When a West Virginia parent makes the trip to the emergency room or to the doctor's office with his or her child, it is with the assumption that he or she will receive quality care from the physician and nurses. This includes receiving a timely and accurate assessment and diagnosis of the problem. When there is a failure to diagnose a medical problem correctly or in a timely manner, it can cause significant harm for patients.
Misdiagnosis is actually one of the leading causes of malpractice claims related to the medical care of children. One reason for this is a lack of thorough and effective assessments. According to a study that looked at child-related malpractice cases, one of the factors in these cases often involved lack of proper communication with the parent. In order to properly care for and diagnose a child, a doctor must listen to the parents' concerns and work closely with them.
Another leading reason for malpractice claims involving children includes the failure of the system to work properly on behalf of the patient. An example of this includes important medical test results never making it to the doctor caring for a child. The study also concluded that doctors should help parents understand what to expect when going home and what signs could indicate a continuing problem.
When a family experiences distress and difficulty as a result of a misdiagnosis, it could be grounds to move forward with a medical malpractice claim. Failure to diagnose or provide proper medical care to a sick child can lead to extensive suffering, but a family does not have to walk through this process alone. West Virginia law allows victims to seek recourse through civil claim.