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Failure to diagnose leads to $70 million verdict

The birth of a child is miraculous moment for Illinois families and others around the nation. Many tests are conducted shortly after the birth to evaluate a newborn's condition. Examinations and additional tests are also common throughout a child's life. Unfortunately, a failure to diagnose an issue in a child can result in delays and complications. A family in another state filed a medical malpractice lawsuit after experiencing this devastation.

A woman in her late 30s had gone through her pregnancy with no complications. After her son was born at 9 p.m., several newborn screening tests were performed at 1 a.m., just four hours after his birth. State requirements specify that these tests be given closer to discharge. No additional screening tests were given, though the discharge occurred 48 hours after birth.

As time passed, the mother repeatedly told pediatricians that she suspected problems with her son's health. Numerous physicians treated the boy until he was finally diagnosed with a phenylketonuria deficiency at the age of 6. The woman sued the hospital, the pediatrician and the pediatric clinic for negligence and failing to diagnose her son's condition. She was recently awarded $70 million after the jury found the defendants in the case liable.

To avoid preventable complications, risk management experts recommend that procedures be put in place to ensure proper testing. Patients should be informed of the reason for the testing and need to be notified of the results as soon as possible. Better communication between the physician and patients can hopefully minimize any adverse events.

When a physician's failure to diagnose a condition results in complications, many Illinois families decide to pursue malpractice litigation. A successful lawsuit could provide families with compensation for medical services, rehabilitation costs or loss of future earnings. An experienced personal injury attorney can work closely with a client to achieve the best possible outcome in a lawsuit.

Source:, "Set up procedures to ensure lab results don't fall through the cracks", Susan M. Scott, May 25, 2017

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