Medical negligence cases involving children arise in a number of ways. Children can be more susceptible to diseases and treatment errors simply by virtue of their size. These little patients also are not as well equipped to explain their symptoms and are dependent on others to speak for them. One area that falls squarely on the shoulders of pediatricians involves the practice of preventative medicine to identify common conditions through routine screening. To assist your pediatrician, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) publishes recommended screening guidelines.
The updated pediatric screening schedule published by the AAP contains the following important additions and changes:
- Screening for depression should occur for patients aged 11 through 21;
- Risk assessments should be performed for hematocrit or hemoglobin at ages 15 and 30 months;
- Lipid screening should occur between ages 9 and 11;
- An HIV screen should be done on patients between ages 16 and 18;
- Newborns should be screened for congenital heart disease via pulse oximetry before hospital discharge.
You can read more here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/02/18/peds.2013-4096.full.pdf
One interesting inclusion in these guidelines is the following statement: “The guidance in this statement does not indicate an exclusive course of treatment or serve as a standard of medical care.” As medical malpractice attorneys, we find that more and more physician groups are putting these caveats on their guidelines in order to prevent them from being used against physicians who fail to practice in accordance with accepted norms. This is particularly cynical in cases involving children. In Ohio, physicians must practice in a manner consistent with accepted standards of care. This includes recommendations by major policy sources like the AAP.