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Law Girl
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Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  I have practiced criminal law.
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an er physicain diagnoses a child with mycarditis. this ...

Resolved Question:

an er physicain diagnoses a child with mycarditis. this child is treated on the pediatric ward as pneumonia. who is to be blamed for the child death
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Girl replied 9 years ago.


This will depend upon many factors. The most important factor in determining fault will be what the immediate cause of the child's death. Even if the child was treated as s/he had pneumonia instead of mycarditis, unless this resulted in the child's death (or caused the child harm), it may not be a problem. Now if the child was not given the proper treatment because of this and that resulted in their death, liability may rest with the doctor and/or the hospital. These tragic cases are VERY fact specific.

Please let me know if you have any other questions, or require clarification of this matter. Otherwise please hit "ACCEPT", so I may receive credit for my response. Tips and feedback are also appreciated.

Good Luck!



Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Law Girl's Post: the child had been seen on two occassions with the symptoms of difficulty breathing and tarchycardia and vomiting. he was given a referal to cardiologist. the mother returned to the er with the same concerns.A diagnosis of mycarditis secondary to myocarditis was made. the child was pretty stable and would be seeing the cardiologist in less than 4 hours. so she was sent home to return to cardiology clinic. she returned less than an hour later and the child was admitted. The child went to the ward and was diagnosed as a pneumonia patient by the pediatrician and was treat as such. The child spend a few hours on the ward and later dies. the autopsy result shows myocaditis. who is to be blamed. the er physican who admited an hour late or the pediatrician who misdiagnosed and treated for pneumonia.
Expert:  Law Girl replied 9 years ago.

There is no way to tell based on these facts alone. If the child had pneumonia in conjunction with myocaditis, it is possible that the treatment was appropriate. We need to know what needed to be done and what was not done. Then we can look at who was responsible for performing that care and who dropped the ball. Additionally, it may depend upon what the child's chart stated was appropriate and whether the appropriate notations and recommendations were made.

Good Luck!


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
the child did not have pneumonia. The final diagnosis was pneumonia and the child was treated adequatedly for pneumonia. But the autopsy showed that the child died of myocarditis. what i am asking who can be held accountable. the er physician who saw the child with a heart rate of 180 but appeared stable, but admitted and hour later or the pediatrician who miss diagnose as pneumonia nd treated as such. i hope i am not being charged for my reply because i am not satisfied with the answer yet
Expert:  Law Girl replied 9 years ago.

I would love to give you a more comprehensive answer, but without the medical chart in front of me, an answer cannot be determined.

Even pediatrician who misdiagnoses a condition will not be held liable if his diagnosis was reasonable. He may have also obtained his diagnosis from the ER physician or the ER physician's notes.

I also have no information about whether the treatment for pneumonia caused the tragedy or whether the fact that the proper treatment for myocarditis was withheld caused the tragedy. These are all factors in determining who is responsible.

Each physician who touches the case will be held to a standard of reasonable care. The hospital and any doctor who failed to exercise such care can be held liable for this tragedy. This is why you do not want an attorney deciding the fate of this case without evaluating every note and medical record in the file.

Having gone to medical school before law school, I still have the medical records of potential medical malpractice cases in my office reviewed by a potential expert witness before taking the case.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
final comment. he did not get his diagnosis from the er physician. the er physican's diagnosis was myocarditis. but that was totally ignored and the patient was treated as having pneumonis. the child was not treated at all for myocaditis. the er physicians diagnoses was not taken into consedaration. can he still be held accountable
Expert:  Law Girl replied 9 years ago.

Assuming it was ignored, and there was no basis for it to be ignored, then yes there could be liability for the treating physician that ignored this.

Good Luck!


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