When pediatricians may be liable for malpractice

Finding a pediatrician that parents in Kentucky like and trust may seem challenging, particularly since they are trusting this medical professional with their children's lives. There are numerous mistakes a physician can make that compromise someone's health and well-being, and when the patient is a child, his or her whole future may be in jeopardy.

According to FindLaw, there are four primary elements that must be present before parents have a legitimate malpractice case that they may take to court. These include the following:

  1. The pediatrician had a doctor-patient relationship, which created the duty of care that every physician has to diagnose health issues and treat them as any other doctor would. 
  2. The pediatrician failed to perform that duty through a breach of the standard of care.
  3. The injuries that the child suffered were directly caused by that breach of duty, and the doctor either knew or should have known that the injuries were likely because of the breach.
  4. The results of the injuries, including medical costs, pain and suffering or other damages may be covered through financial compensation.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a recent study published in the professional journal Pediatrics found that pediatricians face malpractice litigation much less often than physicians in other specialized fields of medicine. Out of 25 specialties, pediatricians ranked 24th in the rate of malpractice insurance claims. However, the awards or settlements reached were, on average, nearly double that of the average of the other specialty fields. This could be because children may have a lifetime of medical expenses ahead and will need more money to cover them, or because courts are more sympathetic toward the plight of injured children. In fact, both of these factors and many others may be relevant when facing a judge or jury.

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