Why are children particularly susceptible to misdiagnosis?

Why are children particularly susceptible to misdiagnosis?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

Doctors do not always get it right. Failing to make the correct diagnosis at the first opportunity can leave a patient to suffer unnecessarily as their condition worsens. They might even die if the treatment window is missed.

While medical staff can misdiagnose anyone, there is a particular risk of them doing so with kids. Here is why:

Children may feel scared

It can be intimidating for a young child to walk into a hospital or general practitioner’s office. They may clam up, unsure whether they can trust the man or woman staring intently at them from behind a screen.

Children can’t always express themselves clearly

Your average toddler is less likely to be able to describe their symptoms clearly than an adult. As far as the child may be concerned, they don’t feel well, they don’t want to be there, and any doctor worth their salt should understand precisely what “It feels icky” means without the need for further explanation.

Hence, doctors need to be creative and patient to get to the bottom of a young child’s problem. A child who is not yet able to talk could be even harder, as screaming could mean it hurts there where you touched, or it could mean they want feeding.

Children being harder for doctors to diagnose is nothing new. That’s why medical facilities need to ensure they employ suitable staff to deal with children, and doctors need to make that extra effort to correctly diagnose the child correctly. If this did not happen and your child suffered due to a missed or delayed diagnosis, you may want legal help to understand your options.