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Medical malpractice? New York boy dies after septic shock

When parents take their children to the doctor in New York City, there is an expectation that the doctor will make correct diagnoses and prescribe effective treatments. Cases of medical malpractice can be devastating for anyone, especially for parents of young children. One family experienced this firsthand when a string of misdiagnoses led to their young son dying of severe septic shock.

The incident began with a simple basketball injury -- a cut on the boy's arm after a fall. Sometime later he began to suffer an upset stomach, leg pain, and a high fever. He was taken to his pediatrician, who sent him over to the emergency room of a local hospital where he was tested. It was determined that the boy was dehydrated, and he was given fluids before being sent home. Yet, his condition did not improve.

After another call to the pediatrician, the boy's parents were instructed to give him Tylenol and Motrin, with hope that he would recover in the following days. However, he did not recover and three days after the initial diagnosis, he returned to the emergency room. At the hospital he was unable to be saved from the severe septic shock that had set in, presumably from an infection that entered through the cut from his basketball injury. Despite what the results of tests from the initial emergency room visit suggested, the boy's serious bacterial infection was said to have been disregarded, resulting in his death.

Since the incident, the boy's parents have hired a lawyer, though it was not disclosed whether they intend to proceed with medical malpractice claims. Whether this family decides to seek compensation, it is hoped that in some way this boy's death can work to bring change so that a disregarded diagnoses such as the one that may have occurred here can be avoided in the future. Patients of New York City medical facilities deserve to be given the most effective treatments based on correct diagnoses. When this doesn't happen, the consequences can be devastating for both the victims as well as their families.

Source: New York Times, "In Rory Staunton's Fight for His Life, Signs That Went Unheeded," Jim Dwyer, July 11, 2012

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