While we do hold doctors to account for their errors, we do believe that most doctors do not want to harm their patients intentionally. Doctors do perform studies to improve outcomes. Medpage Today reported on a study that looked at malpractice cases in children and some of the trends they noticed.
The study looked at 1200 claims filed on behalf of children. Brain injuries were involved with the highest percentages of claims for all the age groups studied, from 48% in neonates (first month of life) to 36% in children under 1 year of age.
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The reason for such a high incidence of brain damage is because newborns are very vulnerable. The researchers listed many of the reasons why, and many are the same topics we cover here on this blog. Brachial plexus injuries, injuries from tools, infections, and brain damage are all things we see in our practice.
But how could they be prevented? Diagnosis errors are common and there are good reasons why. Children may not be able to explain their symptoms properly, and parents may not know which symptoms need to be reported to a doctor so they can make a diagnosis.
The researchers say that systems need to be developed so doctors do not have to rely on memory to make decisions. Documentation and structured reminders for things like vaccinations, tests, and the like would improve outcomes because many claims are related to lost or missing test results.