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Pediatric medical malpractice stemming from racism

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Personal Injury

New York residents expect doctors to always provide the best medical care and, in particular, parents hold pediatricians to the highest standards in treating their children. Unfortunately, sometimes the latter fail to maintain professionalism, and it has been found that kids of color are more likely to face racism-related medical malpractice.

Racism in pediatrics

Studies have shown racial bias in the medical community and disparities in the care of people of color. Researchers examined the quality of care children received by pediatricians in various areas; they noted insufficiencies in treatment among Black, Latinx and Asian kids. Doctors were less likely to order diagnostic tests, and children of color were less likely to be prescribed painkillers for certain conditions. Complications were also more common during and after surgery.

These problems mirror those adults of color face while seeking medical attention. Children or their parents may not be taken seriously when voicing their concerns and symptoms; doctors might overlook those issues or prescribe the wrong treatment. In some cases, racism affects children even before they’re born.

What constitutes pediatric malpractice?

When a pediatrician makes a mistake, it doesn’t always constitute medical malpractice. However, when the doctor fails to provide a reasonable standard of care and a child suffers harm, they can be held liable. Malpractice is based on the theory of negligence and can be established when certain elements are present: duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damages.

Examples of how a child can suffer due to pediatric malpractice include a burst appendix, complications from an improperly treated broken arm or dying from a delayed diagnosis of leukemia. In any of these situations, a child and their family can suffer negative consequences.

All children deserve fair treatment and quality medical care. If they suffer complications after an incidence of malpractice, a pediatrician could be accountable.