Pediatric Dehydration: How Doctors Can Miss Important Cues

Serious pediatric dehydration medical malpractice is largely a third-world problem, but even in an advanced society like ours, even in Orlando, Florida, doctors may miss the signs. Severe dehydration in infants can lead to brain damage, cardiac arrest, and even death. In the aftermath of such a tragedy, families should seek advice from an experienced pediatric medical malpractice attorney.

In a previous post, I discussed the signs and symptoms of pediatric dehydration that doctors should look for when treating infants. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the possible scenarios that lead doctors to miss these important cues, leading to pediatric dehydration medical malpractice.

The Most Vulnerable Among Us

One of the challenges pediatric doctors face is that their young patients often cannot communicate their symptoms. They must rely initially on the observations of alert parents and the signs that the infant is displaying. If they do not run tests or diagnose incorrectly, dehydration may not be treated early enough to prevent injury.

Common Illness Leading to Death

The most common cause of dehydration in infants is a common illness: gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu. Because it is so common and can generally be treated successfully at home, doctors may not take the illness seriously and therefore overlook the signs of severe dehydration. In one case, a 3-year-old died as a result of insufficient treatment. Only three days elapsed between the onset of illness and death, and it is likely that an electrolyte test and administering intravenous fluids could have saved the child’s life.

Pediatric Dehydration Medical Malpractice

If an office or hospital is overwhelmed with patients, it is possible that a patient with a seemingly minor illness may not receive the attention they deserve. Another possibility is that a primary condition (such as gastroenteritis or second-degree burns) is treated while a secondary or resulting condition (such as dehydration) goes untreated or is insufficiently treated.

A Simple but Deadly Mistake

Josie King, an 18-month-old, was being treated for second-degree burns. Josie’s main physician had instructed that she should not receive any more narcotics, but while that physician was in the operating room, two other doctors had decided to go ahead with another dose (due to concerns about withdrawal). As the doctors focused on medication, they all missed the signs that she was severely dehydrated. Josie’s heart stopped a short while later, and she could not be revived.

Doctors make mistakes, and they should be held accountable when there are serious consequences. If you or someone you love has a baby who suffered serious injury or death as a result of dehydration, get in touch with Orlando pediatric malpractice attorney Jeff Badgley for a free consultation.

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