can perform minor procedures, like treating cuts, stinting fractures, cleaning or draining wounds, taking biopsies, and removing embedded items from the skin and eyes. They can also inject patients with pain and other joint and nerve pain medications. In addition, they can do routine gynecological tests for women’s care, and for men, proctoscopy.
Primary care doctors emphasize preventative care and wellness services to avoid health problems, ordinarily referring patients to specialists as routine care for diagnosing and treating more complex conditions than general medicine handles. While all doctors complete medical school, family practice residency is one year of emergency medicine and critical care in the hospital, compared to the internist who spends three years in that training. In addition, the family medicine resident spends two more years in various disciplines. They practice pediatrics, orthopedics, obstetrical, gynecological medicine, and additional outpatient medicine. Their training focuses on diagnosing and treating different medical conditions for children and adults and, importantly, interpersonal skills to bond with families.
Family Physician Negligence with Pediatric Patients
Injured victims and their families may have grounds to file lawsuits for malpractice against their family doctors for a vast array of reasons. The following are some of the leading causes for suits involving family medicine care for children.
Family Doctors Make Diagnostic Mistakes
When a family doctor does not provide pediatric care according to the accepted medical community standards, a child can suffer permanent impairment and the doctor, face a medical malpractice suit. An example of malpractice is a family doctor’s failure to diagnose a condition in a timely manner. They could even miss the diagnosis altogether. In fact, misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses are the most common reason for malpractice claims. Thus, if a young child complains of abdominal pain, the family doctor needs to make the correct diagnosis. The diagnosis could be a myriad of possible conditions and illnesses, each of which requires a different medication or treatment. Another example, bacterial infections that turn into toxic shock syndrome because a doctor doffed off parents’ concerns about their child’s fever as typical childhood illnesses, are serious malpractice when the child nearly dies of sepsis or necrotizing fasciitis.
Childhood Fractures are Commonly Mishandled by Family Medicine Professionals
Other instances of negligence include mishandling a fracture. Kids are famous for fracturing wrists and arm bones in play and sports. Misdiagnosing a fracture as a sprain can result in unnecessarily prolonged pain, faulty healing of the fracture that goes without a cast or splint to support the fracture during recovery properly, and, in some cases, permanent damage to the limb.
General Practitioners Fail to Refer Patients to the Appropriate Specialist
Another common area of family physician failure is waiting too long to refer a patient to a specialist. Of course, a doctor must make reasonable attempts to diagnose and treat symptoms, but a returning patient with the same condition should get a referral before the condition worsens.
Your Family Medical Doctor’s Office may Prescribe the Wrong Medicine
Additionally, prescribing the wrong medication or failing to instruct nurses on the proper medication administration can lead to illness, a worsening untreated disease, and anaphylactic shock.
A Medical Procedure Performed Improperly Often Leads to a Suit Against a Family Physician
Finally, performing medical procedures incompetently, causes injuries to children. Whether it is due to fatigue, inattentiveness, lack of proper training, attempting a procedure outside of their realm of expertise, or trying something new without the requisite experience, a procedure performed wrong can seriously damage the patient’s body or overall health. Moreover, failure to obtain consent from patients or their parents, informing them of the risks and options, can be malpractice.
Many Family Practice Mistakes Arise from Failing to Communicate with Patients and their Parents
Family doctors see pediatric patients from the first visit for an ailment or injury through the end of treatment. Ensuring that the family practice office follows up with a mother who goes home with medication for their child to see if the parent understands how to administer the medication, or what to look for if the condition worsens, is critical to saving lives. Poor communication within the family medical office and between physician and patient leads to avoidable errors with painful consequences.
How to Handle Your Legal Questions about Suing a Family Doctor in New Jersey
When your child suffers from subpar family medicine care, you may have questions about whether you could have avoided your child’s injuries or prolonged suffering. Talk to a pediatric medical malpractice lawyer with vast knowledgeable in this specialized area of law for answers. That’s what our legal team does for children young and old and their parents across New Jersey and nationwide. We can examine your medical records and reports to help you establish medical malpractice and confirm your family doctor’s negligence through family practitioner medical experts. We can also help you navigate through the hurdles you may face while handling your claim against the parties responsible for your child’s injuries. And when your case does not resolve before a trial, our lawyers are well-equipped to prepare your case for trial, including all of the discovery before trial, counseling with experts, assembling the most effective arguments, and cross-examining the defendant’s witnesses.
A pediatric malpractice case can take months to years before concluding. Between your initial consultation with an attorney and a trial, you have many filing and discovery deadlines, including the initial filing of a lawsuit before the statute of limitations tolls. After that, you have a window to make your claim, settle it or take it to trial, all of which our dedicated lawyers can explain to you. This, coupled with evaluating the damages available for your child’s injury, and more, are day-to-day activities for the lawyers on our team. You and your child may be entitled to substantial compensation for past and future costs, plus less quantifiable forms of loss, like pain and psychological trauma
Consult with a dedicated malpractice lawyer at our New Jersey practice as soon as you discover your family doctor’s possibly negligent care of your child. They do not deserve to pay the price for a family medicine physician’s mistakes. Call 866-708-8617 24/7 for a free consultation.