Diagnosis in pediatrics can be difficult when treating infants and young children who are unable to cooperate. Therefore, it is not a surprise that Pediatrics is one of the most high risk for claims in comparison to other medical specialties, as most parents are very protective of their children.
Common Malpractice Issues
The most common malpractice claims each year in pediatrics are related to brain injuries no matter the age group, with almost half of all neonatal claims being related to brain injuries and just over a third of cases for first year patients.
Difficulty in diagnosing pediatric patients is common because many children might not be able to tell the doctor exactly what they are feeling, which can make problems difficult to treat. Parents can often overlook information that could be important in helping to diagnose the patient.
To help mitigate the risks involved with pediatric care, healthcare providers can do a few things:
· Keep updated documentation about pediatric patients and their family history. Leaving a patient’s medical history up to the memory of doctors and parents is a common problem that leads to diagnosis issues, one of the most common reasons for malpractice claims. Keeping updated records for not only patients but their parents as well can help doctors make accurate and timely diagnoses.
· Have tracking systems in place for tests and vaccinations. For those who don’t have them in place already, systems to remind patients of their vaccination schedules and tests should be implemented to keep patients on top of their responsibilities as well.
· Train for high risk procedures. Training for high-risk situations is crucial as well. Many of the most common high-severity issues occur in situations that occur infrequently, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be trained for. An example of this would be training for oxygen deprivation to a fetus.
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