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What Are the Most Common Pediatric Medical Misdiagnoses?


Each year, far too many children in Annapolis and other areas of Maryland become injured as a result of medical malpractice . One common form of medical negligence is the misdiagnosis of a disease, disorder, or injury. A pediatric misdiagnosis causes delays in administering the proper course of treatment—a mistake that could prove fatal in some cases. Administering the wrong type of treatment because of a misdiagnosis is also a grave medical mistake that can lead to disastrous consequences. Medical-Malpractice


Meningitis is a potentially deadly disease. It involves the infection of the meninges, which is the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord. Unfortunately, healthcare providers often misdiagnose meningitis as being the flu or another respiratory infection. As a result, children can suffer serious health problems or wrongful death. In children less than one year of age, meningitis can cause lethargy, excessive fussiness, poor feeding, poor temperature regulation, vomiting, rash, and seizures. In older children, meningitis is identifiable by its telltale stiff neck, as well as fever, confusion, and headache. To properly diagnose meningitis, a doctor can perform blood tests and a spinal tap . A case may involve medical malpractice if these tests are not performed despite the presence of meningitis symptoms.


The appendix is a small pouch on the right side of the abdomen. Inflammation of the appendix, which is known as appendicitis, causes sudden pain that may begin around the navel and move to the right side of the abdomen. To prevent the rupturing of the appendix, the standard course of treatment for appendicitis is the surgical removal of the appendix. Unfortunately, sometimes appendicitis isn’t diagnosed quickly enough. ER doctors and family physicians may misdiagnose this painful condition as being little more than a stomachache or viral infection. This can result in life-threatening consequences, since an untreated, ruptured appendix can spread infections throughout the abdomen.


Pneumonia is a serious illness that can be particularly deadly in infants and young children. This infection causes inflammation of the air sacs of one or both lungs. Children with pneumonia can develop fever, chills, difficulty breathing, lethargy, poor feeding, and nausea. When a child is brought to the doctor, the provider should listen to the child’s lungs with a stethoscope and order additional tests if abnormal sounds are detected. Pneumonia can easily be misdiagnosed if the doctor fails to take these precautions.