In many instances, a doctor’s failure to conduct the tests needed to provide a patient with an accurate diagnosis constitutes medical malpractice. In some cases, however, even if a doctor’s diagnosis is delayed, the doctor may not be held liable for any harm suffered by the patient if the applicable standard of care does not require a doctor to consider all possible diagnoses. This was demonstrated in a recent New York pediatric malpractice case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims due to the plaintiff’s inability to show that the failure to diagnosis a rare condition constituted a breach of the standard of care. If your child suffered harm because of a delayed diagnosis, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Rochester pediatric malpractice attorney to assess what damages you may be owed.
The Child’s Alleged Harm
It is alleged that the defendant pediatrician examined the plaintiff-child in early November 2008 for an infection. The defendant prescribed the plaintiff-child antibiotics. The defendant saw the plaintiff-child again one day later, and five days later, when his condition seemed to be improving. Six days after the initial visit, however, the plaintiff-mother called the defendant and reported that the plaintiff-child had a fever, and had recently undergone dental work, after which the defendant advised the plaintiff-mother to take the plaintiff-child to the emergency room.
Reportedly, the plaintiff-child was diagnosed with bacterial endocarditis, which required surgery to preserve his mitral valve function. The plaintiffs then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the plaintiff’s condition should have been diagnosed via an echocardiogram, but that one was not performed until ten days after the plaintiff’s initial visit. Following discovery, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which the court ultimately granted. The plaintiff then appealed.